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August 2014

Not the Summer of Fun


My eyes are worn out from weeping; my stomach is in knots.
My heart is poured out on the ground due to the destruction of my helpless people;

children and infants faint in the town squares.
Children say to their mothers, “Where are food and drink?”
They faint like a wounded warrior in the city squares.
They die slowly in their mothers’ arms.
                                                                      Lam 2:11-12

This has not been a summer of fun for many around the world.  Even though most entered this summer’s break as a time of vacation, the citizens of the world were constantly reminded of the suffering of others by a seemingly constant barrage of bad news on the internet. 

Here in Israel, the kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli teenagers, followed by the continuing war with Hamas in Gaza has replaced summer entertainment with summer mourning for many.  In Gaza, nearly 2,000 have died and many more injured, as well as thousands of homes and properties decimated; 67 Israelis, mostly soldiers, have fallen during the month long operation against the Hamas rocket launchers and tunnel attacks.  Currently in Cairo, there are attempts at negotiations, but so far nothing too hopeful.  Even more, relations between Israel and the United States' White House and State Department are at a low point recently. 

Many tourists from Holland and other countries were looking to enjoy a summer holiday or conference, but their plans of mirth were cut short by a surface-to-air missile over eastern Ukrainian airspace.  All 298 aboard flight MH17 died and political tensions between Russia and the West have increased as a result.

A nightmare plague, Ebola, has struck West Africa.  More than 1,000 have died, but it is feared without an immediate, massive response from the world community, this frightening virus may leave a staggering death count.  On a positive note, Christians have been on the frontline battling this epidemic, even sacrificing their lives.

And finally, the plight of innocents in northern Iraq and Syria has become headline news with the genocidal intentions of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), an extremist Sunni jihadist group which has sought to kill or convert all in its path.  Horrific videos and images of their wicked work proliferate on the internet.  Recently, the massacre of Christians and Yazidis has been widely reported in the press.  This past week American jets struck at ISIS forces that had surrounded 30,000 to 50,000 Yazidis who were dying of thirst hedged in on a mountain.

Every year during the summer on Tisha B’Av, the Jewish people remember the destructions of their temple, first by the Babylonians (586 B.C.) and last by the Romans (70 A.D.).  For religious Jews, it is a time of fasting and remembrance; all pleasurable activity is forbidden. Fittingly, the book of Lamentations is read in the synagogue.  As we reflect on our world today, as summer has reached its summit in 2014, may our prayers be honest, earnest, and specific.  As followers of Jesus, we are salt in this world.  Let us not neglect our spiritual duty (Rom 12:1-5).

Charity Report:Your Gifts Helped these Individuals, Families, and Ministries during June, July, and August 2014

JCF gave $1000 to the Christian Lighthouse School in Gaza as they seek to support the children devastated by the war.

JCF contributed $500 to the family of Moshe Malko, an Ethiopian Israeli soldier who was killed in Gaza.  $1500 has also been bequeathed to the children’s camp scholarship fund of Beit El, a Messianic Jewish Ethiopian Congregation in Jerusalem.  For more on a visit to Moshe’s family, see the article "A House of Mourning" below.

JCF has given $1000 to Orr Shalom, an Israeli organization that helps children at-risk through therapeutic programs.  In September, they will begin counseling kids traumatized by the daily barrage of rocket fire.

JCF is aiding the work of the Nazarenes in the Middle East who are helping Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Jordan by buying clothes, socks, and toiletries which will be distributed in the coming month ($1000).

Others JCF aided:

Ruth, an Ethiopian Israeli, immigrated to Israel by herself when she was 12. She has no family and no support and has had financial problems ($265).

Children’s ministry of Beit El, a Messianic Jewish Ethiopian Congregation in Jerusalem ($110). 

Cyrus is an elderly Ethiopian Israeli, who has dialysis twice a week. He has gone blind and has a hard time managing at home by himself. He burns his hands when he tries to cook for himself. The congregation is trying to find someone who can go to his house and cook for him regularly ($294).

Greg, an Ethiopian Israeli, suffers from epilepsy and cannot work more than three hours a day ($194).                

Jill, an Arab Christian living in Bethlehem, needs help covering her elderly father’s medical expenses ($200).

Elliot and his wife immigrated to Israel in 2003. His wife is disabled and their only income is national welfare. They need to move to an apartment that is accessible for the handicapped. JCF helped with moving expenses ($300).

Zoe and Zed are an Israeli couple with three girls, ages 8, 5, and 9 months. The father works as a manual laborer in the hospital. In the past he was in jail for different periods, but today is trying to rehabilitate and find stable work. His wife works as a salesperson in a clothing store. They rent without any help from the government. Their eldest daughter had head surgery recently and temporarily received disability allowance. The mother has gone back to work after her maternity leave. JCF helped their girls go to summer camp ($301).

Andrea is a 29 year old single mother of two children, ages 3 and 1. She came to Israel from Ethiopia after marrying an Ethiopian who is an Israeli citizen. They separated recently. She only has temporary status in Israel. Her son has citizenship and her daughter is in the process of receiving hers. The father drinks and passes out in front of the children. The son gets very upset and distressed over the situation. Recently Andrea has refused to allow the father to come into the house, but she has no means of support. Until the situation is resolved, Andrea needs help to purchase necessities, including paying for rent.  JCF contributed ($606) toward their needs.

A House of Mourning


St. Sgt. Moshe Malko, 22, of Jerusalem was a Golani combat soldier killed during IDF operations in the Shejaia neighborhood in Gaza on July 20th during Operation Protective Edge.

I visited the Malko family to pay my condolences two weeks after Moshe’s death. His family lives in a very modest home in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Neve Ya’akov. Moshe was their pride and joy and his death left them in a state of shock. He was well known in their community because of his positive nature and his activism in local neighborhood projects. When I stopped to inquire exactly where the Malkos lived, everyone knew where to point me.  I parked outside the corner store and one lady said I should not go empty handed and insisted I bring drinks to help the family with the never ending flow of visitors. As I entered the Malko home I was struck by the inconsolable grief of his beautiful mother, Leah.

She and her husband had emigrated from Ethiopia 23 years ago with their small family. Moshe was the first child born in Israel and later followed more siblings. Moshe was one of eight children.  One of his older brothers was killed some years ago and his death remains unsolved. After his brother’s death, Moshe was a great influence particularly on his mother, who gained comfort from his cheerful nature. Leah showed me numerous photos of her son and said he loved being a soldier.  He died in combat after volunteering for a very dangerous mission.  At his funeral his sister said, “We were fortunate, all your family and friends, to know a man with a true and pure heart, a heart that loved.”

Leah said she did not know if she could go on living.  “I have no more strength.”  I pondered her words and sat silently until I could reply. Then I said “Leah, God gave you the strength to bring 8 children into this world, and you will find, with God's help, the same strength to carry you now.”  As I got up to leave, I pressed a gift of money into her hand and promised her to return again.  Each of her children came to thank me for my visit and the youngest asked the very question her older siblings were clearly thinking, “Who are you?”  I told her I was from a neighborhood not far away and was a Christian who just wanted to let them know we think Moshe is a hero.

“It is better to go to the house of mourning,
than to go to the house of feasting:
for that is the end of all men;
and the living will lay it to his heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter:
for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.”   Ecc 7:2-3

News in Israel and the Middle East

  • In the midst of this summer’s war, Jerusalem had two terrorist attacks on the same day.  The first attack was by a tractor driver who ran over a pedestrian and overturned a bus, and the second attack was by a gunman on a motorcycle.
  • Not so well known, but Gaza’s community of 2,000 Christians have also suffered during this summer’s crisis.  On her way to church, Antoine Ayyad, died from Israeli missile attack.  For more.
  • Also, Hamas has forcibly used at least one church in Gaza to fire rockets into Israel. 
  • On Aug 17-22, the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) have organized a trip to Israel called “Christians in Solidarity with Israel.”  NRB CEO, Jerry Johnson says “Countering rising anti-Semitism in the international press and on the streets, this friendship visit will communicate to Israel and to the Palestinians who stand in opposition to Hamas that we, leaders who represent the Christian community, stand with them,” he said. “It will also show the world that Christians in general support the Jewish people and their right to security.”
  • Canon Andrew White, known as "Vicar of Baghdad" for the Anglican Church continues his updates on the invasion of ISIS into Iraq: "Child I baptised cut in half by ISIS”, here.  "Iraq: Hell has broken out here and nobody cares", here.

JCF News: Charles Kopp at the United Nations

JCF Chairman, Charles Kopp, has joined a World Evangelical Alliance delegation from Israel this week in New York City that is meeting with the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, the UN Secretary General’s Deputy, the office of the United States Secretary of State, and other ambassadors and leaders at the United Nations.  August 14th there will be a special prayer service for the Middle East. More here.

Biblical Language Courses in North Carolina a Rousing Success

From June 22-July 18, fourteen students from four different continents gathered together to study biblical Hebrew and Koine Greek with the Biblical Language Center at Mid-Atlantic Christian University in Elizabeth City, NC.  Randall Buth, Lee Fields, Ben Kantor, and Scott McQuinn taught the classes.  For more, here.

Prayer Requests and Praise Reports

  • Israel and Gaza
  • Bringing to justice the murderers of the three Israeli teenagers
  • Canon Andrew White and his church in Baghdad (see above in News in Israel and the Middle East)
  • Chuck Kopp's visit and meeting with UN Ambassadors in New York City (see above JCF News)
  • Yoni Gerrish and family will be in the U.S. from June 26-Aug 30.