Updates from the Pastors

Our Precious Brothers and Sisters in Yeshua,

Time again to check in and provide you with a range of prayer subjects, some that are very encouraging and some that you will find disturbing. Given the continuing circumstances we all live under as a result of the Corona virus, we are drawn to the Prophets for insight. Their messages to their original audiences are all-too-relevant for society and to the Body of Messiah. Hence the following quote from Joel 3:14-16…

“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.

The sun and the moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine.

The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble.

But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.”

On the National Front: The Israeli government continues to function well both at domestic and international levels. Rather than draconian measures to force people to vaccinate against their will, the government has brought in large quantities of medications to alleviate the symptoms of the non-vaccinated who contract Covid. They have also greatly increased the number of ECMO life support systems for the critically ill, the vast majority of whom are from the non-vaccinated sector.

We are happy for the continuing successes by our foreign ministry as they rebuild relationships damaged by previous administrations and strengthen ties with neighboring governments previously hostile to Israel. We firmly believe these successes are in keeping with Israel’s call to be “a light to the nations,” however temporary this may prove to be…

Of deep concern, however, is the threat presented by Iran’s race to produce weapons-grade uranium, while doing all they can to support of extremist groups hell-bent on making the world unsafe. [Issues for prayer]

Rather than end this section on ‘a note of fear,’ we would once again refer you to the Prophet Joel…a very interesting read! The first half of the oracle is ‘doom and gloom’ followed by the inevitable call to national repentance (2:12), followed by the Lord’s answer and redemption (2:18) and judgement of the nations that caused harm to Israel.

In these redemptive passages we find some encouraging passages including those that speak of the autumn rains that we are right now desperately waiting for. [Prayer item]

The ‘ploughing’ has been done in the month of Tishri (the month of our High Holy days) and now in the month of Heshvan we are ready to sow the wheat and barley seed – the key ingredients for bread, the ‘staff of life.’ We will leave you to ponder the symbolism that Yeshua regularly uses to speak of his kingdom…

Congregational life:  We continue to maneuver our way around Covid regulations as best we can, to enable Shabbat services on a monthly basis. As a religious gathering we can meet with up to 50 people without requiring a “Green Pass.” For meetings over 50 we have to adhere to Covid Restriction Criteria:

a) having received all three inoculations or

b) having recovered from Covid in the past 6 months or

c) having tested negative on a PCR test no longer than 48 hours before the event.)

As such, our Life-group system as our primary means of congregational life is proving to be very successful. Nevertheless, the monthly Shabbat service is an integral part of the vision when we can meet face-to-face in larger gatherings. In these we preach the Word (rather than in-depth Bible discussions), lift our voices and hearts in corporate worship and enjoy our liturgical traditions and conduct rites of passage events like baby dedications.

This past Shabbat, October 09 – we gathered once again at the Israel College of the Bible facility and despite being light in numbers because of the “Green Pass” restrictions we had a glorious time!

A highlight for us was dedicating our newest member of Beit Asaph, Josef – my assistant’s first child!

Vision that became real activity:

In order to meet a big need of learning the Bible and fellowship for our children, we prayed about it and the Lord gave us a vision to open the “Children’s Club” project, separate from the Sabbath services of the entire community and open as a ministry dedicated exclusively to children.

 How the ministry takes place: Regularly, we gather all children aged 6 to 12 for 2.5 hours of club lessons in the evening after school.

Classes are taught by parents trained by us, youth after the army and teenagers help in organizing. Helping to serve the club helps young leaders to grow to be a leader.

Classes include worship time with music, joint prayer, Bible lesson according to a specific program, joint dinner, crafts according to the topic of the lesson, games, communication.

Children and their parents love the club very much and we see good fruits of blessing in families.

We ask you to support us in prayer so that we have the opportunity to expand our ministry, for appropriate facility, transportation and all ministers and helpers.

The Bible Club for our children and our weekly youth activities are flourishing as is our growing women’s ministry. We are super grateful to our neighbors; Rivka and her team at the Ethiopian congregation and Pastor Roman in Caesarea who have opened their facilities to Beit Asaph for our activities. Together with Israel College of the Bible we are well-catered for without having the huge expense of maintaining a large worship facility of our own! And all the while we are able to foster strong relationships and unity in the broader Believing community.

The National Body: We are deeply grieved by regular reports and calls for prayer from various parts of the country. Our intention here is to rally prayer for the local congregations, both Jewish and Arab. Corona and government policy has split the Body terribly. The vax/anti-vax issue is dividing families, congregations and the nation. We are bombarded with so much confusing information and fear-mongering and of course the inevitable governmental policy of pushing vaccination as hard as possible while employers increase pressure on employees to comply. All these things and more are making congregational life and pastoral work very challenging. We are witnessing a ‘falling away’ from fellowship life in many parts of the Believing community and some congregations showing significant signs of disintegrating…even those that have previously been very stable and impactful in their regions. Please make this a major priority in prayer.

All love and blessings to you all,

Evan and Maala and Lev and Ora