The walls of the small home are adorned with the faces of past generations—pictures of grandparents, mother, father, sister and brother—all who had not survived the horrors of the Holocaust some seventy-seven years ago.
This is the home of Ms. E, the sole Holocaust survivor of her Jewish family. During our initial visit and introduction to her, she was guarded, sad, and cautious as she kindly served us homemade cake that her 93-year-old fingers had crafted. Ministry director, Brent Johnson, prayed for her before we left her home, but she did not want the prayer translated into her native German; she wanted to ‘sense’ the prayer.
Career missionary associates Michael and Judith Maurer have visited with her since then, sharing the goodness of Adonai with her. She has requested that anytime we are again in Israel, we visit her. She would like Brent to pray for her again. So, on a follow-up visit, Ms E had a smile and a sense of warmth and welcome that was clearly a genuine anticipation of her visitors. Again, Brent prayed for her, later to discover that she happily shared, “It was as if something left me and something new came in.”
The miracle of a transformed life—regardless of the cruel circumstances! This is Hope. That’s what Jacob’s Hope is all about—bringing compassion and sharing the Messiah with Jewish people in Israel and the nations.
Reaching out to Arab families
Ruth, a Muslim, comes to one of our centers in Israel on a regular basis. Her mother was born Jewish but converted to Islam in order to marry an Arab Israeli. Ruth grew up in an Arab village and married an Arab man. She and her husband have fallen on hard times because his lucrative business fell apart due to increased tensions between Israelis and Palestinians during the summer. They currently live in a small apartment with just one bed that they share with their ten-year-old son. Our compassion team in Israel recently received the donation of a nice futon to be given to a needy person. When Ruth came to the donors’ home to pick up the futon, they were able to give her a worship CD as well.
Ruth has been listening to the CD, and she even takes the batteries out of her CD player and puts them in the freezer at night so she can listen to the CD longer. She knows there is something special about the music, something that is bringing her peace. Her husband came to the center to report that since the team helped Ruth access the Internet, she has gotten cleaning jobs and is now working regularly. He thanked our missionaries for helping his family.
Recent ministry results in Israel and Ukraine
Our ten Jacob’s Hope centers in Israel were visited by more than 13,000 people in 2014. In this country where nearly 30 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, Jews and Muslims feel comfortable coming for assistance. Over 5000 bags of food were distributed, more than 100 children received backpacks and book vouchers, 200 people prayed the prayer of salvation, and 81 new believers now attend congregations and receive discipleship. One of the centers reports healings and salvations, and 20 people have committed to start a Bible study in two towns that lack churches or congregations.
In Ukraine the war has created great economic hardship and many have lost jobs. However, this has created new openness in those who have been hit hard by life’s circumstances. Jacob’s Hope assisted local congregations in sponsoring evangelistic outreaches that touched more than 5000 during the holidays; 300 nonbelievers came forward for prayer and follow-up.