2015 was an intense year. There have been great geo-political shifts taking place yet at the same time, we have seen such wonderful breakthroughs and victories for the gospel! In human terms, the world is in turmoil, but when it comes to God’s Kingdom, the advances have been breathtaking. Revival has been sweeping through the Middle East in unprecedented ways, and it has been a great joy for us in ONE FOR ISRAEL to see God’s hand at work through our ministry and in our land. It would be hard to believe we would see all of this even just one year ago!
Brotherhood and reconciliation
2015 has been an incredible year for ONE FOR ISRAEL. We celebrated 25 years of Israel Bible of College – our campus at which Israeli believers of all backgrounds can come to study the word of God and train for ministry. More students than ever before graduated in the moving ceremony, newly qualified and ready to serve the Body of Messiah in Israel. The hall was packed with people from all kinds of backgrounds, and we sang in unity praise to our God in Hebrew, Arabic, and Russian!
We also successfully completed the first year of the Pastors’ MA programme, in which Jewish and Arab pastors from all over Israel came to study with us for their master’s degree, and became firm friends in the process. The second cohort of Jewish and Arab pastors have also embarked on their year of study, continuing the joyous journey started by the pioneering pastors the year before.
Unprecedented numbers coming to faith in the Middle East – both Jews and Arabs!
Our evangelistic websites and videos have been reaching millions across Israel, from every sector of society, and we estimate that more Jewish people heard the gospel in 2015 than at any other time since the first century! More Jewish people have come to faith in the last 19 years than in the previous 19 centuries put together. We have had the privilege of seeing many come to put their faith in Yeshua as their Lord and Messiah as they write in to us here at One For Israel; some with questions and objections, leading to correspondence going back and forth for months before they come to faith. Others simply write in to let us know that they have made the decision already! We then put them in touch with believers and congregations in their area, so that they can get rooted and established in their new faith. Congregations up and down the land are growing in numbers as more and more Israelis come to meet their Messiah.
And it’s not just Israel either – God has been bringing in a great harvest in the Arab nations all around too. David Garrison, who has been a missionary pioneer with the the Southern Baptist International Mission Board for nearly 30 years, told Christian Today that he started out with a “healthy scepticism” about the number of new believers in Muslim countries, suspecting that the figures might be have been exaggerated. However, his research showed that the large numbers were often vastly under-reported. It’s just remarkable the harvest that is coming in around the Middle East – Jews and Arabs alike!
The Word goes forth from Zion
Just as Isaiah prophesied, “Out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (2:3). We love this verse, and have it displayed on our walls as a reminder of our responsibility to faithfully teach the Bible both to those in Israel and abroad. So we have loved having believers from all over the world coming to enjoy the teaching of the word from a Messianic, Israeli perspective, whether they came to join us here in Israel for a year, or study from their own homes, with our online courses. We have also been thrilled to see how encouraging the English-speaking “I met Messiah” video testimonies have been to friends overseas. It’s been exciting to see some of these videos going viral! And although we hoped and dreamed that we would see 100,000 people joining us at ONE FOR ISRAEL on Facebook by the end of the year, we were absolutely overwhelmed to see that it has grown even beyond that! The Facebook ONE FOR ISRAEL community are a lovely bunch of people, and it’s been great to see people encouraging one another, helping one another out, and sharing the good news of what God is doing in Israel far and wide.
Then there was the extraordinary event of Israeli media giant, Walla, contacting us to do a series on Messianic Judaism for their website. Unfortunately, due to great pressure and threats from the Orthodox community, the video interviews and articles were taken down, but we were so encouraged that Yeshua and his Israeli followers have caught the attention of the mainline press in Israel! For at least one week, an article on Messianic Judaism was on the front page of the Walla website, with links to our evangelistic videos and articles for all to see.
Take courage, my friends
The whirlwind of significant events, both good and bad, seems to be accelerating a pace and increasing exponentially. We can’t know whether we are very close or a long way off Yeshua’s return, but we are certainly starting to see some of the events he told us to look out for: “Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near!” (Luke 21:28).
 www.ChristianToday.com, Lucinda Borkett Jones, ‘We are living in the midst of the greatest turning of Muslims to Christ in history’, 17th June 2015