Posts By: Jonathan

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 »

The garden of redemption

Dear friends, I want to start by saying thank you for praying for Ziad, pictured here with me a week and a half ago: Ziad’s surgery a week ago today turned into an endless night. It started at 8:30 in the morning, and his mother was only able to see him at midnight. The surgery… Read more »

Our holy visitors

Dear coworkers, Imagine my surprise when I logged into Zoom yesterday for Shabbat morning prayers at our local messianic synagogue–and there in the middle of the screen were our Iraqi father and Gazan mother! They’ve grown so accustomed to joining morning prayer and scripture reading at our Jerusalem guesthouse that it may have just seemed… Read more »

In good times and bad

You are God alone from before time began You were on Your throne You are God alone and right now In the good times and bad You are on Your throne And you are God alone Unchangeable, unshakable, unstoppable That’s what You are (You are God Alone) For God alone, O my soul, wait in… Read more »

The siren is wailing

Dear friends, As the sun sets in a few minutes all Israel will fall still and silent for Yom Kippur, set aside by everlasting statute as the day the high priest enters the Holy of Holies and sprinkles blood on the cover atop the ark of the covenant, “that atonement may be made for the people… Read more »

A sudden happy turn

I coined the word “eucatastrophe”: the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears (which I argued is the highest function of fairy-stories to produce). And I was there led to the view that it produces its peculiar effect because it is a sudden glimpse of Truth, your… Read more »

Blast of the shofar

Dear coworkers, We’ve just emerged from the two-day celebration in Israel of Rosh HaShana, or as it’s called in the Torah the Feast of Blowing (of shofars). As our Jerusalem community sought insight this morning into the significance of the shofar blast, the Kurdish Iraqi father staying with us was the first to share, describing… Read more »

What does the LORD require?

With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my… Read more »

Go and do likewise

Dear coworkers, I was surprised to learn a few weeks ago that Israel is among a handful of nations with a “Good Samaritan law” that requires passersby to stop and give aid to an injured person. How beautiful that the command of Jesus to “go and do likewise” has been enshrined in Israeli law! O… Read more »

A mother’s sorrow

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the… Read more »

An inflection point

Dear coworkers, How strange it seemed to walk into our Jaffa base this afternoon to the eerie silence of no families. For the last several years the house has been packed non-stop with children and parents from Iraq, Syria and Gaza. But Thursday night ten of our families, stranded in Israel the last half-year by… Read more »

Costly inconvenient love

Dear friends, As we write the ten Kurdish families, long stranded in Israel by coronavirus travel restrictions, are in the Cairo airport and awaiting one last flight to finally bring them home to their loved ones late tonight. We have just heard from them after eight hours of silence since they landed in Cairo, and all… Read more »

The sabbatical you’ve always wanted

Dear coworkers, Instead of resenting the coronavirus shutdown, one writer commented this week, think of it as the sabbatical you’ve always wanted. At the Jerusalem guesthouse, we’re relishing this unexpected gift of extended life together with our neighbors from Gaza. We went together to the Garden Tomb earlier this week, and then Friday to David’s… Read more »

Losing our lives for his sake

Dear friends, In chapter 27 of Matthew the gospel writer goes into specific detail of the events of Jesus’ death. In particular he mentions accessories with which the Romans sought to mock Jesus: the scarlet robe, the crown of thorns, the reed in place of a scepter, and the plaque above the cross which read… Read more »

Our common destiny

Dear coworkers, Shortly after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the director of one of the largest evangelical missions to Muslims taught a two-week intensive course at a Christian university for missionaries to the Muslim world. He also allowed a journalist to attend as an observer for the progressive magazine Mother Jones: The article that appeared… Read more »

Our trust is the LORD

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not… Read more »

Worshipping under one roof

Dear coworkers, It’s been a big week for Israel, with word that the United Arab Emirates will give full recognition to the Jewish state. It’s the first Arab nation to offer peace to Israel without territorial concessions, and more Arab leaders will follow, as Robert Nicholson concludes in his essay The Era of Arab-Israel Cooperation… Read more »

Make your requests known to God

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will… Read more »

More stringent than the Torah

Dear coworkers, The names jumped off the medical reports received this week for two emergency newborns from the Gaza Strip. These appeared to be clans well-known in Israel for past involvement in suicide bombings and abductions. How should we respond? This touches on one of the most distinctive teachings of Jesus: “You have heard that… Read more »

The peace of Messiah

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; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect… Read more »

Missing page between the testaments

I never paid much attention to the multiplying books and articles which claimed (or denied) links between the Essene community of the Dead Sea scrolls and the Jesus movement. I had an impression, gleaned largely via the media, that the Essenes were a strange, fanatical, isolated movement which could have little real impact on the… Read more »

The hope of Eden ahead

Dear friends, As we continue through Genesis in our morning meetings, an excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces has summarized a key plot theme of the book thus far: “The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing–to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from…Do you… Read more »

New hearts, new home

Dear coworkers, When I wrote you last Sunday newborn Zaed from Gaza was hours away from his life-saving heart surgery at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center. Tonight Margarita and Berith picked him up from the hospital–his pulmonary artery reconstructed, a shunt in place, and needing no medications other than aspirin: When he was rolled back in… Read more »

He who sees us

Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are God Who Sees”; for she said, “Have I not even here [in the wilderness] remained alive after seeing Him [who sees me with understanding and compassion]?” Genesis 16:13 Dear praying friends, This morning our coworker Amar opened our community Bible study… Read more »

Opening of the heavens

Dear friends, After I wrote you last Sunday I left for the airport for my scheduled flight to return to Israel. I entered the departures hall with some confidence, went to a kiosk, and just succeeded to type in my name and reservation number. Red lights on the kiosk started flashing and airline personnel were… Read more »

Love endures all things

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Dear friends,  I am writing to you after a hard week for Shevet Achim. Our main prayer request is that God will open up the way for our weary Kurdish families to return home. It continues to be difficult… Read more »

Not our wisdom but his

Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. Dear friends, I said farewell to my… Read more »

We do not face trouble alone

Dear friends, In “Letters to Malcolm” C.S. Lewis writes something that has been invaluable in my prayer life. The chapter is a recollection of one friend to another when they were walking in a forest: “You first taught me the great principle, ‘Begin where you are.’ I had thought one had to start by summoning… Read more »

Only the Spirit brings reconciliation

Dear friends, Thank you for praying and caring for the three babies in Gaza, who as I wrote in last Sunday’s letter were refused transportation to life-saving medical care by their own government, as a form of protest against Israel’s proposed annexation. By God’s grace our Gaza coordinating team of Yousef, Amar and Lindsay persevered… Read more »

Display his perfect patience

I thank him who has given me strength, Messiah Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith… Read more »

Many will be made righteous

Dear coworkers, This week we’re seeing one of those uniquely clarifying moments in the Middle East. Baby Omar from Gaza was much loved by the women of our community ever since he came to Israel as a newborn for emergency heart surgery in October: Omar’s second surgery was planned for last month, but was delayed… Read more »

Let there be light

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Then God said “Let there be light,” and there was light. Dear friends, We started the book of Genesis this morning in our… Read more »

In search of first-century Jerusalem

Dear friends, Last week our community somehow got free for a full day (thank you Amar, Lindsay and River for watching over the recovering children and their escorts in Jaffa), and we set out in search of first century Jerusalem: Yes, by God’s grace we were allowed by the Greek Orthodox caretaker to enter the… Read more »

Ready to listen

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint.Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Psalm 61:1-3 Dear friends, When I read this psalm immediately… Read more »

2019 is history!

Dear coworkers, I flew into the US Friday to join up with my wife Michelle and visit parents, children and grandchildren. On the last flight leg I sat across the aisle from a young black man, about 50% larger than me, twirling his dreadlocks. As we were waiting to deplane I put aside my reticence… Read more »

Meeting, Eating, Sharing

Dear friends, As we read through Acts this month it’s almost impossible to miss the theme of community. It seems like every time there’s a move of the Holy Spirit, you find believers naturally come together–meeting, eating and sharing everything they have. In fact, the whole operation of the early church depends on this. The… Read more »

The end is near

Dear friends, The end is near…but not yet. It feels like the world is exhaling a long breath of relief this weekend. Coronavirus infections haven’t spiked since Europe loosened lockdowns. And a month since the New York Times claimed the US government was privately projecting “The daily death toll will reach about 3,000 on June… Read more »

Friends of the bridegroom

The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease. Dear friends, The ministry of John the Baptist was decreasing, and that of Jesus was… Read more »

Faithful to the Torah

Dear friends, It was a beautiful and yet a painful Pentecost/Shavuot in the heart of Jerusalem this morning: As you’ll hear in the video above, the bells of the Russian Orthodox church were declaring the glory of God! But competing with them were jackhammers and traffic from the adjacent construction site. Yes–incredibly–the people of Israel… Read more »

Preparing for Pentecost

Dear friends, At the Jaffa base we’ve been studying Acts as Pentecost Sunday nears; the Greek word used to describe the Holy Spirit is worth examining. The word is parakletos, which in extra-biblical literature was used for a legal assistant, someone who pleads the cause of a defendant before a judge. (It’s something similar to… Read more »

Death is temporary. Love is eternal.

Dear coworkers, This morning I had to tell our partners at the Sheba Medical Center that baby Mahmoud has died back in Gaza. The Sheba team fought for his life from his arrival in Israel as a two-day-old at the end of January, until he was finally well enough to go home at the end… Read more »

Where our treasure is

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Messiah. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Messiah Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Messiah and… Read more »

A friend in time of trouble

Dear coworkers, One reason our community has survived these 25 years is the Father’s gift of a handful of experienced and faithful brothers who have stood by us as board members. I meet with one of them regularly for accountability, encouragement and prayer, and he has a list of pointed questions which he asks me… Read more »

Traitors whom he mended

Dear friends, On my laptop I have a piece of paper taped by the keyboard, with a quote from the Chronicles of Narnia: “But even a traitor may mend, I have known one that did.” These words were spoken in the third book by Edmund, speaking of himself–mended because the true king of Narnia went… Read more »

Love and truth meet together

Dear coworkers, Today we’ve completed four weeks out of the seven-week countdown from First Fruits/Resurrection to Pentecost/Shavuot. And it appears that our ultra-Orthodox neighbors in Jerusalem are much more excited about this “counting of the omer” than we are. Today they were out in the streets protesting the ban on gatherings on the 33rd day… Read more »

His love endures forever

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for His steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His steadfast love endures forever; To Him who alone does great wonders, for His steadfast love endures forever. Psalm… Read more »

In the presence of his brethren

Dear coworkers, The same old traffic jam was back on the way to our Jaffa base this morning. Schools and workplaces are reopening, and people are nearly free to move about now in Israel. There’s growing and irresistible pressure here (as is likely wherever this letter finds you as well) to get back to something… Read more »

Healing for the nations

It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this… Read more »

Missing page between the testaments

Dear coworkers, You’d think that after nearly two months of coronavirus lockdowns that we’d be running out of children coming to Israel for life-saving heart surgeries. A couple of hospitals that normally help care for Gaza children in truth have closed their doors due to the crisis; but surprisingly that means that our work is… Read more »

Your God reigns

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” The voice of your watchmen – they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see… Read more »

Before My Anointed Forever

Dear friends, As I sat to write to you tonight, doctors on the other side of town at the Hadassah Medical Center were anxiously awaiting the arrival of three-week-old Sham from Gaza. She was born with a blocked pulmonary valve which keeps blood from reaching her lungs, and was barely clinging to life in a… Read more »

Prayer update – By his spirit

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and… Read more »

A day honored by the Torah

  Dear friends, Our coworker Markus tonight sent us the time-lapse video above from our Jaffa community with the caption: Beautiful end of a beautiful Resurrection Sunday. It’s been a full week for our faithful Jaffa team of just 11 volunteers who have remained despite the coronavirus. With the discharge of Kurdish Adleen after her… Read more »

Looking toward Gethsemane

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit… For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give… Read more »

Resolute in our call

Dear coworkers, Lord hasten the day that “coronavirus” never again appears in our Sunday letter! But until that day it is drastically affecting us all. Two of the hospitals that perform heart surgeries on Gaza children (Wolfson in Holon and Makassed in East Jerusalem) have stopped accepting children all together. And today Georgia reports that… Read more »

This is our hour

Dear coworkers, Yousef and I had to explain our way past an Israeli police checkpoint in Jerusalem this morning. And Mohammed’s mother did the same to get past the Hamas checkpoint in the Gaza Strip. But thank God, we met just past noon at the nearly-abandoned Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza, and by 2… Read more »

His glory in our valleys

Dear friends, Today Ruth, Anna, Markus, and Colin organized a painting activity with the families. They sent pictures to our group chat and as I flipped through there was one that deeply moved me: it was Maryam’s mother holding a painting with the words, “if the god was with us who can be against us.”… Read more »