Monthly Archives: July 2016

Reaching Wandering and Wondering Israeli Youth

MitchGlaser_Portrait copyShalom!

I was recently in Jerusalem and visited with a couple who served as volunteers for six months at the new Chosen People Ministries youth hostel in New Zealand. This is a strategic spot as thousands of Israelis wander through the South Island of New Zealand each year to enjoy the spectacular scenery and hiking trails. In fact, the word on the street is that the Israelis who go to New Zealand after the army are looking for God through nature—as opposed to those who go to India who are so often searching for God through drugs and eastern religions.

This wonderful young Israeli couple shared so many of their conversations and experiences with the 750+ Israeli young people who have wandered through what we call the Zula Lodge. They told my wife and me story after story about conversations they had with Israelis seeking the Lord. These spiritually focused conversations often took place late into the night and early hours of the morning.

I was encouraged to find out that the Hebrew version of the book I wrote, entitled Isaiah 53 Explained—which is at the heart of our Isaiah 53 outreach around the globe—was distributed to hundreds of these wandering Israelis.

Sometimes it is really difficult to share the Good News with people who know little about Jesus or who are resistant to the Gospel. Most Israelis fall into this category as they are raised in traditional, but modern Jewish homes that simply do not know anything about the Lord Yeshua, our Messiah.

Many of these young and, most often secular Israelis also pick up on the resistance to the Gospel prevalent among Jewish people for so many generations. I am happy to say that this attitude seems to be changing and many Israelis are opening up to Jesus! This is especially true of Israeli young people who are traveling around the globe looking for the answers to life after having gone through a stressful season of military service.

There is no doubt that we have undergone a slight shift in our strategy for reaching these wandering and wondering Israelis. In the past, we have sent short-term mission teams, usually Israeli believers who live in Israel, to reach their counterparts across the globe—from New Zealand and South America to India and even in the United States. However, we have now discovered that setting up permanent facilities where we can house wandering Israelis allows for a deeper and more intimate ministry. This enables us to take our presentation of the Gospel to a new level!

This is why we have recently established another center for traveling Israelis in Buenos Aires, Argentina—a city of almost 300,000 Jewish people. Chosen People Ministries has been serving in Argentina since 1942, when one of our missionaries from Austria helped many Jewish believers and non-believers escape the Holocaust and flee to Argentina from Vienna. He followed them and began the ministry of Chosen People Ministries in Argentina.

We have two wonderful facilities in Buenos Aires where we are teaching Bible studies, planting a congregation and utilizing the Spanish version of our Isaiah 53 online campaign. God has really blessed this work, which is now a partnership between Chosen People Ministries and the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptists.

The Lord has recently provided us a believing Argentine Jewish couple who also lived in Israel for many years and learned to speak Hebrew. Their knowledge of Israeli culture will allow them to connect with the young Israelis who travel through our centers. Thousands of Israeli former soldiers travel to South America to hike near the lakes and through the mountains.

We have renovated a large house in Buenos Aires that serves as living space for our missionary couple, some volunteer staff, and as a hostel for about twelve Israeli backpackers. These young Israeli travelers begin their journey in Buenos Aires before they embark on the trek across South America. We greet them warmly and provide housing in a safe and comfortable atmosphere; all with a loving Argentine Jewish couple who are willing to have hours of conversation with them about Jesus!

There are lots of ways you can get involved in helping us reach wandering Israelis throughout the world. We especially need your prayers. Please pray that God will open the hearts of these wandering young Israelis to the Messiah. When this happens everything else is easy! But we do need your prayers also for God’s wisdom in running these various youth hostels, His guidance during late-night conversations and very simply for His hand in directing those He wants to reach through our efforts in Argentina, New Zealand and elsewhere.

I also ask you to get the word out that Chosen People Ministries is offering these opportunities to serve the Lord in short-term ministry in both New Zealand and Argentina. These are great winter ministries as they fall during school breaks and some are in our target areas. This is a perfect mission trip for those who are looking for something to do during the winter, as the touring season in both Argentina and New Zealand is at its height during January and February. Do you know any young people who have a heart for Jewish people or are avid hikers and are capable of sharing the Gospel with Israelis if trained? I am inserting a card that you can fill out and send to us so that we can then contact those you know and give them an invitation to these wonderful short-term ministries.

Finally, we value your support for these ministries, as we need to underwrite the hostels since we charge the Israelis very little money to stay there. Also, we would like to provide scholarship support for young Israelis who would like to go into short-term missions in either New Zealand or Argentina or perhaps India, depending on our short-term mission schedule. It takes about $2,500 to scholarship a short-term missionary to go from Israel to New Zealand for a couple of weeks and just about the same for Argentina. It is also very difficult for our dedicated staff in Argentina, Israel and New Zealand to raise funds for their ministries and so some of what you give can also go to help them.

Thank you so much for your love, prayers and engagement with Your Mission to the Jewish People as we reach Israelis around the globe with the message of eternal life through Jesus the Messiah.

This post-army season is so critical in the lives of these young Israelis. They might never again be as open to the Gospel as they will be during this time of travel.

So please pray fervently and give generously so that we can bring the Gospel to these wandering Israelis.

Your brother,

Mitch

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A Growing Ministry in Israel

MitchGlaser_Portrait copyShalom in our exalted Messiah,

Zhava and I just returned from Israel, and I want to share a few impressions regarding what God is doing in the Land and invite you to pray for the Lord’s work there. First of all, I am happy to tell you that there is a movement of the Holy Spirit in Israel today, and many young Israelis are open to the Gospel.

Believe it or not, we have now sent out over 1,000 Hebrew versions of the evangelistic book Isaiah 53 Explained and most of these were sent to Israelis under the age of 40. Our staff in Israel have been following up on these contacts and discovered that there is a genuine, sincere curiosity about the Gospel among them.

We have also noticed that there is a great need for ongoing discipleship among the Israeli Messianic Jews we meet through the online campaigns.

Let me share a quick story from Gabriel, one of our Israeli staff members:

Recently there was a Facebook message on the Isaiah 53 Explained Facebook page. It was a believer asking to order a book. I responded and asked for his full address. Yoram*mentioned that he believes in Yeshua, but doesn’t know how to share his faith with co-workers so he hopes the Isaiah 53 Explained book will help him with this. I shared that a good way he can tell people about Yeshua is through his testimony. So I asked him why he believed in Yeshua. It was clear as he tried to share his testimony that he didn’t know why he believed. He read parts of the New Testament and in a truly powerful way came to understand that God is real and through Yeshua, he can have peace with God.

I asked Yoram if he attends a local congregation. His response was typical for many new believers in Israel. He responded by asking me what I meant by “congregation.” I shared with him that the Bible speaks about the fellowship of believers who come together to worship God and pray together.  Yoram said that he didn’t even know there were other believers in Israel and had not heard of any congregations.  

He lives in Haifa, the third largest city in Israel and has never met a fellow believer in Yeshua…imagine that! Yoram was unfamiliar with the few local congregations in the Haifa area and as a result, he is not meeting other believers, which also means he is not being discipled.  

Everything he has learned about Yeshua is from online sources and from the New Testament itself.  

I would say that this young man is fairly typical of many of the young Israelis who are coming to faith. They are not coming to the Lord through a local congregation and not even through some evangelistic mission agency like Chosen People Ministries. Rather, they are coming to faith directly through the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Just as it was in the Jesus Movement of the 1970s when I was saved, the work of discipleship begins after the Lord has transformed the lives of individuals by the power of His Holy Spirit.

Gabriel continues,

An online discipleship program would greatly help Yoram be discipled and become planted in a local congregation.

This is one of the reasons why Chosen People Ministries, in partnership with other Israeli ministries, is now working on an online, video-based personal discipleship website so that those who are seeking the Lord and who have already come to faith will be able to learn more about the Bible and the Savior by engaging with us online.

The second impression I have after being in Israel for almost three weeks is that local, indigenous Israeli ministries are growing by leaps and bounds! I remember my first trip to Israel when there were very few local Messianic congregations that spoke Hebrew. I remember singing “Amazing Grace” in Hebrew! I love the hymn, but at the time, there was very little original Israeli-style music that allowed Israelis to express their love for the Lord in a more Israeli way.

Now, young Israeli believers are producing their music, and it is beautiful! The worship services I attended while in the Land gave me a foretaste of heaven—worshiping Jesus the Messiah, in Hebrew, in a more authentically Israeli way. It was just fantastic!

We also see the growth of national evangelistic ministries like Bible colleges and discipleship programs for both future and former soldiers. Local congregations are growing, and the leaders are developing. I think we have entered a new day.  This causes me to believe that Paul’s words in Romans 11:25 will come to pass soon. As the apostle wrote,

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written.

1607PZLW_iS_000003870510_kotel

Your Mission to the Jewish People in Israel is led by Israeli nationals. We have 20 full-time staff members within Israel, and the entire work is led by Michael, a dedicated Russian Jewish brother who came to faith in Jesus after he made aliyah (immigrated to Israel).

Our work in Israel is exciting as we are reaching out to elderly Holocaust survivors, feeding the hungry, planting congregations, conducting online evangelistic campaigns, discipling new believers, working among single mothers with young children, conducting children’s camps and so much more.  The scope of the work and energy of our staff leaves me breathless!

Recently, we had a terrific Bible conference in Orlando with the theme, “Israel’s Glorious Future.” After this conference and now after spending time in Israel, I am more confident than ever that the Lord will fulfill His promises to the Jewish people!

We are living in a great day, but we also understand that there are great challenges.

There are challenges of safety as Israel is still surrounded by enemies that are seeking her destruction. Israel also has many internal problems and is still a divided country. The government officials both on the Israeli Jewish and Palestinian side need our prayers desperately.

I could go on and on with prayer requests, but I also feel compelled for the sake of the Gospel to ask you for the needed funds that allow us to continue this great work in Israel.

We could not minister in Israel without our dedicated team back in the United States, who provide the administrative and logistical support for our workers in Israel. It takes thousands of dollars a year of office support to keep a missionary on the field in Israel. So I am asking if you would consider giving a generous donation this month to help both our field staff in Israel and our faithful workers in the United States, who make it possible for our Israeli evangelists to continue their work.

For your generous donation of $50 or more, we would like to send you a beautiful copy of the following prayer declaration for Israel that I hope you will hang somewhere prominent in your home so that you can remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  All you need to do is frame it, and I believe this declaration will become a cherished reminder of the faithfulness of God to His covenants and promises to the Jewish people. The declaration states the following:

A Prayer Declaration on Behalf of Israel

1607PZLW_Jewish-prayer-book_DT3303153I will pray for the peace of Jerusalem as commanded in Psalm 122:6 because I love the Jewish Messiah, the Jewish people, the non-Jewish citizens of Israel, and am committed to obeying the Word of God.

My prayers will include petitions for the political leaders of the Land of Israel, both Jews and Arabs; the spiritual leaders of Israel: Jewish, Christian and Muslim; the military leaders of Israel, and for business and academic leaders as well.

I will pray that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will dwell in the hearts of the leaders, citizens and residents of the Holy Land and that His Spirit might empower His true disciples living in Israel today.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.” For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, “May peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good (Psalm 122:6-9).

We have created a beautiful version of this prayer declaration that we would love to send you! Your gift of $50 or more will mean so much to us this month as the summer is often a difficult season to raise funds for our ongoing ministries. Our total budget for our work in Israel is a half million dollars each year, so if you can give more generously—that would be wonderful! Thank you so much for considering this gift, and of course, for your prayers.

Thanks for loving the Lord and His chosen people!

Have a great summer in the Messiah,

Mitch

P.S. If you would like to listen to some of the messages given at the “Israel’s Glorious Future” conference, all you need to do is visit www.chosenpeople.com/IGFmessages and it will take you to a site where you can freely listen to these great messages!

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