My Witnesses

And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the ear

Over the past year or two, Israel has had an influx of Sudanese refugees who have risked their lives to escape the war and bloodshed in Sudan. They have gone through harrowing experiences and many have lost members of their families. Children have spent so much time on the run that they lack basic schooling. Their mother tongue is Arabic yet they hardly read in Arabic. Now in Israel they are learning to communicate in
Hebrew and have been attending Israeli schools where they have been learning to read it as well.

The messianic congregation in Eilat has been ministering to the many refugees who have settled there and found work in hotels. They are from both Muslim and Christian backgrounds and many have expressed a deep desire to learn the Scriptures but cannot read them in their mother tongue. Their level of Hebrew is also not equal to reading the Scriptures in the Masoretic text.

Through an initiative of some young people and, in cooperation with two different churches, HaGefen Publishing was able to provide these refugees at the end of January with some fifteen sets (forty-five books) of The Testimony: The Children’s Illustrated Bible. We have heard that the books were received with great joy and both the Christian and Muslim youth from Sudan are reading the books and studying them together.

This is exactly the aim of this project, to make the word of God readable to people, be they Israelis, new immigrants or the sojourners in the land. And we seem to be “conquering” this
challenge as we see these Sudanese children sitting around reading and studying the word of God in words that they are able to understand.

The youth leader from the Eilat congregation, who is deeply involved with ministering to the Sudanese families, wrote:

On behalf of the Eilat congregation, we wish to thank you for taking a part in serving the Sudanese youth in Eilat. The books you have given us have been a real and practical blessing. The Sudanese children are a walking miracle and testimony to the grace and power of God. Only a year ago they were not able to sit more than ten minutes at a time to listen to a Bible study in their own language. Today we find them having a Bible study almost every day for up to forty-five minutes or more... in Hebrew! Now they even lead worship in Hebrew, and thanks to your books they have begun reading the Bible in Hebrew as well, in their free time!

Sometimes they go to the desert by themselves, take a guitar and some worship song-books with them and they sit around the fire singing songs to the Lord and studying the word of God. I can testify myself one time I was there, that I saw them in the desert around the fire and one of them was reading the book of Jeremiah and had some really deep questions to ask me about the tasks that God had given Jeremiah. I’m sure that he wouldn't have been able to comprehend this if he was reading a normal Bible with Hebrew words that are way too hard for these kids to understand.

M. for the Eilat congregation

This article first appeared in the June-August 2009 edition of the Herald

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