So what is happening these days in Jerusalem?
The churches in the Holy Land had a rough year in 2007, but as the word of God says in 1 Peter 4, we should not be surprised! Satan has been busy in his attacks, yet as Jesus promised even the gates of Hades will not overpower God's kingdom.
First, this year has been a year of persecution, not only against our church but against other Christian groups as well. In Jerusalem, a group of extremist Jews attacked and burned a local Baptist church for reaching out to Jewish citizens. Our group has received similar threats in the past, and our hearts go out to the Baptist fellowship. Meanwhile in Bethlehem, many local churches are being investigated by the Palestinian Authority because of their political agendas. This has resulted in a legal struggle between many churches and the Palestinian government. As a result of the investigations, we have lost a large part of the freedom we enjoyed in reaching out to the community in Bethlehem. Please pray that we can continue to exercise freedom in reaching out to the Arab community here.
This year has been a year of changes within the church as well. After much prayer and advice, last July I decided to stop working full-time for the church, and take on part-time pay instead. With the extra money, we were able to bring two interns to help out with the church here: Brad Procek of DeKalb, Illinois and Cirron Greenidge of NYC. We are very excited to have them here, and we are extremely grateful for the churches in NYC, Memphis, DeKalb, and Central Jersey, who are funding their stay in Israel!
The interns are working hard and helping encourage the church. We now have two bible talks every week at Hebrew University, a bible talk in Bethlehem, and a bible talk in Jerusalem. In addition, the interns are volunteering with impoverished youth in Bethlehem. Please pray for their ministry here, as they work to help the church!
As for me and Marie, we are working to develop our tourism business. This is the forth year of operation for the company, "Missions Worldwide." We have had 3 summer mission groups in the last 3 years, and many tours in between! It has been great giving tours to disciples and spending time with Christians from all over the world.
For this summer's trip, we are happy to announce that we are partnering with Dr. Douglas Jacoby, who will be leading a life experience tour through Egypt, Israel and Jordan this summer. You can register at http://douglasjacoby.com/articles/5628 . Also, we have updated the tourism website, so if you are interested in visiting the Holy Land, Egypt or Jordan, stop by our website at http://www.missionsworldwide.org/!
Finally, we would like to recommend to you our sister Shibolit, who is a member of the Jerusalem Church and a convert from Judaism. She is a Hebrew teacher at Hebrew University, and would love to teach Hebrew in a church that would sponsor her for the summer. I personally recommend her as a great teacher. Shibolit has a degree in Jewish Thought from Hebrew University, and a degree in teaching. If your church is interested you can contact her at mailto:shibolit%40gmail.com or email me at mailto:azizsarah%40gmail.com.
Note about Financial Support: We are still fundraising for the internship, and we are also fundraising for a church van. If you are interested in supporting one of these efforts, you can find donation information at http://www.jerusalemchurchofchrist.org/jcontact.html .
Thank you for all your prayers and support; we ask for your continuing prayers for the church as we enter the new year! We wish you the best, and thank you for your friendship and interest in the churches here!
In Him, Aziz Sarah, Minister, Jerusalem Church of Christ 972-54-747-2355 http://www.jerusalemchurchofchrist.org/