We told you: No Gospel!” the man shouted, glaring at us.
About thirty agitated locals barged into the Spiritual Care location of our Enewari, Ethiopia, Medical Outreach last year. A few hours later, our team, safe inside a guarded building, listened as their nearby campsite was attacked and eventually burned to the ground, set afire by a second angry mob.
Jewish Voice has always been committed to reaching Jewish people with the Gospel. It has driven our efforts for 50-plus years. The large-scale Medical Outreaches we’ve conducted have been a productive means of reaching the “Lost Tribes of Israel” living in tremendous need.
In recent years, we’ve met increased opposition to the spiritual aspect of our work in some locations. Yet, that’s why we go. Some regions welcomed our practical aid but not our primary purpose – the Gospel. For a few years now, we’ve had the undeniable sense that God was about to renew His calling on Jewish Voice with fresh, additional means of accomplishing it. So, we have been praying, “Where are You leading us, Lord?”
Renewed Outreach in Ethiopia
Our large Medical Outreaches are working well in Zimbabwe, but due to the opposition we’ve experienced in some parts of Ethiopia, it was time to rethink our Outreach strategy there. COVID-19 taught us some things as well. As we embark on the 2021 Outreach season, we wanted to share with you some of the exciting things we’re doing to reach the Jewish people in Ethiopia more effectively.
More Tools in Our Toolbox
“People don’t care what you know until they know that you care,” says Jonathan Bernis, Jewish Voice CEO. We have knowledge to share – the Good News. Showing Jesus’ love through practical aid helps open hearts to hear it. We have a lot of great “tools” with which to serve the Jewish people. In 2021, we’re adding a few more to help us to meet location-specific needs in Ethiopia. We are introducing a smaller mobile outreach model as well as an expanded clean water program.Indigenous Messianic congregations will help us conduct assessments so we can meet the most vital needs in each location.
We noted that if we had a smaller event-footprint in Ethiopia, it would free us from dependence upon using government sites; conducting smaller Outreach events also allows us to include spiritual ministry in the same location as the humanitarian work, making it more fruitful than when at a separate, nearby site as is required for major Outreaches.
Shorter events, lasting two or three days, will draw less attention from the opposition, better enabling us to minister in these places without interference. We believe we’ll be able to visit several locations for about the same expenditure as one large Medical Outreach without compromising the quality of aid. This then translates to reaching even more Jewish communities across the country with the Gospel.
There are additional aspects about smaller scale Outreaches in Ethiopia that we believe will prove beneficial, such as the below.
More Direct Impact
JVMI’s ministry target has always been sharing the Messiah with Jewish people. In Ethiopia, persecution forces most Jewish people to live outside main towns, yet, government rules require our large Clinics to be within the cities. We’ve transported Jewish villagers when possible, but persecution or fear prevents many Jewish people from traveling to the Clinics we host for them. This additional Outreach format is more agile, allowing us to set up much closer to, perhaps right within, outlying Jewish communities and villages. We think it will help us minister even more directly to the Jewish people in challenging regions of Ethiopia than through the larger Clinic framework we’ve used in the past.
More Indigenous Involvement
Since Jewish Voice first began reaching out to Jewish people abroad, we’ve believed indigenous ministry is vital. We’re committed to planting Messianic congregations and training local leadership toward ministry self-sufficiency. These local congregations are foundational to our Outreach Spiritual Care Ministry, and will serve on the front-lines of sharing the Good News. They know the people, and they are the ones who remain to continue ministry after we’ve gone home from each Outreach. Throughout our years in Ethiopia, we have also built strong, local medical and dental teams in Ethiopia. COVID-19 proved that international travel restrictions can quickly sideline an Outreach that’s heavily dependent on outside teams. So, as we weave smaller Ethiopia Outreaches into our 2021 plans, we’ll rely more on local Messianic Believers and less on large, international partner teams.
Expanded Water Strategy
Clean water is essential to health. We’re renewing our toolset with additional means to help meet water-related needs. One way of doing that is shifting our distribution of LifeStraw® water filters from individual devices to family and community units. The family and community size filters last years longer and are more likely to be used correctly, making them more effective in improving health. We’re also building infrastructure that will improve our water, sanitation and hygiene program, widely known as “WASH.” In addition, we will offer more holistic “WASH” education in order to make a lasting impact in the Jewish communities, and the surrounding communities, where we serve.
All this helps us reach the “Lost Tribes of Israel” in Ethiopia with the Good News that their Messiah, Jesus, has come, and He dearly loves them. It’s all about seeing all Israel saved.
The prospects of these Outreach adjustments for Ethiopia leave us feeling renewed with excitement and anticipation. We hope they also inspire you with:
- Renewed excitement for the ministry opportunities ahead
- Renewed dedication to pray for the Jewish people and the teams reaching out to them, and
- Renewed commitment to partnering with Jewish Voice to see this powerful ministry take place
Part of the Whole
Our Outreach ministry is part of six key initiatives that Jewish Voice focuses on:
- Sharing the Gospel
- Ministry to the “Lost Tribes of Israel”
- Serving Holocaust Survivors in Israel
- Standing with Israel
- Teaching the Jewish Roots of Christianity
- Reaching People with Media and Ministry Resources
We can’t thank you enough for your support. You make all of this happen.