Update from Miriam

Hello friends
Praying for you all!
Uganda has no corona, but neighboring countries like Kenya and Congo do have it. That’s why yesterday in Uganda all schools, universities and churches closed for a month.

A word of encouragement from Evan and Maala Thomas, Lev and Ora Guler

Monday March 23, 2020

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Ps 94:19

“Cast ALL your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I Peter 5:7

These are the kinds of messages being constantly circulated amongst the local Believers within Israel to encourage and remind one another of God’s love and kingship during this time of crisis. This is so important to keep our spirits up as fear tries to find a foothold among our community of faith.

Nevertheless, these messages of hope and encouragement must also be given freely, wherever possible to members of the general public – our neighbors, those that serve us in gas stations, supermarkets and pharmacies. We have been called for such a time as this to be “salt and light” as Yeshua has taught us. The Apostle also instructed us through his second letter to the Corinthians that we are to be, “ambassadors of reconciliation…” that is, we have a vital role to play in the face of this pandemic. “Loving our neighbor” in times like these means being open and free to re-introduce them to a God that loves them.

Little did Maala and I know when we boarded the plane in mid-January for New Zealand that the world would so rapidly enter into such a challenging time. We blissfully thought how wonderful to be able to take some holidays after another big year of ministry coupled with our home building project. Then I (Evan) could settle back into writing with weekends set aside to serve local congregations and be an encouragement to their ministers. Initially all could not have been better – beautiful warm summer weather, walks in the forest, and plenty of fish to share with friends and family members.

Then the dark cloud of Covid-19 began to rapidly cover the globe and governments began to take action as evidence of this deadly virus hit nations like China, Italy and Iran and spread. Borders closed and restrictions on travel, trade, and social gatherings increased daily. Suddenly, the pleasant time out ‘Down Under’ no longer looked so pleasant – particularly when it was announced that our flights back to Israel were all cancelled. We instantly recalled that season 30 years ago when our daughter Sara was born in NZ and Scud missiles were plowing into Tel Aviv and our congregants were huddled in bomb shelters. The sense of being ‘cut off’ from loved ones in times of danger and distress is difficult to describe.

However we are NOT powerless! Daily communication via social media coupled with finding creative ways of conducting virtual prayer meetings helps enormously. God has given us sound minds and we choose not to be given over to fear. Our Lord is mighty to save! As we follow news broadcasts daily we see the patterns of conduct in the public sector and governmental regulations to try and curb the outbreak tightening. What was happening in Israel 10 days ago and shortly thereafter in Europe, is now beginning to take place in Australia and NZ.

This current crisis requires great courage and wisdom on the part of world leaders. They need our prayers as never before. Politics must be set aside and genuine care for citizenry must be paramount, whatever the cost. The same applies to the Body of Messiah. The shepherds must rally the flock. There is no room for ‘grandstanding’ nor passivity. We have good gifts, given by a loving Father – let’s use them for God’s glory and for the benefit of His kingdom.

Remember too that the rain falls both on the righteous and the wicked. So too, will this pandemic effect the lives of all of us, and for some time to come. Remember Paul’s words to the Philippians, “in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”

We give thanks for Israel and its leaders who have shown tremendous initiative and bravery and acted quickly and judiciously to protect our population of 9 million. In this they have modelled good leadership for others to follow. They have been on the forefront of medical breakthrough to develop an effective vaccine against the virus. May the Lord use this time to bring Israelis and Palestinians to battle the threat together out of mutual interest and set aside animosity, as such times gift us an opportunity to.

Our prayers and concern are with all of you. In Te Reo, the Maori language of Aotearoa, New Zealand, we say “Kia Kaha” Be steadfast, Stand Strong! To Yeshua be the glory, Amen!

Blessings,

Evan and Maala

A few words from Lev and Ora Guler

 In his word of encouragement, my dear colleague, Pastor Evan, described the situation in the whole world as a result of the tragedy of the COVID19.

 We, I and Ora fully join his words of encouragement. For my part, being directly in Israel in the city of Netanya and taking care of the Beit Asaf community at this difficult time, I want to add a few words about what is happening here. Our government has taken a number of very important steps and decisions and imposed restrictions on closing borders, jobs and the ability to gather in groups of more than 10 people.

 Currently, the government runs companies to export Israelis from other countries and quarantine them. So recently, groups of Israelis were exported from Peru, Italy, Spain, and others.

 Also, as a local community, we have seriously taken government orders and, as obedient citizens, we are moving to another form of existence as a community. With God’s help and just in time, we managed to purchase and distribute 40 boxes with masks for forty families of the community the day before the restrictions were introduced.

This is me (Lev) and my youngest son.

Due to home isolation, our community changed the way of communication via the network. We try to record the Sermons and laid out for all members of the community.

 We see that despite the situation, the level of care of community members for each other and for their elderly neighbors have significantly increased praise God.  

  There is constant prayer and support for all members of the community. We believe that this tragedy is changing the face of the Beit Asaph community for the better.

  We encourage you in your situation in your country in prayer and wish you to strengthen, communicate and restore.

Blessings,

Lev and Ora

 

Highlights, Lowlights, and Changes

Highlights, Lowlights, and Changes:

☀The people I am with are amazing. Alfred and his family are helping and supporting me in my transitioning and adapting to the field. It is like a long hike: campfire cooking 🔥, bucket showers, and headlamps every night have become the daily routine.

☀The nature is wonderful, waking up with the rooster’s crow and going to sleep at sunset.

But there are also difficulties which the locals deal with each day and night. For instance, unwanted houseguests: small ones (malaria-carrying mosquitoes) and larger ones (mice and rats) which run on the rooftops and through the rooms during the entire night… 😬

I tried to deal with this for a month, trying to sleep at night, but with no success. We placed poison and brought a cat, but the problem is deeper. For this reason we decided that for now I will go live in Kampala at Alfred’s, and will teach in the local kindergarten until after they can do some serious extermination and kill the rats. This process will take time, perhaps several months…

In addition, I faced difficulties in the kindergarten on the mountaintop. There ought to be 3 teachers with 3 age groups, but they found only 2 teachers, and therefore combined two of the classes. In other words, one class had 40 children, and many times I was left alone with the class and tried to teach them or run an activity, but with communication difficulties. They don’t understand me, and I don’t under them. Hence, until they can find an additional teacher or a translator I can’t be effective.

The conditions at the kindergarten are challenging: there’s no equipment and the building itself is not entirely built: there is only a roof and posts. Hopefully, they will finish building the walls before the rainy season begins. Otherwise, it will be cold for the children because of the rain pouring in.

In light of these circumstances and conditions, we earnestly desire and pray to complete building the school below and to open it next year, so that the children will have better conditions.

Regarding my visa: I have a 3-month visa, and am still in the process of gaining a volunteer visa. If need be, it’s possible to extend the visa for an additional 3 months.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be broken…

Updates from Miriam

Hi friends, few updates:
1. It has been a month since I arrived to Uganda, how time flies.
2. I’ve started teaching in a local kindergarten on tge mountain and it’s going well. I’m learning thr teaching system here and also bringing things from my own experience.
3. I came down from the mountain to the big city (Mbale) several times. It’s an hour drive from the mountain to the main road (by motorcycle) and another hour from their by taxi.
4. I thank God for His grace, as I’ve found a group of about 80 white people in the city. Most of them have been in a mission for several years. Last weekend I’ve met with few of the families and it was blessed and building!
5. In the end of the month an Israeli guy named Mantzor is coming with few friends. They want to make a short video about the school that we are building to raise money for building.

I love and miss you all ❤

Building relationships 🤝🏼

The past week I’ve been staying with my friend Liz in the town of Mokono. They’ve opened a kindergarten and a school. The teacher are getting ready for the beginning of the school year. It was a good and blessed time of learning from them the education system in Uganda, as well as share with then from my knowledge (I brought with me mind games from Israel).

In the weekend I went to a town called Ginga to meet a family that has been living there for 15 years. It was great to learn from their knowledge and experience in the field. 

God is good and faithful. He is opening up doors for me to meet new people and make connections 😊

What’s ahead:
This week I’m going to visit a YWAM base in Ginga (the same organisation I’ve got my training in Armenia and Russia).
From their I’ll continue with Alfred to the construction site of the school. We are continuing to build the school with the new materials thanks to the donations we’ve collected from Beit Asaph congregation and from the mission evening. Thank you to everyone who had donated ❤

Miriam in Uganda

Hello friends
I’m doing well. Finally I have internet connection ☺
Now I’m in Alfred and Betty’s house near Kampala until the end of January. Now the children have their big break from school. They will go back to study on the 3rd of February.
Until than I’m helping with the kids at home and waiting for a visa.
We’ve submitted many papers to receive visa for a year as a volunteer of the Bird ministry, so I won’t have to go to Kenya every 3 months…
A prayer request: that all the visa process will be successful.

Prayer letter December 2019

December 2019

 Our Dear Brothers and Sisters in Messiah,

 As we draw near to the festive season of Hanukkah and Christmas we wish to send you our love and blessings for the coming year, 2020, and most of all our deep gratitude for “hanging in there” with us throughout 2019.

It has been a wonderful year, full of good fruit and bold steps forward! We have seen such answers to prayer and have grown in faithfulness as a community. Specifically, it has been such a joy to see our younger generation flourish.

Our youth (14-18 year-olds) stand out as a model for our whole congregation. This year they have been the primary group requesting baptism and they love outreach and mission. They also love to serve in various capacities and several have regular roles in Shabbat services. In August, six of our older youth (pre-military service) took part in the Yad b’Yad 1.0 (Hand-in-Hand) Reconciliation Initiative.

When our new school year began in October, the new intake of younger teens joined our youth program. It’s usually a ‘nightmare’ for them figuring out how to fit in. This year it was seamless. Why? Because the older ones who had each had a personal encounter with Yeshua in the Yad b’Yad 1.0 program in Auschwitz simply opened their arms to the young ones, as their mentors. Thank you for your prayers for Natan and his team of youth leaders. They do a great job of primary pastoral care for our youth and prepare them spiritually for the ‘rough and tumble’ of military service when they hit 18!

Our group of young adults, “HaMilchiah” (the Saltshaker) are growing from strength-to-strength. Three couples have found each other within the group and married, and babies are beginning to emerge J. A fine home group is also well underway and over half of them are serving as preachers, service leaders, worship leaders and team members, Shabbat school and youth teachers. Evan and Lev mentor these young people one-on-one with spectacular results.

Many of our young adults’ lives were radically changed as a result of taking part in the Yad b’Yad 2.0 mission’s program in late August and for them the outreach simply continued when they got back home. Some examples of the outcomes include: regular prayer walks and open worship at Israel’s leading university campuses and monthly worship and street outreaches throughout Israel’s cities. It is a dream come true for us to see our Messianic young adults worshipping and witnessing alongside their Arab Christian peers in places like Nazareth (see photos) Haifa and Tel Aviv.

You will recall us asking for prayer in the middle of the year as we were about to renegotiate the leasing contract on Beit Asaph’s facility. This was successful and we were able to sign in late June. The new contract will take effect from January 2020. As we completed the High Holydays in early October we began to mobilize a large portion of the congregation towards giving our facility a complete “face lift.” After 20 years the place was looking decidedly tired and run down. It is amazing what a bit of tender love and care does. Men and women of all ages and backgrounds have been painting, cleaning, repairing and removing large amounts of accumulated ‘junk’. It’s been Passover cleaning “on turbo” and the results are outstanding!

Beyond the physical effect was the joy of working together for the common good of the community and the overall sense of accomplishment it produced. Wow!

Some Prayer Briefs:

Next week we will be participating in the, “Welcoming the King of Glory” conference in Nazareth. Israel Messianics and Arab Christians will be hosting significant numbers of delegates from indigenous peoples of the Pacific Rim (e.g. maritime nations of the South Pacific). Please pray for an outpouring of God’s Spirit in intercession and outreach – welcoming Yeshua back to his hometown!

Prayer for Miriam – Beit Asaph’s missionary to Uganda. She returns to Israel in the coming week from intensive training at Frontier Ministry with YWAM and then flies to Uganda to begin her first year in the Eastern Mountains region. Good news: All the money she will need for 2020 (including coverage of her Israeli National Insurance) has been provided.

Prayer for building the teams – Yad b’Yad 1.0 & 2.0 youth and young adults programs for next summer 2020. Careful recruitment is required to find the balance as both discipleship programs are very demanding.

Reminder: Yb’Y 1.0 focuses on 16-18 year-old Messianic youth and their German Christian peers in an intercessory act of reconciliation. They will be hosted in the Nuremberg area of Germany and will travel to Auschwitz together.

Yb’Y 2.0 is a discipleship program that focuses on street mission. The team is made up of a balanced group of Israeli Arab and Jewish believers, Palestinian believers and German Christians. The outreach will take place in the Old City of Nuremberg – a place with enormous history from former Nazi times but also a city where huge numbers of people from all over the world come each summer. Both initiatives are sponsored and co-led by Philippus-Dienst of Germany.

Prayer for Evan and Maala leaving Israel in mid-January for a week of ministry in Switzerland together with Palestinian and Swiss colleagues. From Zurich they will travel to NZ to spend time with family followed by a number of ministry responsibilities and some focused time on writing! Thank you in advance for prayer for Beit Asaph during their three months away – for Lev and Ora and for the fine team of young adults that help carry a wide variety of the responsibilities.

Last but not least, please pray for our politically beleaguered nation. We have no suggestions regarding leadership as the entire country is very disappointed in our politicians and the political system. However, we pray that this would be the season when God would remove the scales off our people’s eyes that we might see the One who is true leader over Israel – Yeshua himself!

We send you our blessings for a season of joy, light, good fellowship around your tables and for a spirit of unity to prevail in your church communities.

Evan and Lev (for Beit Asaph)