NEWS FROM ISRAEL
October 24 2002
Yesterday was completed the last stage but one of the translation process for Volume Two of the Childrens Bible in Hebrew. The texts of Joshua, Judges and I Samuel are now complete. II Samuel and I & II Kings have been translated and edited. I Samuel is in the hands of the control groups, with I Kings to be sent soon. Close on its heels will be II Kings. Work on layout is to begin soon and the intended publication date is somewhere in late 2002 or early 2003.
In addition, we have completed the first drafts of Psalms, Hosea, Joel, Amos and Micah, with work commenced on Isaiah.
Arnold Fruchtenbaums JESUS WAS A JEW has been re-edited, dressed with an attractive new cover and reprinted (2000 copies). Stuart Olyotts THE THREE ARE ONE has undergone a similar process (2000 copies). Our next publication, due by the end of October, is Baruch Maozs LIFE IN THE SPIRIT (a study of the fruit and work of the Spirit in the life of believers).
Arthur Pinks THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD has been translated and is now in the hands of the printer. We intend to print 2000 of this excellent book and expect to have in on hand by mid-November. PRAYING ALWAYS by Frans Bekker and John Bunyans PRAYER have been translated and are scheduled for editing, as is Baruchs BETWEEN TWO MOUNTAINS (on the Ten Commandments and the Lords Prayer).
Next in line will be Baruchs expository sermons on the books of Hosea and Joel, and his series of sermons on the role and importance of scripture.
SABBATH SCHOOL MATERIAL
Our colour printer went the way of all printers. It had served us well for well over 80,000 pages and required a major overhaul. It was deemed a better investment to purchase a new printer, in spite of the considerable cost. Interest in the instructional material has grown. One of Israels larger churches, which long resisted using our material, has now purchased a years supply. Other congregations have renewed their subscription and some smaller churches have begun using the material. Our longing is that God would be pleased to use this curriculum to equip teachers for spiritual service, and to lead many of the young ones to Christ.
PREACHING AND TEACHING
Sabbath School is devoted to a series based on John Bunyans THE FEAR OF GOD, which we intend ultimately to publish as a book. Preaching alternates between an expository series on the Minor Prophets and consecutive chapters of our Confession of Faith. Baruch preaches on the Confession every 5-6 years. Responses have been most encouraging: congregants have professed conversion and shown evidences of spiritual growth. While there is always a flux on the periphery of the church, the core group continues to expand.
The services in Ashkelon have more or less settled on about 50 individuals, with guests from time to time. Most of the congregants in that part of the country are elderly, although we have seen a small increase of the young and middle-aged. Sasha and Baruch do most of the preaching there, with five others of the congregation sharing in the pulpit ministry from time to time. Some of these also preach in Rishon LeTsion.
THE GRACE AND TRUTH MAGAZINE
In cooperation with the Gereformeerde Gemeenten in the Netherlands, we have commenced a quarterly magazine in Russian. We published 3000 of the first issue and, in response to demand, 5,500 of the second. We expect to publish 1,000 or so more of the third edition, due soon.
This magazine has as its goal the promotion of biblical and reformed Christianity among Russian speaking congregations in Israel and abroad, the promotion of Jewish evangelism and the negation of anti-Semitism in Russian speaking churches. It is distributed free of charge. We are encouraged by responses. Readers have sent unsolicited contributions, many have written exciting letters of appreciation. Please pray with us for this promising ministry.
For lack of funds, we have had to stall the project. The economic and political situation has led to the collapse of many firms and to rising costs in building. We are so crowded that the pre-baptismal classes are now held in the parking lot, in one of the larger vehicles. The need for a suitable building is ever more pressing. Our friends in The Netherlands, the Isaac da Costa Fund, have laboured strenuously on our behalf, but have been unable to raise the funds necessary to continue. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear our defense of the building permit on January 29th, 2003. The more we are able to build until then, the less likely it is that the court will rule against us.
IN DEFENCE OF CONGREGANTS
As many friends will know, the employment of Zeev Bern, one of our congregants, was terminated due to his professed faith in Jesus. We are contesting this in court. A date for the first hearing has not yet been set, but your prayers are eagerly sought. Owing to the economic situation, Zeev has not yet found alternative employment and the church is supporting his family until such is found.
FELLOWSHIP ACROSS DIVIDES
Baruch has been asked to teach a series on church structure and function.
This invitation has come from a new Arab congregation in Galilee.
Following discussion, the Elders have allowed Baruch to travel up to the Galilee once every six weeks in order to teach this series. We are delighted with the opportunity to minister to and fellowship with Arab brethren.
Baruch has also been asked to teach a series on How to Preach and to Listen to Sermons at the (Pentecostal) Israel College of the Bible. Having received the permission of his Elders, Baruch accepted and is preparing to teach this series in the spring on 2003. This, too, is an opportunity to reach across a substantial divide. As such it is very welcome.
Avital is now the happy mother of a second daughter, Maya. Living nearby, grandmother and grandfather are delighted with the duties now incumbent upon them! We were glad to be informed a few days ago that 3 year old Noam
- the oldest of our grandchildren - has discovered the true use of the potty. No sign of a spiritual work in the hearts of Avital and Eran is yet evident, but we continue to long and to pray.
Shlomit achieved her BA in education and is now working and studying for her MA in Special education in the University of Tennessee. She has been away from home for almost three years, and we miss her greatly.
Tamar is now in Quebec, learning French in Laval University. She is being kindly hosted by friends, Professor Raymond Perron and family. It is very difficult for her to be away from home for so long, but she seems to be doing well spiritually and to progress in her studies.
Baruch and Bracha are both well. Bracha seems to be suffering from slight signs of Osteoporosis, but is dealing with this as best she can. Baruchs health has deteriorated somewhat, so that a wheelchair was bought, but he is able to continue to maintain a busy schedule.
We thank you for your prayers, yours in Christ by Grace.