Updates from Elyakim- Jewish Hanukkah in Japan 2020

Last week I had the chance to share with my kindergarten pupils about the wonderful holiday of Hanukkah. I was asked by the main teacher to share and explain about the story of Hanukkah.

 I really enjoyed letting kids know for the first time in their lives about God’s story of the Bible and how it relates with Jesus being the light of the world and how we can celebrate Jesus with Hanukkah.

 Hope you can enjoy the pictures and share it with brothers and sisters.

Shabbat shalom

Final Updates from Miriam-Uganda 2020

Hello friends

I returned to Israel to visit in mid-October:

* Two weeks of isolation – I did the isolation at my parents’ new house in Netanya, to which they moved six months ago. Quality time with my mom who works from home. During this time I learned from her to sew in a sewing machine (my mother has been a professional seamstress since the age of 16). It was exciting to continue this family legacy and I also discovered that my great grandfather was also a professional seamstress, probably it is in my blood. I was happy to learn another skill that I can pass on and teach machine sewing to women in Uganda.

Also the isolation was a good time to think, digest, look at the year and calculate God’s blessings in that special year.

* Time with family – I have not seen my family in the last year. This is a very special opportunity to spend time with them. Especially with my sweet nephew Lior who is one and a half years old … I last saw him when he was six months old, a real baby but now he is a little boy. Although I have seen him grow and develop in pictures and videos but it is completely different to really get to know him in reality and his character, so special and exciting!

* Traveling in our beautiful country, meeting friends and sharing about God’s work in Uganda and the mission year I had. Because of corona constraints it is not possible to speak in congregations but it is rather special to meet people in person or in home groups and share about the experience I had this year and the wonderful work of our God in Uganda.

So if I have not yet met with you I would be very happy to do so, feel free to write me in private and we will arrange a meeting.

What are the plans?

* I am currently working on arranging some things in terms of how my accounts are conducted in an orderly manner in Israel and Uganda, I would love to pray for wisdom on how to do things in an orderly manner in terms of taxes and brokerage.

* Plans to return to Uganda for another year in January. One of my friends in Uganda wrote to me: “Miriam, we know Uganda is your new home, so know that we are waiting for you at home for Christmas.” Wow what an exciting one! I definitely miss my friends in Uganda!

Thank you so much for your support and prayer

Prayer update November 2020

\ From Evan Thomas \

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Messiah,

“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the Land and enjoy safe pasture.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this:

He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,

the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” Psalm 37:3-6

What joy to be writing to you from my desk at our Beit Asaph worship facility in Netanya, Israel. There were many days during the past 9 months when we wondered WHEN we would be able to travel home from NZ and be reunited with Sara and Beni and our beloved community…

Brief overview: Lockdowns and restrictions on meeting forced all of us into conducting our services, prayer meetings, seminars and board meetings ‘virtually.’ In this way, being in Netanya or in Whakatane made little difference. Grateful for the internet, we were able to adjust and carry on. Our NZ evenings became our work time dedicated to connecting with congregants and colleagues during what was daytime in Israel. This freed up our NZ days to enjoy the beauty of New Zealand. 

Bring away for nine months made our time far more than a visit. The relationships we have enjoyed over many years deepened, especially with immediate family members and close friends. But this gift of time also gave us the opportunity to form new relationships and sharing our lives and the values of the Kingdom became a rich experience

Our arrival home was also such a blessing. Coming from NZ, which is a ‘Green country’ because of its success in managing the Corona virus, it was not necessary for us to go into quarantine for the usual 2 weeks. In addition, the second national lockdown was lifted the day we left New Zealand so it was straight home and into the loving arms of Beni and Sara with the fridge and cupboards well stocked in our little apartment that we had left in January, just newly renovated.

The picture in Israel: There is so much for us all  to pray about! Nationally, the situation is bleak. Poor management of the Corona virus during the summer resulted in record numbers of daily cases, overwhelmed hospitals and medical services and a high number of deaths directly attributed to the virus. The impact on the national economy has been frightful AND there is no end in sight. The numbers of local businesses closed is so disheartening and while the recent lockdown greatly reduced the daily cases of Corona it of course added to the economic crisis. Public demonstrations against the PM continue all over the country. The government here is in desperate need of your prayers!

Public cooperation in managing the crisis is ‘patchy’ at best. Covid-19 is still broadly within the community and numbers of local pastors and their families have been struck with the virus. This is an important matter for prayer as Arab churches and Messianic congregations need their leaders so much right now. This is particularly relevant as we are entering the season of the former rains, which announce winter is about to begin and viruses of all kinds become particularly virulent.

Focus and Priorities: In the short termBeit Asaph like all other worship communities around the country is in ‘emergency mode’. Our congregants are tired and frightened and under stress due to the added pressure of economic hardships. At this point, there is no indication when services (other than virtual) can resume – even with limited numbers and people are desperate for fellowship. 

We are grateful that some of our home-based groups are functioning and our youth have been meeting weekly since the lifting of the recent lockdown. We are delighted to be able to report that although we cannot have any form of “Shabbat school” for our children (up to the age of 12 years), parents have ‘stepped up’ and are providing spiritual input for their children at home. These same parents have provided the ‘backbone’ of the Shabbat school and in the past years and as such are skilled teachers. They are also taken much initiative to link up with other families (family: family) and using Shabbats to provide fellowship for their kids in nature.  

At least 30% of the congregation is needed to join to home group form of spiritual fellowship. Home groups and smaller specific prayer meetings will really help change this picture. Lev and Ora and Evan and Maala are taking this on as a project to change this picture. Please pray for this.

Our worship facilities remain largely idle apart from very small-scale activities. This is having a significant impact on income from tithes and offerings despite having systems like PayPal in place. A precious testimony from my colleague, Lev: a number of the brothers and sisters from our community had spoken together and invited him to pop around to their homes. They had been collecting their tithes but because they were used to giving them during Shabbat services, they had no way of giving. They were so full of joy at being able to be faithful when he called round on his way to the bank. Beautiful!

In the long term we must carefully consider our options and be creative in ways to encourage fellowship among the saints and outreach to the broader society. These are the big goals while at a specific level develop programs for our kids. We must find ways to utilize our expensive facilities while reminding our community of its financial responsibilities. These are not easy tasks in this present ‘climate.’ Each day as we perceive and understand the situation around us, the burden gets heavier. We need your prayers personally, congregationally and nationally perhaps more than ever!

We are so grateful for you all. We are also totally aware that you all have your own huge challenges to overcome. If you can spare us just a moment or two and uplift us in prayer, we would be so appreciative. We’d love to hear from you too. Please note the Gmail address at the beginning of this report.

In His service together,

Evan and Maala (for Beit Asaph)

To donate please check out our website as listed above. There you can find details for your convenience. We’d so appreciate your help as the need is great as we approach the end of the calendar year.

Updates about Elyakim activities in Japan.

5.08.2020

Updates about Elyakim service in Japan.

… “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”    The Acts 1 : 8

  Already the fifth month began from the beginning of Elyakim’s stay in Japan.

  The Lord provided for him a ministry with children and worship in the church in the city of Osaka. There is some pictures with the pastor and children in this church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Elyakim plans to serve a full year in Japan. He is well advanced in the study of the language and local culture.

 It is a privilege for us to support a young brother from our community to serve in Japan.

 

 

 Please support him with prayer in his request for a missionary visa in Japan.

Prayer update July 2020

July 25, 2020

To Our Precious Brother and Sisters in Yeshua,

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement: In this world we are like Yeshua.”       I John 4:16, 17

  We chose these verses as a most appropriate greeting to you all. In this incredibly challenging season when nothing seems certain, it is important that we remind one another of the certainty of God’s love. Our lives have been disrupted by the Covid pandemic and there does not appear an end in sight. For times like these, the Apostle’s call to persevere needs to be a part of our daily conversation and prayer.

  It is now six months since Maala and I flew from Ben Gurion – first to Switzerland for service together with our Palestinian friends, Nihad and Salwa. As we parted none of us could have anticipated what was about to unfold. Our plans included a much-needed holiday, and continued with my writing, interspersed with visits and ministry to supportive churches. We were to be home by mid-April and back into a full schedule of weddings, both home and abroad, mission trips to Ethiopia and Germany, and of course our daily lives as local Israeli pastors. And yet here we are still in NZ living with the uncertainty of when we can return home…

  We sincerely apologize for not communicating with you sooner. For the past two months we have been on standby, thinking we would fly out with just a few days prior notice. There was even talk among Israeli Embassy officials of a rescue flight as had happened in several other countries, for stranded Israelis. We kept thinking our next communication to you would be from Israel. Our travel agents, both here and at home, keep reminding us ‘to sit tight’ and our daughter, Sara, reassures us daily not to risk the complex and uncertain flights that might get us home or leave us stranded somewhere with cancellations en-route.

  Our colleagues Lev and Ora, together with a broad team of young adults, have done a stellar job in our absence caring for the Beit Asaph community in Netanya and its surrounding settlements. Israel’s ‘lockdown period’ paralleled our own here in NZ but there with restrictions on gatherings more severe and prolonged. So priorities changed to caring for the needy and elderly, who are fearful and confused, and our young families who are faced with unemployment and mounting debts. Visits, wherever possible, to pray and encourage and deliver groceries became far more important than the enormous energy and resources required to maintain services.

  Our young people helped us upskill with computerized means of communication like “Zoom” and “Google Meet.” These and many other forms of social media enable us conduct a wide range of tasks from elders’ meetings and prayer forums to on-line services. Maala and I even managed to conduct a wedding by Zoom and live streaming for one of our young couples. That was an interesting exercise coordinating time zones between NZ (us officiating), Israel (location of the couple) and Holland (the bride’s family.)

  As “lockdown” unlocked, Israel attempted to reboot its severely damaged economy, while maintaining border restrictions and grounding its national airline. It looked promising for a while. Then like in many parts of the world, a second wave of the Carona virus has hit and this time even more severely. Today, Israel’s economy is in tatters with tens of thousands of businesses closed permanently and over 20% of the workforce unemployed. Our political leaders have not provided the strong and stable leadership required to cope with such conditions and have been found wanting. Recent comments from colleagues paint a picture of national sadness, anger and confusion. This past weekend tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated in the streets of Tel Aviv, fed up with regulations that have crushed the will of the people to persevere.

  And so we implore you to join us in prayer for our beloved but beleaguered nation. Maala and I mistakenly thought back in March that Israeli society would cope very well, given our track record in times of national crisis. However, an unseen enemy proved to be very different to visible enemies that could be dealt with through military means. Biblical history provides many examples of God allowing wars, plagues and tragedy, all part of the broken human condition, to bring us to our knees so we might look up to Him.

But there have also been multiple times when as a people we have shaken our fists in anger and turned our backs on God.

  So again we ask you to pray with us for Israel’s restoration – firstly, to turn back to Eloheinu and to seek His face in an attitude of humility and seeking forgiveness. We love the well-known verses found in II Chronicles 6: 22–42, that speak deeply and clearly into our nation’s present situation. The context of these verses is King Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the Temple he has built for God. These verses also contain an exhortation specifically for God-fearers from among the nations in your responsibility towards Israel in times of crisis.

  Please also pray for the Body of Messiah in the Land – both Jewish and Arab and also the multitudes of Gentiles affiliated with our communities. Many are ‘stuck,’ confused and suffering. As despair sets in, many are losing faith in their leaders. Most are hurting through the lack of social interaction we loosely call fellowship. And in some sectors of the Body, such as among West Bank Christians, the financial strain is extreme. With massive unemployment and little or no social welfare systems in place, thousands of families are struggling to feed their families let alone cover rents, etc. Maala and I are so grateful to our beloved “Philippus” supporters in Germany who have responded to our appeal for our Palestinian neighbors, with tens of thousands of Euros. These monies will literally put food on the table for so many.

  The West Bank and many Israeli cities are under lockdown as the virus spreads again. The impact on widespread mental health, let alone the economy is devastating. Please, please pray!!

This unique season has shown us how essential it is to dig into God’s Word and maintain a consistent devotional life. In so doing we rediscover the importance of our role as prayerful intercessors for our families, our respective communities and our nations. Despite a largely successful battle to suppress the pandemic nationally, we have been privy to some of the political and social issues that we find deeply troubling. This stirs us to pray each day.

  In September, NZ will hold general elections. The present government is in a very strong position, largely because of its handling of the pandemic. It is a very liberal government and this is reflected in its recent law-making. Full-term abortions are now legal and with the September elections two referendums will take place. One is to further liberalize the use of recreational marijuana and the second to legalize a person’s choice to end their own life. The latter is of course a ‘red flag’ for Jewish people as legalizing euthanasia in Nazi Germany provided the perfect justification for the “final solution.”

  Missions: We are continually in touch with Miriam who chose to remain in Uganda despite the pandemic. She is happy and proving to be very fruitful, especially amongst the myriads of children. We also have one of our young men from Beit Asaph, Elyakim, based with a local congregation just outside Kyoto, Japan. He too is working with small children and supporting the community with his skills as a worship leader and evangelist. Please keep these gifted young people in your prayers!

 

So lots to do and be, dear friends in this very special time. Let’s make the day count while it is still day. We’d love to hear from you and gain from your insights and personal experiences during the course of the year to date. We are so grateful for your continual support both for us and Beit Asaph. Please let us know how we can best serve you also.

  All our love and sincere appreciation,

 Evan and Maala

 

Prayer letter September 2019

September, 2019

Our Dear Brothers and Sisters in Messiah,

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (Yeshua’s prayer from John 17:20, 21)

 

What a summer it has been. Our temperatures have remained consistently in the 30’s Celsius, which has added stress to the tensions we feel politically and in areas of national security. The threat of war from the Iranian-backed Hezbollah across our northern border is constant as are missiles from Gaza into Israel. According to today’s news Israel is preparing for a wide-scale campaign in Gaza. These are terrible times and we thank you in advance for ‘standing in the gap’ for our nation.

Continue reading “Prayer letter September 2019”

Uganda/Miriam’s testimony

 

 

It’s time for Africa!

In 2010 I went to Africa for the first time. During this trip, God placed a seed of love in my heart for Uganda. Since then I have been back to Uganda a total of four times. Now, after nearly 10 years of preparation (BA in Education, YWAM, IRIS), God is sending me back for a longer period.

In January 2020 I will move to the area of Bulambuli on the slopes of Mount Elgon in Eastern Uganda (close to the Kenyan border). I will live with one of the families in the village that has no running water or electricity. I will learn the local language, culture, and participate in everyday village life. Additionally, I will teach in a kindergarten.

Continue reading “Uganda/Miriam’s testimony”

Uganda/Pastor Evan Thomas about Miriam

Miriam Chernaosov – A Call to Mission:

Miriam, now 30 years old came with her parents and brother from the Ukraine to settle in Israel when she was a small child. She has grown up in the Beit Asaph community and devoted herself to serving Yeshua from a very young age. Participating in a broad spectrum of programs for children and youth and mission trips for young adults has been a way of life for Miriam. As such she has matured as a leader in many of these programs and provides a valuable role-model for her peers and for those younger. Miriam has carefully selected Israeli discipleship programs and augmented these with international mission programs such as YWAM and IRIS ministries to help develop her skills-set for mission abroad.

 

 

 

 

Once Miriam completed her schooling and subsequent military service in Israel she then pursued several years of training as a kindergarten teacher. Once she qualified she has gained much experience in her profession in a cross-cultural context (Arab-Jewish) in Jaffo-Tel Aviv. This training and experience will be invaluable as she settles into community life in the eastern highlands of Uganda. Miriam will travel to Mbale on Mt Elgon, Uganda in January 2020 to begin her first year. Her pastors, Evan and Maala will travel to the region during July 2019, taking equipment for Miriam and further preparing the way for her. Miriam has the full backing of her Israeli congregation for this cutting-edge initiative.