Dear Brothers and Sisters in Messiah,
Thanks be to our sovereign Lord for His mercy and grace is everlasting!
It is the Hebrew calendar month of Nisan, the first month (Ex 12:2), which is always a beautiful time of the year. The air is fragrant with spring blossom and we are all anticipating our Passover celebrations. Please pray with us that this would not merely be a tradition to be followed. Pray that during this season the Lord will remove the scales from the eyes of our people that they may behold the true Passover Lamb, Yeshua the Messiah!
National News: We have recently cast our votes in Israel’s general elections. Benyamin Netanyahu has emerged the winner, thus seeing him head toward a fifth term as prime minister, the longest running in Israel’s history.
Please pray with us for the best interests of our country to be served and most importantly, for God’s plans and purposes to be realized.
Highlights from New Zealand [Evan & Maala]:
Our return at the beginning of April marks the second year that we were able to take a longer period of time out in beautiful Aotearoa, New Zealand, during the Kiwi summer. Our goal and intent with this was multi-faceted.
Firstly, we were blessed with complete rest in the quiet surroundings of the Eastern Bay of Plenty and were able to reconnect with friends and family as well as get out in nature and on the sea.
We were doubly blessed to be able to share this with our friends and colleagues, Bernd and Susanne Wustl, from Bavaria this year.
Secondly, our absence from daily leadership of Beit Asaph gave opportunity for our co-workers Lev and Ora to grow in experience and confidence in their pastoral leadership. Together with a team of younger men and women who have been in training for several years, they provided a caring, stable, spiritual environment for the BA community in our absence. This has also given further impetus to outreach and new-generation leadership, for which we have hoped and prayed. Being founding leaders and spiritual parents of a community requires much wisdom and discernment, especially as we step aside in certain areas to give others the space they need to practice and develop the gifts God has given them.
Thirdly, we were greatly honored by invitations to speak at two Maori community centers known as Marae. With forty years of experience learning what it means to be Jewish and followers of Yeshua as Messiah in a context of intractable conflict, we found it comfortable to be part of open conversations with precious brothers and sisters who are seeking the Lord about similar issues of identity and calling/destiny. We were blessed also to strengthen relationships with others of you who have stood with us and for us for so many years already. We are rich indeed with friends and family in the faith and look forward to seeing you and sharing more with you next year.
On our journey home we enjoyed four days in Singapore, which we first visited forty years ago on our way to Israel. We were blessed to spend time in prayer and fellowship and have the chance to share with devoted, mature brothers and sisters in faith. The realization that Singapore had been our ‘gateway’ to Israel was not lost on us, and neither was the understanding of Singapore’s calling and spiritual role as one of the maritime nations prophetically connected to Israel. We look forward to seeing what the Lord will do in the future.
What does the year ahead hold?
At Beit Asaph we will be “looking outward” as Kingdom-seekers. We will participate in a variety of local initiatives promoting cooperation and unity amongst our diverse communities – Israeli and Palestinian, Arabs and Jews. We have a number of initiatives planned to demonstrate to the world around us that “the middle wall of partition is broken down” (Ephesians 2) through our Redeemer, Yeshua the Messiah.
We also have several mission trips abroad ahead of us.
In July, Maala and Evan will visit a local project in Bulambuli District in Uganda that Beit Asaph has been supporting over these past few years since Maala’s first trip in 2016. We will renew relationships with local people and take a financial blessing to help with the building of the school/orphanage in the eastern highlands. We will also secure the way for Miriam, from Beit Asaph, to be received to work among the children long-term. Miriam is a trained kindergarten teacher and is already learning the local language. We hope she will be able to begin her assignment at the beginning of 2020.
In early August we will send a group of 12 youth to Germany and Poland (half from Beit Asaph) who will be hosted by families from Weinstadt, Germany. They will travel hand-in-hand (Yad b’Yad 1.0) to visit the death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau on an initiative of reconciliation and witness to their respective communities.
In mid-August Maala and Evan, together with younger leaders, will lead a mission team of young adults to Bavaria in Germany. There we will connect with our German counterparts for a week of intensive mission, especially among Moslem refugees and asylum seekers. This will be our third year of the Yad b’ Yad 2.0 program.
We are excited at the prospect of the year ahead and these projects are just part of the picture. We so value your prayers for them and all the preparation ahead of us. Please pray for the health of the key leaders and their families (always a vulnerable area when it comes to reconciliation initiatives and mission!)
A very important area for prayer please: In June Lev and Evan will be sitting at the negotiation table with the directors of the buildings within which Beit Asaph’s facilities are located. We must decide on the conditions of our lease contract that will be up for renewal in January next year. That will mark 20 years of our presence here. We know in advance that the company wants to significantly increase the rental terms. This may force us to relocate – a big step for us. So please pray with us for the near future of our facility.
That’s it for now! We will try and get a report out to you faithfully now that we are back. We look forward to your visits and your letters and support.
Evan and Lev (for the Beit Asaph team)