Our flight from Istanbul, Turkey, to Simferopol, Ukraine was postponed, then canceled due to weather conditions in Ukraine. The airline company graciously paid for our dinner, hotel room, and shuttle. Lord-willing, we will be returning home tomorrow morning!
This evening, we found out that Pastor Bob's mother passed away today, so please be much in prayer for him. He was able to return to America last month to spend a week with her, and we are grateful for the time the Lord allowed them together in her last days.
I have a burden for the Jews and I want to share it here with you. I am a wife and a mother, but I am also a missionary's wife. Therefore, I cannot sit amongst any group of people and not wonder where they will spend eternity one day. It is simply ingrained in me that people are dying without Christ and will go to hell if they do not accept Christ's payment for their sins. And, I know that it is my responsibility to share God's simple plan of salvation with those in need.
I am leaving Israel with a heavy burden. I realized this last week just how desperately Jews need Jesus, but how difficult it is for them to accept Him. Two years ago, some Jews that we witnessed to told us that they could not accept Jesus because, "We are Jews." Those words have haunted me for two years. Jesus was a Jew, yet the Jews cannot accept Him. They believe that Jesus was a prophet and they are still waiting for their Savior, for their Messiah. Their Messiah has already come, yet they are still waiting. Thousands of years and still waiting. Waiting.
This recent trip to Israel showed me something else about the Jews' desperate need for Jesus - something I had not clearly seen before. Two of our Jewish friends had been given a New Testament in English. They had tried to read it, and even though their English is good, they could not understand it. They wanted the New Testament in their own language for clarity. We went to bookstores and asked for the New Testament in Hebrew. Nothing. How about any information about Jesus and the explanation of the places He lived and ministered? Nothing.
Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. The store clerk replied, "I'm sorry, but our people do not like Jesus." We finally found the Hebrew New Testament in a tourist book shop and bought it, even though it cost $23. In a normal Christian bookstore, a New Testament of its quality would have cost no more than $5. But, we needed it... desperately.
It was then that I came to understand that the Jews do not reject Jesus because they do not believe in Him. They reject Jesus because they know nothing about Him! They are told that He was a false prophet who claimed He was the Messiah, and they hear nothing more about Him. Even though we in America do not believe in Mohammad, Buddha, Allah, etc..., we can walk into any bookstore and find a wealth of information about these false prophets. We have the freedom to read about these prophets and make our own decision whether or not to believe in them. The Jews do not have this luxury. They do not get to make this choice for themselves.
It is prohibited by law to pass out religious literature to anyone under 18 in Israel. Well, there goes the bus ministry. And, you will never hear "Jesus Loves Me" sung openly. How will the Jewish children ever know what Jesus did for them on the cross? And what about the people who live on the land where He once taught and ministered? Well, I met some of these people and I can tell you. They live, work, rear families, and never even know what happened 2,000 years ago, in the very place where their feet walk . They have no comprehension of why tourists come to see their land. No understanding of these "ancient ruins."
The Jews love God. They respect God's Word and many keep its laws nearly to the letter.... at least right up to the book of Malachi. But, that is where it ends. Nearly every Jew has portions of the Old Testament Scriptures prominently displayed on their doorposts, and they faithfully show their reverence when they walk through their doorways. But, it is all just a ritual. They love God, but they do not know His Son. They do not understand salvation and the way to Heaven. No one has ever told them.
Would God have you to go to Israel to be a light in terrible darkness? Who will share the redemptive story to God's chosen people? Maybe my words will burn deeply in someone's hearts and help them to see the need of Israel. Maybe a missions teacher can share these words with his missions class. Israel needs the Gospel. I only wish I had another lifetime to live to serve there as well as where I already serve. Time is short. Please answer the plea of a missionary's wife and take the light of God's Son to this place of utter darkness!
Was someone saved while we were in Israel? Yes! Yes! Yes! We had the joyous opportunity of seeing a Jewish woman bow her head and call out to Jesus to be her Messiah! But, I do not have the freedom of sharing her name or her picture with you. One of the greatest thrills of my life has to remain a secret in my heart. I cannot share details because these people do not have religious freedom. Thank God for your religious freedoms, the handful of whole Bibles laying in your home, and beg Him to send someone... even YOU... to teach of His Son to His chosen people! Will you go?