In this issue of the newsletter
NEW: CHRISTIAN FAMILIES IN PERIL AS WAR RAGES ON
New: Ukrainians who fled to Israel find themselves in poverty in another war.
New: We help Messianic Christians in Israel who lost jobs because of war.
New: Palestinian Authority forbids Christmas celebration in Manger Square.
Christians in Gaza did not attack Israel.
Unrest in Bethlehem and other “West Bank” towns
This is the last Religious Freedom Coalition newsletter for 2023.For decades I have used the year end newsletter to sum up ministry achievements during the year.
This year is different! Christians in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank face pressures from all sides. In Israel Messianic Jews must serve in the military just as any other Israeli. These Jewish soldiers who have accepted Jesus as Lord face increased hatred from Muslims.
The Muslim terrorists hate the Messianic Jews more than any other Israeli.
My dear friends whom I mentioned in the last newsletter tearfully reported to me that their son *REDACTED*, aged 40, has already lost a friend in his IDF unit.
*REDACTED* was called up on the first day of the war because he heads a canine unit. A member of his unit was killed by a sniper as he headed home for a one-day visit. The killing occurred in the West Bank!
Their other son *REDACTED*, aged 37, was also called up and is part of a guard unit for settlement towns. Their son *REDACTED*, who currently lives in the United States as a mental health specialist, returned home immediately to work with traumatized children (His injuries from the terror attack exempt him from service.)
My friends have been forced to suspend their monthly food distribution to Jewish refugees from the Ukraine. Many Messianic Jews have fled the fighting in the Ukraine for safety in Israel and now find themselves unemployed in the middle of another war!
These Ukrainians and some Russians almost all Messianic Jews, arrived in Israel with nothing but one suitcase. They were receiving aid from my friend’s ministry. My friends have already delivered new Bibles to them.
Most attend the house church my friends provide.
I am preparing a special offering for my friend’s ministry to help the poor believers in Judea. The need of the Believers is as great now as during the time of the Apostle Paul! Sacrificial offerings as those asked for by the Apostle Paul are needed now!
Some funds have already been sent: As a starter I have forwarded funds to restart my friend’s food box distribution.
I have already sent the funds for 168 food boxes. But that is just a start.
That is just the beginning of what we can do as we assist Christians in Israel and in the West Bank. War is affecting the Believers of the Holy Land, and we can help.
We can do more for the Messianic Jews in Israel including for the families whose sons and husbands have been called to duty in the IDF.
News from Israel you will not find in the media
- More than 70,000 Israelis have lost their jobs or are unpaid.
- The tourist industry has completely shut down, affecting many Christians.
- 200,000 Israelis have been evacuated from 105 communities in the north and south.
- Accommodations are being made at Baptist Village in Petach Tikva for many of those evacuated. University dorms are also being used as shelters.
Our ministry friends are working with other ministries in the coordination of accommodations for those displaced from war, including Ukrainians and Russians from the Donbas area where the fighting continues.
*REDACTED* is the program allowing for Jews to move to Israel from all over the world. The Jews now arriving from Russia and the Ukraine are Messianic Jews and do not fit into the programs offered by Israel. Most often they are not employable because they do not speak the new Hebrew of Israel.
The Islamic State lives on in Hamas
When the Islamic State took over most of Syria and Iraq displacing tens of thousands of Christians, most of my ministry operation moved from Israel to Jordan and Iraq. We have worked more and more with repressed Christians in areas such as the “West Bank” but I have not forgotten the faithful in Israel, both the Messianic Jews and Christian Arabs!
I mentioned the terrorist bombing that injured my friend’s son *REDACTED*. Nancy and I had stayed with them at that apartment many times before and after the bombing. We had eaten often at the very table that the bomb exploded on.
My friends are the real deal. They are Messianic Jews who migrated to Israel many decades ago for the purpose of sharing the Gospel. Because of their works many Arabs and Jews have been won to the Lord.
During this time of trial in Israel please lift up the ministry of my friends in prayer. Please pray for all the Believers in Israel proper, both the Messianic Jews and the Arab Christians.
The war is not limited to Gaza.
As of the date of this newsletter more than 200 have died in the “West Bank” which includes Bethlehem. The Israeli army enters “West Bank” towns daily to disarm individuals they fear to be terrorists.
Every time the Israeli Army enters the “West Bank” there is a firefight and often Christians are caught in the crossfire!
Christians face peril: The Arab Christians face dangers in the West Bank. In the West Bank and Gaza, Muslim Palestinians see Christians as attached to the tree of Judaism.
For Christians, the roots of the church are in the Old Testament. For the Muslims that is a reason to hate Christians as much as they hate Jews.
Christians in Gaza and the “West Bank” face hatred and discrimination from the Muslim majority. Often, they are used as human shields by the Muslim terrorists.
Christians are set apart in Israel. And Christians are set apart in Muslim areas. This is as it should be! The message to us is in John 15:19:
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (1599 Geneva)
Muslims are a part of the world — a very dangerous part of the world. Satan strikes using the hand of Islam. It was Satan who directed the Islamic attacks upon Israelis on October 7th just as the same Satan attacked Americans on September 11th.
Just as no Christian was a part of the terror attack on September 11th in America, no Christians were a part of the terror attack in Israel on October 7th.
BUT … the Christians of Gaza along with the Christians of Bethlehem and the “West Bank” are suffering repercussions as if they and the Muslims are one and the same.
The Israeli army does not trust any Palestinians and at the same time the Muslims are striking out at the Christians accusing them of being spies and helping the Israeli army.
There is no work: Many Christians living in Bethlehem and other “West Bank” towns had permits to work in Israel. No Palestinians are now allowed in Israel even if they are Christians. The Christians of the “West Bank” are falling deep into poverty and have nowhere to turn for help.
Our food package program is still in place in Bethlehem and other Christian areas in the West Bank. But now the need is even greater because of the lack of jobs.
There are 20 Christian families from Gaza that are living with relatives in the Bethlehem area. By chance they had permits from Israel to visit relatives when the war began. Now they have no home to return to and the relatives they were visiting are now unemployed because of the war.
I want to help these 20 Christian families from Gaza as well as another 100 families that were poor before Hamas began the war and now face an even worse time, now that the border with Israel is closed.
Please pray about what can be done to assist the Christians of Bethlehem. Please lift up in prayer those Christians who are stuck in Gaza and facing war started by Muslims!
Nigeria orphanage – Christmas Programs – Diaper Programs
The United States may have declared the Islamic State defeated but it lives on in the hearts and minds of Muslims everywhere who see a day when the entire world is under the yoke of Islam.
The doors of our orphanage were opened to 15 children made orphans by the attacks near Jos including those at Mangu. In a previous newsletter I reported on my visit to Mangu. I also visited victims of the attack in a hospital who were seriously wounded.
The pledge I made to assist those who have suffered in the attacks continues to be met. The attacks don’t stop in Nigeria, just as they do not stop in the Middle East. For Islam violence and the murder of innocents is their idea of evangelism.
Christmas programs in the form of a Happy Birthday Jesus event will be held at the orphanage. In addition, the children will perform music and lead singing for displaced children at IDP camps near Mangu in December. The Religious Freedom Coalition will pay for all transportation and for food and gifts for the victims of Islam in Mangu.
Please pray for the Christmas programs. In major cities where we hold the programs there have been many “pro-Palestinian” demonstrations. In Amman, Jordan hundreds of thousands have been in the streets. They are really demonstrating in favor of the Hamas terrorists.
Our events for the children including meals, gifts and program activities are still planned to take place in Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the West Bank.
I have major concerns about the “West Bank” event plans. The Palestinian Authority has prohibited any Christmas lights this year to “mourn” those “killed by Israel.” The lights in Manger Square have been removed and any house having lights on will be stoned.
Christmas has essentially been cancelled in Bethlehem by the Palestinian Authority.