Posts By: Jonathan

Let down the nets

Dear coworkers, I’m back in Kurdistan, northern Iraq this week, after a nearly three-month absence. Thinking and praying about reestablishing a base for our community here, and looking at a few potential houses today: Hundreds of families across this region have been with us to Israel for heart surgeries, and our hearts and hopes are… Read more »

A glorious day

Dear praying friends, Julio our Kurdish-speaking coworker was called into the hospital to translate on Wednesday morning, the quiet day as everything prepared to close for Yom Kippur. The doctors had reached a treatment decision for Mohammed L, the long-neglected 33-year-old from Kurdistan. After all these weeks of tests in the hospital, they explained that it… Read more »

Help of the helpless

Dear praying friends, Today in our morning meeting we gathered and read John chapter 6, and we came to think how this describes Jesus’ life becoming our own, if only we humbly accept it and drink in, deeply.  Joanne, one of our new community members, led us in worship before our reading with a beautiful… Read more »

Break the chains of wickedness

Dear coworkers, We’re entering into autumn, and the last third of the year on the Gregorian calendar. And tomorrow night on the Hebrew calendar we’re entering the seventh month and the high holidays that it brings. We’ll have fully five Torah holy days this month, in addition to the Shabbats, on which no work is… Read more »

The strength of our hearts

Dear praying friends, It is from a happy and content morning, spent with two good-natured and peaceful Kurdish mothers sitting out on our balcony, that I am writing this prayer letter. Thank God that through all this difficult period of waiting for these mothers of Lava and Ahmed–and I will include the uncle of Hena… Read more »

On the mountain of the LORD

Dear coworkers, Another milestone this weekend in the struggle to get children from northern Iraq into Israel in time for life-saving heart surgeries. With the medical escort of our coworkers Nate and Colin, and with last-minute cooperation from Israel’s interior and foreign ministries, eight more children landed safely Friday morning at Ben Gurion airport: It… Read more »

Eight urgent children flying tonight

Dear praying friends, Nate and Colin are making last-minute preparations at this hour in preparation to fly tonight with eight new Kurdish children to Israel. They all need urgent life-saving heart surgeries, and two of them, Mohammed A and Marya, we are asking to be hospitalized upon arrival as they require oxygen. The others are… Read more »

The moment they’ve longed for

Dear coworkers, The long, long battle to reunite Asmeen and mother with their family in Kurdistan finally came to fulfillment Thursday. Here’s the moment they’ve longed for the past eight months: Transferring Asmeen from Israel to northern Iraq while on mechanical ventilation was surely the most complex, challenging journey in the history of our community…. Read more »

Asmeen on her way home

Dear praying friends, This week has seen the arrival and departure of two much-prayed-for Kurdish patients. After almost eight months in hospital in Israel, beloved Asmeen and her mother said their final farewells to the Sheba hospital staff just an hour ago: And as I write they are enroute to Ben Gurion airport in an ambulance which will transfer them from… Read more »

The love and compassion of Israel

Dear coworkers, Two months and one week after we first applied for his visa, 33-year-old Mohammed from Kurdistan has just boarded the first of two flights which, God willing, will bring him safely to Israel tomorrow morning: Despite two previous surgeries for his congenital heart defect in Iraq and Jordan, the right side of Mohammed’s… Read more »

Dina still very weak

Dear friends, The week began with the cleft-palate child Dina from Kurdistan in emergency surgery late on Saturday night into the early hours of Sunday morning, as doctors tried to find and control post-surgical bleeding in her heart. Dina is still very weak, but has come through this her third heart surgery and is now breathing on… Read more »

In the image of God

Dear coworkers, Our tiny Jaffa community has been through so many crises in recent months, and they’re in the thick of another. On Shabbat our partners at the Sheba Medical Center called to say beloved little Dina, the Kurdish child with a severely cleft lip and palate, had collapsed and been resuscitated, and would be… Read more »

Keep going, keep hoping, keep believing

Dear friends, Please pray for Mohammed E. from Gaza. He came to the Sheba Medical Center almost nine months ago for repair of a hole in his heart, but doctors also found severe problems in many of his bodily systems. They’ve withheld no effort since then in trying to heal Mohammed, but this week reached the point where… Read more »

Strands of the divine plot

Dear coworkers, Several long-running dramas will reach their denouement this week, as the strands of the divine plot are drawn perfectly together. Do you remember the little Yazidi girl Meera who arrived with our first group of delayed babies back in March? “At first glance, Meera is startlingly purple,” Georgia wrote then: …her fingers are clubbed… Read more »

Teaching us in each season

Dear friends, Please join us this week in prayer: For Shadi’s family – His mother left Israel (above left) yesterday and arrived home in Kurdistan today, to a different life from what she had been dearly hoping for, following Shadi’s death on Sunday. Please pray for the Spirit of God to surround and comfort her… Read more »

All men are created equal

Dear friends, Those of you who see the mid-week Shevet Prayer letter (click here to subscribe) already know how the Sheba doctors fought for the life of eight-month-old Shadi this week, as intercessors around the world fought alongside them. Shadi’s surgery wasn’t delayed by visa issues, like so many of the critically-ill newborns we’ve seen in recent… Read more »

How beautiful is the work of God

Dear friends, Ishi Xwa chen khosha — “How beautiful is the work of God.” These were the words of Shadi’s mother on the day of his surgery, referring to his unique combination of heart defects; not only are his arteries are reversed but also the lower chambers of his heart. Because of his double-backwards anatomy, the… Read more »

Who they are called to be

Dear friends, Do you remember the ISIS refugee baby Sulaiman, and the agonizing 53-day wait for his permission to enter Israel in time for his emergency heart surgery? Two weeks ago he was between life and death on the ECMO device after surgery; last Sunday surgeons at the Sheba Medical Center were finally able to close… Read more »

God of all comforts

Dear friends, There is no more beautiful way to open this letter than with the news that Sulaiman had his chest closed on Sunday, was extubated yesterday and today was moved to the step-down unit of the ICU, to his mother’s great joy! So our Father is redeeming Sulaiman from the damaging consequences of his long… Read more »

Cracking the stony wall

Dear coworkers, Last week I wrote you about the painful loss of the Kurdish baby Ayan, caused at least in part by the long delay of his entry visa by Israel’s interior ministry. Tonight Georgia reports that the mother of another delayed baby, Sulaiman, is “bursting with good news” after his chest was finally closed 12 days… Read more »

A cry of the heart

Dear praying friends, Yesterday we received this message from Colin in Kurdistan, regarding the young man Mohammed who is close to dying from complications of his childhood heart defect: So far Mohammed has twice been denied a visa to enter Israel for treatment. At 33 years old, he is no longer a child and yet… Read more »

Making all things new

Beloved friends, The past two weeks we’ve focused on two transposition babies in critical condition in the Sheba Medical Center, after visa delays pushed their surgeries outside the safest window for intervention. Today Georgia, Alena and Sabrina were shocked to find one of them, Mohammed B, already out of the ICU and on the fast track… Read more »

Death and life in the ICU

Dear friends, “Ayan, gyan, three months!” Two weeks ago Ayan’s mother marked his three months of life by decorating his hospital bed; she used candy and forks to write the number three: This past week she was asking “Hiwa hiya?” (There is hope?) as Ayan was taken off the ECMO machine after he had not… Read more »

Transformed into creatures of the air

Dear coworkers, Last week’s letter was a call to prayer for two of the transposition babies, in critical condition and on the ECMO device after their entrance to Israel for surgery was delayed by the interior ministry for over a month. Thank God—since then baby Mohammed has come off ECMO and today doctors finally closed his chest,… Read more »

Encourage one another

Dear praying friends, As with each of these prayer update letters, it seems an incredible amount of things has taken place over the span of the week. Not only that physical tasks have gone ahead (echos, surgeries, shopping…) but to pay attention to, and reflect on, the range of emotions which are experienced by the… Read more »

Never turn away a child

Dear friends, We need to pray. Two of the Kurdish transposition babies whose entrance to Israel was delayed by the interior ministry are in the most critical condition tonight. Doctors at the Sheba Medical Center took the drastic step of putting them on the ECMO device (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) to give their tiny hearts a… Read more »

No longer strangers

Dear friends, So much is happening every day that even yesterday seems like a long time ago! We’ll often have to ask each other whether something happened just yesterday or last week. So it seems like forever ago that we were praying for the nine new children’s visas, and before that the nine previous urgent… Read more »

Israel we know and love

Dear friends, For the first time Israel has a Torah-observant prime minister tonight: Naftali Bennett started the day by tweeting the Aaronic blessing, along with a picture of him praying with tefillin. This afternoon he concluded his speech to the Knesset by saying “I pray to God that He grant me wisdom and understanding to lead the State… Read more »

Stand firm

Dear praying friends, In Exodus 15 Moses and the people of Israel praise the Lord with joyful hearts, as they have come to know Him as their rescuer: I will sing to the Lord for he has triumphed gloriously You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; You have guided… Read more »

Comfort my people

Dear coworkers, After 53 days the saga of Sulaiman’s entry to Israel finally came to an end Thursday. His crying awoke me early that morning, from across the hall in the Baptist guesthouse in Jordan near the border crossing into Israel. We’d been waiting there for nine days, since the other six in Sulaiman’s group… Read more »

A flow of praise and gratitude

Dear praying friends, This week began with another new opportunity to trust in God, and remember that we are living in His kingdom, and working in His strength. The families of Haveen, Meera, Samaa and Big Yousef returned to Kurdistan, each with a different story of their time spent in Israel. Three healthy children and… Read more »

Faith rather than religion

Dear coworkers, The battle for the transposition babies continues. When I wrote you last Sunday, four of the latest group of seven had just entered Israel following delays of over a month; two more were allowed to enter on Tuesday. They’ve all been evaluated and the first baby, Lava, will go in for surgery tomorrow morning… Read more »

A candle against the darkness

Dear friends, Seven of the nine Iraqi children who’ve waited for so long are now with us in Israel! Six of the most urgent, who all need correction of transposition of the great arteries, already have had first evaluations at the Sheba Medical Center: Yadgar was dressed in his finest clothes, which included a waistcoat and… Read more »

First four transpositions arrive

Dear coworkers, Today seven weeks were fulfilled since the resurrection day of Messiah, and our community normally sets this Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) apart as a Torah holiday of rest, worship and laying hold afresh of the promise of the Holy Spirit. But Israel as a nation already marked the holy day last Monday, according… Read more »

The great Bridge Builder

Dear friends, Firstly, thank God for the approval today of the nine new Kurdish children, seven of whom need emergency surgery to switch their great arteries: They will arrive next week, we think in two groups and the first will travel on Sunday via the the Jordan border. While they have been verbally approved we… Read more »

Healing hearts underground

Dear friends, When our coworker Sabrina went to visit the children today at the Sheba Medical Center, she found that due to the current state of war the whole intensive care unit has been moved from the top floor of the children’s hospital to an underground parking garage: What a picture! Even as rockets from… Read more »

As the sirens blared

Dear friends, Our daily circumstances don’t always feel remarkable, but this week we saw in a new way the incredible significance of a Jewish surgeon performing a cardiac surgery for a baby from the Gaza Strip–even as the rocket sirens blared throughout Tel Aviv and the surrounding cities. Yesterday baby Ghena had a ten-hour surgery to repair… Read more »

Wait for the Lord

Dear coworkers, Let’s take stock. One month has passed since nine urgent children from Iraq made it into Israel, after a long struggle to get permission from the interior ministry which ended only after intervention from the media and the Knesset. The delay made the arrival of the children late–almost too late. When I wrote… Read more »

Just look at her mother’s face

Dear friends, One of the Kurdish parents said that you don’t have to ask how Salwa is doing, just look at her mother’s face (below middle) and you’ll know! This week has brought immense improvement for Salwa; it began with her weaning from the ECMO machine on Sunday even as she was still unstable. Then… Read more »

Be there for each other

Dear coworkers, I wrote you a week ago on the eve of Salwa’s switch surgery, the last such surgery to be done for the six babies now in Israel who were born with transposition of the great arteries. And I suggested we could “relax a little” about rushing the next seven transpositions babies to Israel,… Read more »

Good news to the poor

Dear friends, Georgia and I watched the newest episode of The Chosen on Saturday night, in which Jesus comes back to his camp completely exhausted and worn. He looks utterly spent after a day of healing hundreds of people, as if he is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. And one only needs to look at paintings or… Read more »

Recognize each other as brothers

Dear coworkers, First of all tonight, look what God has done! Of the six Kurdish children who came last month with transposition of the great arteries, five have now had successful surgery to switch those arteries back to their proper places. The latest was Yousif, who went in for a routine check on Thursday, and… Read more »

The difference it will mean

Dear friends, Thank you for praying for the needs of our community; as seven more urgent children’s visa applications are going in to the Ministry of the Interior, we bear in mind the difference it will mean for each of those lives if everything is approved in the next weeks. Please firstly pray that it… Read more »

Seven more transpositions!

Dear friends, Our little neighborhood in Jaffa is all over the national news in Israel this evening, after two Arab men gave a beating to the rabbi who runs a nearby yeshiva for young Jewish men before they enter the army. This hits a nerve for many Jews who believe Israel’s core purpose is to be the… Read more »

Something we will all remember

Dear friends, Our beautiful Meera had her second surgery this week, after a first preparatory surgery. When the doctors first saw the extreme complexities of her heart, I remember thinking: Will there be something they can do to help her? So really praise God that the cardiologists and surgeons have been able to save her life, and that she… Read more »

Honored to suffer

Dear friends, Are you ever like me impatient with the people of Israel as you read the exodus account, wondering with a tinge of self-righteousness how they could witness such mighty miracles and turn around the next day to doubt God, complain, and worship a golden calf? Well we truly are made of the same… Read more »

Live the impossible

Dear friends, Since last week’s Shevet Prayer we’ve received eight new Kurdish families. Yousif, Lia, Yousef, Samaa, and Meena crossed by land from Jordan into Israel on Monday: And Salwa, Khanda and Maili arrived this afternoon also by land, following a warm welcome in Jordan by new Shevet friend Elizabeth: Because of a deterioration in her condition while traveling, Khanda was taken straight to… Read more »

Never give up

Friends, When I arrived five weeks ago at a Yazidi refugee camp in northern Iraq with our Kurdish coworkers Ahlam and Ramzi (parents of a previous heart patient named Shana), we had no idea what was awaiting us inside the tents. We found a first-time mother, who had just given birth to triplets, anxiously watching… Read more »

Whom do you seek?

Dear friends, In John’s gospel Jesus asks a twice-recurrent question which bookends his crucifixion. “Whom do you seek?” he asks the guards who came to arrest him on Passover night in the garden of Gethsemane. He asks this same question of Mary, his disciple, friend, and first witness to his resurrection, in the garden of… Read more »

In their spiritual DNA

Dear coworkers, Last Sunday night I suggested that prayer rather than publicity could help the nine urgent Iraqi children refused entrance to Israel by the coronavirus travel exceptions committee. And indeed the next day when I saw the article published about the crisis I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach. It was basically the same story that’s been… Read more »

The upside-down kingdom

Dear friends, In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says something quite well-known: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” This may seem commonsense or even trite; of course this is how we should be treating others. But is… Read more »

“Come with us”

Dear friends, A week after the miraculous transfer of six families into and six families out of Israel, I find myself still writing to you tonight from Jordan. While the Lord made a way for the families, he has chosen thus far to leave me and eight other coworkers still outside the promised land and… Read more »

Where Messiah is

Dear friends, As this week comes to a close Paul’s letter to the Colossians has been a consistent prayer through the very busy and long days: Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven… Read more »

A singing people

Dear coworkers, I wrote you last Sunday about newborn Mina, whose life and future depended on her reaching Israel as quickly as possible: But with the airport closed in Tel Aviv, she and five other urgent children had no discernible path to enter Israel, just as the six Kurdish families stranded in Israel after their… Read more »

Effectively at work

Dear friends, At the beginning of the week, the likelihood of our six discharged Kurdish children traveling through Jordan home to Iraq seemed very small. Their flights through Ben Gurion airport for this week and next were canceled, and we were trying to plan how to deal with the impending arrival of six new Kurdish… Read more »

In God we trust

Dear coworkers, Something strange is happening here in Kurdistan, northern Iraq this week. Yes, the pope is in town for the first time since…ever. Iraqis and Kurds are excited and proud–like all of us they want to know they matter and that the world deems them worthy of attention. I’d like to believe in some way they… Read more »

With him in paradise

Dear friends, In the ninth grade my English class read The Pearl, a novella by the American author John Steinbeck. I still remember my teacher belaboring a specific passage in which the protagonist watches an ant caught in a trap. His cool observation of the doomed creature is described as him watching with ‘the detachment of… Read more »

You’re not alone

Dear friends, Ten months ago our coworker Alena brought little Ziad out of Gaza for what we expected to be a routine echo: It turned into multiple surgeries and a ten-month stay, during the last five months of which Ziad was breathing only with the help of a tracheostomy. His lovely parents each spent months… Read more »

Be not dismayed

Dear praying friends, Thank God that he is with us, and thank you for praying for us. It is very encouraging to know that there are always people holding not only the needs of our families, but also us as a community in prayer. We have at our Jaffa house many families waiting for the… Read more »

The hem of his garment

Dear coworkers, A couple of nights ago I came across these words which I wrote to you in a Shevet Sunday five years ago this week: It’s a fool’s errand, I know. But I’ve resolved to start dividing my own time equally between Kurdistan and Israel, together with whoever else is called and willing to… Read more »

What he can do with dust

Dear friends, Georgia and I brought three families to Jerusalem for the day this past Sunday. While they were visiting the mosque on the Temple Mount, we spent a few minutes in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher: Usually the enclosed courtyard is full of people milling around before entering the church but… Read more »

So much stronger together

Dear coworkers, Our father in heaven strengthened our hands through the affirmation you gave following last week’s letter about Abed and Asma and the non-heart-related care they so urgently needed in Israel. Here are the first four replies received: My heart skips for joy when I read this letter–I witness in my spirit that you… Read more »

Our primary identity

Dear praying friends, Thank you for supporting us all here.  As our coworker Amar reminded me this morning, we are in a spiritual battle, not against flesh and blood, so to know that there are others across the world faithfully standing with us and our families is encouraging and important. Our staff numbers are quite… Read more »

Abandon all of our worries

Dear coworkers, 11-year-old Asma was discovered in Gaza to have a malformation of blood vessels in her brain. Palestinian doctors who examined her in Nablus, Ramallah and East Jerusalem all agreed she can only be safely treated by a specialist in Israel using advanced endovascular intervention. The day after we heard about Asma, we were also… Read more »

This is my story

Dear friends, There is a Shevet tradition for new volunteers to share the story of how they became followers of Jesus, and while the five of us now in Jaffa have been here for months and years, we have started one day a week to share in the morning meeting the story of how the… Read more »

What must we do

Jerusalem at night Dear coworkers, The first month of 2021 is already gone. “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day,” Jesus said. “Night is coming when no one can work.” I’m steadily convicted by the spirit that now is our time to invest the talents we’ve received, for our master… Read more »

So dearly to redeem

Dear friends, As I wrote this letter word came that the Gaza baby Besan, who came urgently last week, died in surgery. As we waited with her for the death certificate the mother told us her baby’s life story; how Besan’s name was chosen, how she was after her birth but before she went to the… Read more »

When Abba gives blows

Dear friends, The Israeli government today took the unprecedented step of “hermetically” sealing the country by shutting down all incoming flights until next Sunday. During this time the country will race to vaccinate another one million citizens against COVID, which will bring the level of vaccination to about 40% of the population. (They’re already vaccinating high school students!)…. Read more »

Wiser eyes than mine

Dear friends, Looking back at the end of every week there is always so much that has happened; while we see in part what God is doing, his mind is such that we are only ever partially aware of what He is doing in ourselves and those around us. The total significance of events and… Read more »

We’re alive together

Dear friends, My understanding was taken to a whole new level this week of what a treasure our community is. Shortly after I wrote you last Sunday night, my son Ben texted to say that our coworker Frank, a 73-year-old widower, was in a hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana on a ventilator with COVID. That… Read more »

Now choose life

Dear friends, In the morning meeting this week we read from the end of Luke chapter ten, together with a Gaza mother staying with us. This well-known story tells of Martha opening her house to Jesus and his disciples. At some point she asks Jesus to tell off her sister Mary for sitting at his… Read more »

Life from the dead

Dear coworkers, When my heart is heavy with concern, fear or confusion, I open the Psalms and am immediately confronted by the glorious imperatives to give thanks, rejoice in the LORD, and bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,… Read more »

How to share our lives

Dear praying friends, As we studied the scriptures together this week, we meditated on these words in James: But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17 Please pray with us that we would receive this wisdom, and be… Read more »

Hope we can be changed

Dear coworkers, As we enter the new year there are good reasons to thank our Father. I wrote you two weeks ago about the arrival in Israel of our five emergent Christmas babies from Iraq; today Georgia shares that little Eliyas (“Elijah”) was rushed into surgery after his oxygen levels dropped, becoming our first surgery of… Read more »

Windows in heaven

Dear coworkers, Within the hour Israel will enter into the new year, hurtling ever more quickly toward the promised coming with the clouds of the Messiah, whose birth still divides the human calendar. In the Shevet community we mark the year-end also as the time to meet our commitments to the Israeli hospitals who so lovingly… Read more »

The new is breaking in

Dear friends, After John the Baptist was imprisoned, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the Messiah. Jesus replies by quoting Isaiah: “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are… Read more »

Fear not little flock

Dear friends, Three Sundays ago I wrote you from the emergency room. Doctors had just emerged grimly after 35 minutes of resuscitating Alaa and connecting him to heart-lung support, and made clear they didn’t think he would survive. Two Sundays ago Alaa was weaned from the heart-lung device but still ventilated and critical. Last Sunday he… Read more »

Healing in his wings

Dear friends, Thank you so much for praying for the Shevet community. Since I am in quarantine in Jaffa for the next week, Georgia and I have talked about what God has been doing in their lives amidst five new families coming, bringing us to a total of nine Kurdish families. She says that God… Read more »

A branch from the stump of Jesse

Dear coworkers, Last Sunday night I shared that against all odds Alaa’s heart started working on its own. And those of you who watch our Facebook/Instagram updates or Alaa’s blog know how shocked I was to walk into the ICU Thursday night and find him not only breathing on his own but also sitting up and… Read more »

He remains faithful

Dear praying friends, Thank God for the great promises of life with Jesus: The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—… Read more »

Do we love our Jewish neighbors?

Dear coworkers, My letter to you last Sunday night was brief. Doctors had just come out of the emergency room and told me they didn’t think our much-loved Alaa from Gaza was going to survive. Over the next day or two it became clear that this was caused by a mistake in his medication. I was by… Read more »

Lifting Alaa to the Father

Dear praying friends, Thank you for joining with us this week in intercession. Firstly for Alaa, who returned unexpectedly this week to Israel, very unwell following his heart surgery. He is in critical condition and on life support (the ECMO device) for four days now. Doctors report very slight improvement in his heart function, and will… Read more »

The valley of the shadow of death

Friends, I’m writing you from the emergency room at the Sheba Medical Center outside Tel Aviv. Our dear Alaa from Gaza was rushed here tonight by ambulance after experiencing fever, cough and pain in the wake of his heart surgery two and a half weeks ago: It was our coworker Amar who worked for hours and insisted… Read more »

Upon this rock may we stand

Dear praying friends, Our new German coworkers Sebastian and Sabrina are about a month into the fullness of life at Shevet Achim. As we, the three Europeans, discussed the idea of a “hot Christmas,” away from everything we have been familiar with at this time of year, Sebastian described it as feeling like living in… Read more »

A little baby has visited the earth

Dear coworkers, Israel’s prime minister was on hand Thursday morning when the first commercial “flydubai” flight landed in Israel from the United Arab Emirates: “There will be many more, going both directions. But you can only be first once,” he said at a welcoming ceremony in the arrival hall. “And this is a pivotal moment, because we’re… Read more »

A motley crew giving thanks

Dear friends, In our community today we are celebrating Thanksgiving. It’s not a familiar holiday for many of us, but as members of God’s family it is a joy to have a holiday specifically centered around gratitude. Just as an ungrateful heart is a marker of those who are ungodly and unrighteous (Romans 1.18-21), so… Read more »

A captivating righteousness

Dear coworkers, A humble 25-year-old man from Hebron approached the admissions window this evening at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, anxious to get his firstborn son Saif Aldin in for emergency heart surgery that couldn’t be done in the Palestinian territories: I stood over his shoulder and listened to the admissions clerks talking about… Read more »

Restore our joy

Greetings from our Jaffa community, and thank you for praying with us. We have been working our way through God’s designs for the tabernacle in the book of Exodus. Today we read in chapter 30 about the holy incense to be offered on the altar, which led us to think about how we should be… Read more »

Let the stories tell themselves

Dear coworkers, The elevator doors burst open late in the evening and out strode a five-member team from Magen David Adom (the Red Shield of David), surrounding a newborn Gaza baby in an incubator: As you can see in the video above, they were single-mindedly focused on getting baby Osama into the cardiac critical care unit… Read more »

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 Dear praying friends, Thank you for your faithful intercession for the health and lives of the patients we receive here, and for the wellbeing of our little community. I returned this week to Jaffa after almost three… Read more »

Let not your hearts be troubled

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it… Read more »

Dawn begins to break

Dear friends, Over the past few months I’ve gotten into the habit of waking up early to go for a run as the sun rises, not chiefly as a regimental requirement but because watching the sunrise communicates the beauty and the goodness of God. There is something addictive about starting to run when it is… Read more »

An election prediction

  Dear coworkers, In just over two days, like many of you, I’ll be online to see who’s won the American election. And I hope that I/we won’t be in ecstasy or despair because our side has won or lost. Whatever the result there will be turmoil ahead. The real issue is simply which tool… Read more »

Breaking bread together

Dear friends, It feels like it is a season of waiting, and we ask that you would join us in prayer for trusting in God’s perfect timing. The hospital is at full capacity, caring for children in need of critical care, including Ziad and Fayez who are currently in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at… Read more »

A place for them in Israel

Dear friends, The first cloud that caught my attention this week was tiny, the size of a man’s hand in an otherwise blazing blue sky Thursday: Oddly, it hovered directly above the gold dome over the rock on which Abraham is said to have bound Isaac for sacrifice, the same rock which by some accounts… Read more »

As warm as tears

Dear friends, Yesterday the few of us in the morning meeting discussed how our conception of God must be shaped by the Bible, rather than by presuppositions we impose on Scripture as to how we think God should act. This was such a good way to start the day, rehashing truth that should continually reorient… Read more »

Boast in the Lord

Dear friends, At this hour our longtime coworker Lindsay is airborne, with daughter River and a son in utero, following a joyful, tearful parting from our dwindling Jaffa community: Lindsay, in the foreground of the picture with her husband Amar, is one of just a handful who’ve completed a full five-year term with the Shevet… Read more »

Created to flourish

Dear friends, Maybe for the first time I’ve realized that in all the critiques I’ve heard of our faith, “it’s too good to be true” isn’t one I’ve come across (which of course doesn’t mean it isn’t out there). But this week I’ve been sitting with how in Jesus “all the fullness of the deity… Read more »

Enemies of the gospel

Dear friends, Yesterday was the last, great day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the day on which Jesus cried out in the temple courts: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Just on… Read more »