In this issue of the newsletter
New: ISRAEL VS. HAMAS: Children of our partners serve in the IDF
New: 17 Christians killed and many injured when church hit by bomb
New: Hamas terror and Israel response endanger Christmas programs
New: Nigeria update on new orphanage building and graduating students
Ministry partner’s sons called up to Israeli Defense Forces
Nearly 30 years of work with David and Leah: Nancy and I are often in Israel. We have worked with house churches to spread the Gospel to both Palestinians and Jews from the base that David and Leah have in Ariel, a large “settlement” in the West Bank.
When their son, Ami, was severely wounded by a terrorist bomb intended to kill the whole family in March 2008 we quickly went to Israel to help. I have always rented a car and driven myself because of the many contacts we must visit there.
Nancy and I had stayed at the apartment where the bombing took place many times. The bomb, hidden in a Purim gift basket of fruits exploded on the dining room table. Ami was in the hospital for a year.
Only Arabs are exempt from military service. David and all his children served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Of their five adult children, two have been called up by the IDF to serve in the war against the Hamas terrorists who control the Gaza Strip. Their son Natan leads a canine squad, and another son serves in Samaria to fight terrorism.
Christians serve in the IDF! Messianic Jews who love the Lord, and also Arab Christians serve in the Israeli army. A large number of Aramean Christians who speak Arabic serve in the IDF as well. Recently an Aramean officer, Eddie Jamalia, was promoted to major.
The Armenians are descendants of the Aramaic Syriac population that inhabited this region together with the Jews long before the Arab Muslim conquests. Jesus spoke in their native language which is Aramaic.
The service of many Christians in the IDF makes the killing of Christians in the crossfire between the IDF and Hamas even more regrettable.
Former congressman’s relatives killed in Gaza: Former congressman Justin Amish lost relatives when an Israeli bomb intended for a Hamas control center hit an Orthodox Church in the Gaza Strip.
Amish is a Republican from Michigan’s 3rd congressional district. He is also a Christian Palestinian.
In all, 17 Christians died and many more were injured. The Israeli bomb was intended for a Hamas control center that Hamas had placed right next to the Greek Orthodox Saint Porphyrius Church. Hamas leaders had intended for the church to shield their military facility from an Israeli strike. Hamas also uses Christians as human shields as part of their planning.
Only 1,000 Christians remain in Gaza. In 2006 there were over 5,000. The few that are left behind are targets.
When Hamas attacked areas of Israel proper from Gaza, over 1,400 Israeli Jews were killed. Several were Messianic, or “fulfilled” Jews (those who had accepted the Lord as savior).
There was no media reporting on the Christians killed by Hamas during the attacks, only word of mouth information from Christian family members.
In the “West Bank” where Bethlehem is located, more than 100 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces looking for terrorist sympathizers in the two weeks following the Hamas attack. Again, Christians had been caught in the crossfire.
What happened on October 7th when Hamas conducted a terrorist campaign in southern Israel was part of an ongoing conflict between Israel and the Sunni Muslim Hamas terrorists. In this conflict also, innocent Christians are killed and injured.
Christians recognize that Israel is the root of the Christian tree. Muslims see Christians as associated with Jews through the Bible, so they are seen as enemies just as are the Jews.
Vanishing Christians: Just before the founding of Israel in 1948 there were 630,000 Jews, 143,000 Christians and 1,100,000 Muslims in the “Palestinian region” that is now under Israeli control. Christians were about 9% of the population overall, but in Bethlehem, the Christians were over 90% of the population. In 1950 Christians were still 86% of the population.
Now Bethlehem’s population is less than 10% Christian. There are only 11,000 Christians remaining in the Bethlehem region. There are a handful who are well off, but the vast majority are poor because Muslims who own the businesses will not employ them.
Should Christians abandon the birthplace of our Lord?
All Palestinians are “bad” people? Christian Palestinians are lumped in with Muslim terrorists not only by the media but by our government as well.
As the media reports on the Israel – Hamas war all Palestinians are pictured as terrorists.
Did Christians join in the slaughter of Jews during the October 7th incursion into Israel form Gaza? NO! Are there Christian members of Hamas? NO!
The mainstream media will not report that the Hamas terrorists are Sunni Muslims because it is politically incorrect to say that Muslim terrorists killed Jews.
The United States government refuses to place the blame of the attack on Sunni Muslims. Instead, the blame is placed on “the Palestinians.” Why? Because Saudi Arabia pulls many of the financial strings in the United States.
Hamas is a Sunni Muslim terrorist organization. But our government officials will not peg Hamas as a Sunni Muslin terrorist group because Saudi Arabia and our other “Arab allies” are all Sunni Muslim.
Christians who have family roots going back to the Apostles are ready to flee. Several of the Apostles were married and had children. Their descendants live amongst us today, including in the Holy Land.
Please pray for the Christians of the Holy Land. Please pray for our staff member Yousef, and his wife and children. Yousef is a Palestinian Christian who works for the Religious Freedom Coalition. He runs our diaper and food programs in the “West Bank” as well as overseeing the large Christmas programs.
Israel – Hamas war complicates the Christmas for Refugees program
Where is it safe to hold our Christmas programs?
We are in year 12 of Christmas programs for displaced Christians. The programs survived the hysteria and lockdowns of Covid-19 and have brought joy and assistance to Christian families in need.
But the war between Israel and Hamas affects areas far beyond Gaza. The West Bank area, normally peaceful, has been flooded with weapons for would be terrorists. Incursions by Israel to deter terrorists in the
West Bank are constant.
Just in the last month almost 200 Palestinians in the “West Bank” have been killed in conflicts with the IDF.
At this point there is no way to know if the halls we have planned to rent for the events will even be in existence. Will roads be open? Many times, Israel closes off roads or entire areas in the West Bank to deter Muslim terrorists, but those road-blocks also isolate Christians.
The West Bank is not the only volatile area.
Millions in the street in Jordan and Lebanon: As the Israel bombing campaign on Gaza intensified, I received many calls from our ministry partners in Jordan and Lebanon reporting that millions of Muslims were in the streets to demonstrate against Israel. In Jordan the Israeli embassy had to be evacuated and the American embassy has been under siege.
Please pray with me that the demonstrations will come to an end and Christians will not be harmed by the conflict between the Israeli army and Muslims sympathetic to Hamas.
Please pray that the programs we have planned for Jordan, Lebanon and Christian areas of the “West Bank” will be able to continue.
As of now it appears that demonstrations will not affect our Christmas programs in Iraq. Our programs in Iraq are now centered in Assyrian Christian areas. In the Dohuk area we work with the Assyrian Aid Society and house churches.
Bersawa (Bersiveh in Assyrian Aramaic) is a Christian village 76 kilometers (47 miles) from Duhok and in an area that benefits from our adult diaper program. Many of the Assyrian Christian villages are in a state of economic decline as they are ignored by the Muslim majority government and Western secular aid organizations.
Please pray that the area of Iraq where we will hold Christmas programs remains safe. At this moment Muslims all over the world, including in the United States remain volatile.
There have been huge pro-Hamas demonstrations in several American cities including New York. The mainstream media, in seeking to protect Sunni-Muslims from criticism have failed to report the extent of protests. Often there is a short mention, or the number of people involved is minimized.
This is the sad truth: During the Administrations of presidents Geroge W. Bush and Barack Obama, hundreds of thousands of Muslims were allowed to enter the United States as refugees, while Christian refugees who were being persecuted by Muslims were ignored.
Geroge W. Bush didn’t want to be seen as “prejudiced” toward Muslims . It was his administration that came up with the “religion of peace” designation for Islam, in order to satisfy the despotic rulers of Saudi Arabia.
When it comes to making nice to Muslims, and in particular the despotic rulers of Saudi Arbia, it does not matter much if the occupant of the White House is Democrat or Republican.
Our missions in Nigeria threatened.
Many nations in Africa are majority Muslim. The demonstrations against Israel are not as widespread yet but have been large. In Nigeria a little more than half the nation is Muslim. In the areas where we work Christians are the majority, but under attack.
We must be vigilant of the possibility of attacks. We have moved the orphanage into Jos city proper, but there have been attacks on Christians just 25 kilometers away.
The new Block B educational building at the orphanage is nearly ready for the students. The desks, chairs, shelves and other furnishings are ready to move into the new building. Everything has been paid for!!!
Please pray that the final work will be completed, and students will have full access and use of the facility including the new restrooms.
Transition House: I am currently working on the final details of a transition house for our aged-out graduates from the orphanage. We expect 15 children to arrive from Mangu who were made orphans by the attacks this year. This is equal to the number of those aged-out. Please pray that the transition house will be made available soon.
Finally … If you have a Facebook or Instagram account, please post one or more of the videos on what is happening in Nigeria from www.ReligiousFreedomCoaltion.org.