Last summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to go to Israel. First, I went on the JVMI Israel Tour, seeing the Holy Land for the first time. Afterward, I spent a week working with our Israel Program Manager. Together we visited several of the more than 70 local ministries that Jewish Voice supports in Israel.
The ministries Jewish Voice supports throughout Israel range from services for the preborn to programs for the elderly. I visited a school for the arts, a drug rehabilitation facility and a pregnancy center. I met people running legal practices assisting clients in various capacities as well as an organization that connects ministries with sources of financial support. I also met with representatives of a ministry that operates largely underground by sharing the Gospel in a unique way. I hope this sampling of ministries shows you, our partners, just how extensively your support of Jewish Voice reaches into Israel. I think it also reveals why we partner with these other organizations: They can accomplish so much more than we could ever hope to do by ourselves because they have ground-level access to meeting the needs of their local communities with the Good News and practical aid.
I spent one day with an organization that uses an unconventional way to spread the Gospel. Part of what they do is relational. Through their field of ministry, they build relationships with individuals in their program. All are welcome, which creates opportunities to minister to Orthodox Jews as well as Arab Muslims in Israel. When a Jewish person comes to faith in Yeshua (Jesus), the organization helps plug them into a local Messianic congregation. The group also has its own fellowship where new Believers can attend and continue to be discipled. Members of the organization told me how God called them to this work and the positive impact it has had on their lives.
We also support several Messianic congregations in Israel and their affiliate ministries, such as the art center I visited. This ministry openly declares that they exist to help individuals develop their talents in order to bring glory to God. People of all ages and faiths come to study music and art there, but the center’s heart is for discipling Believers. They conduct free, live festivals and concerts in Israel so the Gospel can be shared. The program directs many children and adults alike to Jesus.
I was particularly impressed with a set of twin girls I met at the art center, whose parents had made Aliyah from Ethiopia. These first-generation Israelis are now preparing for their military service in the IDF, and they shared with me how much the art center had impacted their lives since they began participating at an early age. Through this art center, the girls had been given the opportunity to take lessons and perform with the group and had not only grown in musical skill over the years but also in their relationship with Yeshua.
The rehab center I visited successfully helps people overcome alcohol and drug addiction. It goes even further by helping them find jobs, reintegrate into society, and eventually have homes of their own. The people who operate this ministry are quite possibly some of the most compassionate individuals I have ever met. They minister to drug addicts while they are still on the street, meeting their basic needs. Then, when individuals are ready to be free from addiction, they are invited into the center, which looks like a home. They receive the rehabilitation counseling they need to overcome their addiction – along with the love of Yeshua, the Gospel and discipleship. I attended a Bible study with the group, and the genuine worship that sprang from them was amazing. JVMI’s support helps pay part of the rent for this rehab center.
The cost of living in Israel is extremely high. I could not imagine being unwed and pregnant in a place where a not-too-fancy meal can cost a day’s wage.
Approximately one in 10 pregnancies in Israel ends in abortion. Many occur because the mother is not in a financial position to care for a child. The pregnancy center I visited helps alleviate financial stress for the women so that they can keep their babies. When an expectant mother enters the program, she receives help during her pregnancy and through the entire first year of the baby’s life. This includes baby clothes, diapers, formula, strollers, cribs and other items. Jewish Voice is helping this pro-life pregnancy center fight for the preborn in Israel.
My trip to Israel was a humbling experience. As a tourist, walking in the very places that Jesus walked brought a sense of closeness to Him that I can’t describe and hadn’t felt before. The Bible came alive to me – not just by seeing those sacred places, but by the heart of God that was incredibly evident in the ministries that took the time to share with me. These places offer so much hope and healing that I was overwhelmed. Meeting these wonderful people who share the Gospel and help Jewish Believers throughout Israel showed me how desperately their ministries need the partnership Jewish Voice provides. And how incredibly grateful they are for it.
The ministries that JVMI partners with in Israel are doing amazing work. I will never forget how they opened their hearts and showed me how delicate and necessary our continued work in Israel is – because the harvest is ripe, and the workers are few.