Special Reports

Looking Back & Looking Forward

“‘Up, up! Flee from the land of the north,’ says the Lord; ‘for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven,’ says the Lord.” (Zechariah 2:6)

ICEJ’s Aliyah Director Howard Flower shared this verse with ICEJ Homecare and said, “The Aliyah from the North began to increase some 10 years ago. It has continued to increase and now it’s most active. The winds of Aliyah from the East, South and West have grown calm for now.  But the Aliyah from the North is what God is doing today.”

Homecare is privileged to have ongoing contact with many of these immigrants from the North, and throughout 2019 it brought both blessings and challenges in our work.  

One challenge was witnessing the suffering of one dear lady each week. In the Former Soviet Union, she was involved in scientific research, but in her senior years she was bedbound and very lonely.  She often said to ICEJ Homecare nurse Corrie Van Maanen, “My week goes from Wednesday to Wednesday because then you are coming.” Just after she turned 90, she passed away.

A blessing we were able to participate in was the Bar Mitzvah of the grandson of a lady who has enjoyed the help of Homecare for many years. “The fact that I was invited was very special, because the lady’s son and grandchildren have embraced the ultra-orthodox lifestyle,” explained Corrie. The ultra-orthodox is a sector of Judaism not usually accepting of Christians. However, this family welcomed Corrie with love to their family gathering because of the relationships built over the years.

Throughout 2019, there were answers to prayer from the God of Israel who does the impossible. The voice of a single mother, living in an impoverished area of Tel Aviv whom Homecare is helping monthly, was filled with disappointment and despair. She works hard but cannot make ends meet and had been eagerly waiting for a ‘subsidized living’ apartment. She was told there would be further delays. “When she stopped talking,” said Corrie, “I simply said that we will pray. Two weeks later, she excitedly said that it wasn’t possible, but God had done it. She has a new ‘subsidized living’ apartment!”

Thanks to your faithful giving and prayers, Homecare had a great year in 2019 and we look forward to this new year of 2020 to continue caring for those who have made Israel their home!

To donate to this important and heartfelt work, visit: int.icej.org/homecare

The Tabernacle of Meeting

Happy New Year! Beginning each year with a renewed commitment to prayer is a pattern laid out by the Lord in Exodus 40. As the chapter opens, the Lord commands Moses to set up the Tabernacle of meeting on the first day of the first month, as a place of prayer and communion with God. The tent was to be a place of ministry, where the High Priest and Levites would perform the required sacrifices and stand in the gap for the People of Israel. 

Here at the ICEJ we hold prayer in a very high regard. Through prayer, God’s people rise up to be His instrument to shift nations, cities, and our personal lives. Over the past six months we have seen the Lord use prayer at the ICEJ to cause shifts in nations at the highest level. 

During a time of prayer, the Lord gave ICEJ leadership Psalm 2:8 as an invitation, “Ask of Me, and I will give you nations as your inheritance.” Soon after, the doors opened for a meeting with the royal family of Serbia, to share with them the Father’s heart for Israel. Months later the Lord positioned ICEJ to bring a delegation of Egyptian believers to Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles. In response, God released a deluge of rain over Egypt filling the once-low aquifers.

Lastly, during the Feast the Lord released His word through our leadership, proclaiming a shift was coming for the nation of Bolivia. Returning home, the Bolivians witnessed the Lord uproot their president and establish new leadership who boldly declared, “The Bible is very important to us. Our strength is God.” 

Prayer is the engine that empowers the ICEJ to accomplish all the Lord has called us to do. As 2020 begins, will you commit to partner with us in prayer? More than 5,000 people from 120 countries have already committed to join our monthly Isaiah 62 prayer initiative and almost 650 committed intercessors have joined the ICEJ PrayerWave Initiative. Come and be a part of what the Lord will do in 2020.

New ICEJ Branch Opened in Ukraine

After one year of preparation, we were thrilled to officially open a branch of the ICEJ in Ukraine. Although Ukraine continues to grapple with the legacy of its Communist and Fascist past and is torn by war in the east, the more than 3.5 million Evangelical believers in the country offer great potential for future growth and support for Israel. The main task of this new branch will be to educate the church about Israel and the connection between the Jewish people and the nations. 

Branch leadership will continue the work which Ukrainian Christians started more than ten years ago. Repentance meetings for antisemitism were held in different cities where Jews had been persecuted, and in Kiev, the capital city, a National Day of Prayer for the peace of Jerusalem was held for several years, with up to 1,000 people from different denominations coming together. It has been resolved that the new branch will renew the prayer initiative under the banner of the ICEJ.

From the beginning, the Kiev Jewish Messianic Community has been a key player in all these activities, and the Community’s leader, Pastor Boris Grisenko, joined the Board of ICEJ-Ukraine, together with representatives of other large Evangelical denominations. At the branch opening, Pastor Grisenko spoke on the subject of “Israel and the Church”, together with Vitaliy Kozubovskiy, senior pastor of the largest Baptist church, and Mojmir Kallus, ICEJ VP for International Affairs. 

Please pray for ICEJ-Ukraine's National Director Valeriy Alymov and his team. The fields in Ukraine are ready for harvest, so may the Lord send the laborers.

ICEJ in Tanzania & Finland

New Favor for Israel in Tanzania

On a two-week speaking tour in East Africa, ICEJ Vice President David Parsons was received by the President of Tanzania, the honorable John Pombe Magufuli, in his hometown of Chato, on Lake Victoria.

Parsons thanked President Magufuli for restoring his nation’s relations with Israel and for voting with Israel more at the United Nations. He also directed the President’s attention to Isaiah 60:10 and encouraged him to show additional favor to Israel by moving Tanzania’s new embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, adding that the Lord was promising “ten years of the fatted calf” if he would do so.

President Magufuli thanked Rev. Parsons for his visit to his country and hometown, gave a personal offering for Israel to the ICEJ, and asked Parsons to pray for his elderly mother Susanna (pictured in wheelchair).
 

ICEJ-Finland blesses Israel once again

Throughout the years, ICEJ-Finland has played a key role in ICEJ’s Aliyah efforts, and at ICEJ’s recent conference, in Oulu, Northern Finland, this country blessed Israel in a new way: Through music!

At this conference near the Arctic Circle, co-producers Pekka Simojokki and Vesna Bühler launched “Nordic Praise”, their latest Hebrew worship CD, as a special gift from ICEJ-Finland to bless believers in Israel.

Pekka, one of Finland’s most popular worship leaders, has been writing, composing and producing Gospel songs for over 30 years. “Nordic Praise” was originally translated and produced in many languages including English, Arabic, Persian, and Russian, but his dream was to finally produce it in Hebrew to bless believers in Israel.

Led by ICEJ-Finland and National Director, Jani Salokangas, Finnish believers supported this vision, praying for years and raising financial support for the Hebrew production.

This new CD will soon be available through ICEJstore.com

Regional Conference in Albania & Earthquake in Albania

Regional Conference in Europe: Uniting the East and the West

Last November, ICEJ Albania and Director Gentjan Dervishaj hosted ICEJ’s regional conference in Tirana, Albania, which brought together representatives from fifteen European nations. The location was selected to highlight an important chapter of Albania’s history; a chapter which is also significant for the Jewish people.

It all started with King Zogu I, the sovereign leader over Albania during the time of the Holocaust, who decided to grant passports to Jews from neighboring countries. He opened the borders of Albania to all Jewish refugees allowing them to flee the persecutions of Nazi Germany. Even with the invasion of the Nazis in Albania, the local, mostly Muslim population, hid the Jews in their homes and refused to turn them in. There were about 200 Jews in Albania at the outbreak of World War II but more than 2,000 when it ended. Today, many Albanians are recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations” not only by the Jewish people but also by God, who will most certainly release a special blessing over a country which did not hesitate to protect and save His people.

A day before the conference, we were invited for a private audience by the Crowne Prince of Albania, Leka II, who is none other than King Zogu’s grandson! As a Christian, Prince Leka would like to strengthen the moral fabric of this young society and is open to cooperate with the ICEJ in the field of education.

On the eve of the regional conference, we had the pleasure of welcoming the ambassadors of the EU, France, Hungary, Serbia and Sweden. Pastors from all around the country also attended the event, hence confirming the unity of the Church in Albania. Fifteen countries were represented at the conference: Albania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and Israel.

The purpose of the conference was to build strong collaboration between the European countries of the East and West. For three days, our ICEJ leaders gathered together for fellowship, to share experiences and challenges, and to pray. Many ideas were discussed and new media platforms were introduced in order to build a network of strong and healthy branches. We believe effective communication and simple coordination will produce much fruit. All the leaders went back home after an inspiring weekend, encouraged and expectant to see God move in Europe.

Albania was hit November 26th, 2019 with a 6.4 magnitude earthquake. ICEJ Albania Director Gentjan Dervishaj called on Christians around the world to lift up his nation in prayer: "We ask that all of the ICEJ friends around the world will pray for the nation and the people of Albania as well as for the government".

ICEJ Events in Germany

“We Won!” - ICEJ celebrates Israel Day
By: Birte Scholz

In the 1940’s the German town of Bad Gandersheim housed Adolf Hitler’s special training center for his S.S. officers and troops. This past November, on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, around 800 people gathered in that same building to celebrate Israel Day with the ICEJ. 

In this building, which is now the “Glaubenszentrum” Bible school, ICEJ-Germany director Gottfried Bühler, welcomed attendees: “In the past, the Nazis were at this site, but today people from Israel sit here. God has won, Israel has won and by being present here today, you are making a stand for solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people!” 

Calev Myers, renowned Israeli lawyer and founder of the Israeli organization ARISE (Alliance to Reinforce Israel’s Security & Economy), reminded the audience that the God of Israel was still doing miracles today: In the Israeli economy, for security challenges, and on an ecological level. He shared about innovative Israeli technologies, which have become a blessing all over the world and discussed dangers of the BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), which harm the Palestinians, putting their well-paid jobs in Israeli companies in the West Bank in jeopardy. 

The significance of this event was highlighted when Dariel Myers, Calev’s daughter, closed the meeting with an emotional rendition of Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem. Myers explained: “As the grandson of a German Jewish family who survived the Holocaust, it is very moving for me to speak, and my daughter to sing, in this place once intended for such evil purposes. Our presence here today tells me that ‘We Won!’ Am Israel Chai (the people of Israel live)!”


Stuttgart: Israel’s friends rally for Jewish life in Germany
By: Ester Heinzmann

Amid growing antisemitism in Germany, ICEJ-Germany called Christians to the streets of Stuttgart to publicly demonstrate support for the Jews in Germany as well as for the State of Israel. In response, more than 600 friends of Israel gathered on the central square in Stuttgart, Southern Germany.

Gottfried Bühler, National Director of ICEJ-Germany, announced in his opening speech that a clear pro-Israel policy of the German Federal Government and good reporting by the German media “would deprive antisemitism of its breeding ground.” Addressing the members of the Jewish community present, he said: “You can count on us! We love you, that’s why we are here!”

ICEJ Aliyah Seminars Helping Fulfil Prophecy

Since its founding in 1980, the ICEJ has assisted more than 150,000 Jews to make the journey home to Israel. However, there are Jewish communities in many countries with limited access to information on the process of Aliyah. There are as many as one million Jewish people in Central Asia and Russian Far East alone, with most of them having little or no connection to a wider Jewish community.

From the North
For this reason, the ICEJ is hosting Aliyah Seminars, in cooperation with OFEK, as“fishing trips” to try and meet these scattered remnants and bring them home to Israel. One such seminar is scheduled for early 2020 in the city of Alma Ata (Apple Mountain) in Kazakhstan.

In the meantime, we continue building our relationship with Bilana Shakhar, the Jewish Agency director for the Former Soviet Union (FSU.) According to Shakhar, nearly 7,000 Jewish people will make Aliyah to Israel in 2019, from the greater Moscow metropolitan area alone. This number represents nearly half of all Olim (immigrants) to Israel from Russia and is greater than the number that will immigrate from all of Western Europe or the Americas.

From the West
Another major focus of ICEJ’s Aliyah outreach is in Germany. Some might be surprised to learn that Germany has a very large Jewish population, including several thousand Jewish people who moved there from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s.

However, in recent years, these rebuilt communities have been hit by a wave of renewed antisemitism, including a shocking attack on a synagogue in the city of Halle during Yom Kippur services just a few months ago. This attack followed years of increasingly frightening harassment of Jewish people in Germany and has left many German Jews looking at the possibility of leaving the country for good.

“Slowly, one considers whether there might not also be other places on our planet where we Jews could live better,” Max Privorozki, the chairman of the Halle Jewish community who was in the synagogue which was attacked on 7 October, 2018, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. “We are observing with unease that antisemitism is becoming increasingly blatant in Germany at great speed. It is no longer embarrassing to openly present oneself as an antisemite.”

ICEJ is looking for ways to assist Jewish people like Max Privorozki fulfill their goal of making Aliyah. In cooperation with OFEK, ICEJ will conduct informational seminars in Germany in the coming months, starting with the city of Dusseldorf. As ICEJ Aliyah Director Howard Flower explained, “This new initiative is the next step our ‘Aliyah from the West’ program.”

Partner with us today in this powerful work of Aliyah to Israel!

ICEJ Leaders Attend OFEK Event on ‘Aliyah Day’

In November, ICEJ vice presidents Barry Denison and Nicole Yoder were special guests at a gala dinner in Akko hosted by Israel’s relatively new OFEK Aliyah agency held to mark “Aliyah Day”.

The event was hosted by OFEK, a not-for-profit NGO set up by the Israeli government to work alongside the Jewish Agency to promote and facilitate Aliyah. It receives most of its funding from the Israeli government and is now the primary organisation assisting Jewish people from most regions around the world to make Aliyah (immigrate) to Israel. 

The ICEJ first began working with OFEK three years ago, just after its formation in 2016 as a response to the Ukraine crisis and then went on to help with the wave of French Aliyah, explained ICEJ Aliyah Director Howard Flower. “In Russia we have been working with OFEK Israel for three years on the ground and in Belarus two years”. 

“On Aliyah Day we honour the immigrants to Israel through the generations – the people who left everything and immigrated to Israel,” Minister of Immigration and Absorption Yoav Galant told the gathering. “The bravery, determination and unique contribution of each one is felt very well in all aspects of life in the country... that every Jew around the world should see his home and his future in the State of Israel, even if his current place of residence is different.” 

According to Howard Flower, “Last summer Barry Denison met the OFEK director at one of our Aliyah seminars in Finland, and he was moved to tears by our work. We called that one seminar ‘Aliyah super weekend’ because in addition to the normal Aliyah workshops, we also brought a group of Jewish Olim through Finland to Israel.” 

Denison also spoke at the event and shared about the ICEJ’s many Aliyah efforts over the past 40 years as well as our biblical and humanitarian motives for engaging in this work. “As a Christian, it is always a privilege to speak and be a voice representing the global church to the Jewish people at their own event.” 

As OFEK continues to take over many of the Jewish Agency’s activities, ICEJ will continue to develop this key partnership here in the land of Israel.
 

Partner with us today in this powerful work of Aliyah to Israel!

Why Christians Celebrate the Feast - FOT 2020

The presence of believers from around the world in Jerusalem at Sukkot is a great prophetic sign of the times in which we live. It is a powerful foreshadowing of even more glorious days ahead.

In 1979, as Merv and Merla Watson planned the first Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem, they were uncertain about exactly how Gentiles should celebrate this biblical feast, so they asked the advice of a senior rabbi in Israel. After receiving his practical guidance, they were just about to leave when the rabbi called them back. 

“Mr and Mrs Watson”, he said. “That you, as Gentiles, came here to ask me how to celebrate Sukkot is quite unusual. Our prophets declare that in the Messianic times, all Gentiles will come to Jerusalem to celebrate this feast with us. When you asked me today how to celebrate Sukkot, I am hearing the footsteps of Messiah, that he is coming.” 

And this is what the Feast of Tabernacles is all about. The ICEJ has been privileged to organise this incredibly unique event for 40 years now. And it is indeed not just another Christian conference, but a prophetic declaration to Israel and the Church that Messiah is coming soon. In the end, it is all about Jesus. It is not about us, nor even about Israel, but about the returning King. 

And so, this Feast of Tabernacles 2020, ICEJ “Prepares the Way” for the return of Jesus, the King above all kings, to His city: Jerusalem.

 

PREPARE THE WAY - Feast of Tabernacles 2020

“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” says your God… The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:1,3

For 2000 years, the stones of antisemitism blocked the path between Jews and Christians. How do we overcome that? 

Forty years ago, Christians from 32 nations gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles just as the last national embassies were abandoning the city. In response, these Christians stepped out and offered a hand of friendship and solidarity to Israel and the Jewish people. From this pivotal moment, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem was born. 

Today, we continue to follow the path of those Christians who have gone before us. Isaiah spoke of a ministry of comfort and a prophetic work to prepare a highway for the Lord – a work of removing the stones and obstacles which have, in the past, separated Jews and Christians. 

The prophet Isaiah also foretold of a day when a highway would connect Egypt and Assyria with Israel – and become a blessing in the midst of the earth. Today, we see believers from these nations coming together; pages of the Bible coming to life before our very eyes. The ancient division between Arab and Jew is being reconciled. 

“Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” - Isaiah 40:4-5 

At the Feast of Tabernacles 2020, the ICEJ will be marking 40 years of comforting and blessing Israel and working toward reconciliation between the Jewish people and the Gentile nations, especially in the Arab world. 

We invite you to come up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles with us. Come clear the path; remove every hindrance between you and an encounter with the God of Israel.


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A Powerful Testimony From Feast 2019: Linda Francisco

During the Feast of Tabernacles 2019, we were honoured to meet Linda Francisco from the Philippines. Linda connected with the ICEJ in 1993, which was a miracle because no one told her about the ICEJ and she didn’t know anything about God’s heart for Israel. She put it simply, “The Lord just put it in my heart to come to Israel.”

After several years of traveling to Jerusalem for the ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles, Linda realized her own people longed to celebrate the Feast, yet they could not afford to travel to Israel. Therefore, God put it on her heart to make a “taste” of the Feast of Tabernacles in her city of Cebu, Philippines. She enjoyed helping her people celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles and recounted many miracles as the whole event came together. After a couple years of these “Tastes” in the Philippines Linda said, “I knew it wasn’t the same, because the Feast should be celebrated in Jerusalem!” 

In response, Linda decided to bring 22 of her family members with her up to Jerusalem for ICEJ’s Feast of Tabernacles! It was beautiful for her to see the generations of her family praying together for Israel, including her eight-year-old grandchild. Linda went from not knowing anything about God’s heart for Israel to becoming a powerful advocate for Israel in the Philippines, and to her own family. She was overjoyed to see her heart’s desire come true with most of her family celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles together in God’s city of Jerusalem. 

Linda’s faithfulness to stand with Israel has been rewarded in amazing ways. One extraordinary miracle Linda shared was in March 2019 she was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer, but as she sat with us in the Pais Arena she testified, “In May, God healed me! I am completely healed!” After overcoming cancer and the recent loss of her husband of 23 years, Linda still knows she has a deep calling from the Lord to share the biblical view of Israel and the Jewish people. Linda explained, “Just before I came here to Israel, when I was worshipping, God told me that the standard needs to be raised. We need to be connected to Israel. I would like to continue to be an advocate for Israel and sharing this importance.” 

We praise God for how He has moved in Linda’s life and the many lives that He impacted at the Feast of Tabernacles!