EPICENTER PRAYER REQUESTS: Feb 22nd Update
1.) PRAISE: FOUR WEEKS IN THE EPICENTER – By God’s grace, I have just returned from traveling for four straight weeks through Israel, Iraq, Jordan, India and the United Arab Emirates. Likewise, by God’s grace, John Moser and Jeremy Grafman are back from a month in Israel. Jeremy also was in Iraq for a week separately. Thanks so much for your faithful prayers for all of us. We saw the Lord protect us from bombs and rockets falling along the Gaza border. He also gave us the opportunity to do relief work, encourage pastors, teach in churches and conferences about God’s love for Israel and her neighbors, and call on thousands of Christians to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. These, after all, are two of the central roles of The Joshua Fund – to care for the needy and suffering in Israel and the Mideast, and encourage Christians to “learn, pray, give and go” to the Lord’s work in the region.
2.) PRAISE: CARING FOR ISRAELIS IN THE WAR ZONE – John, Jeremy and I made numerous trips into the war zone along the Gaza border. We had the privilege of praying with Israeli families being bombarded by Hamas missiles, mortars and rockets, and occassionally had to race into bomb shelters and felt the ground shake as Hamas rockets hit not far from us. Working through Israeli believers, TJF funded projects to bus hundreds of Israelis living in the along the Gaza border to safety in the north, paying for their meals and hotel accommodations so they could get a desperately-needed break from all the fear and stress. We helped finance and launch a wonderful new organization called “Hope For Sderot” – run by believers and secular Jews – and helped them open a store front food bank in the Israel town of Sderot, located just a few kilometers from the Gaza border. We also had the privilege of helping to fund three projects through Israeli believers and secular Israeli leaders to deliver hot meals, toiletries, bags of groceries (rice, flour, cooking oil, canned vegetables, etc), and toys and games to about 450 Israeli families, including elderly shut-ins as well as families with children. We also filmed a short documentary film for The Joshua Fund on the Gaza border as bombs were dropping and Israeli tanks were firing at terrorist strongholds.
3.) PRAISE: ENCOURAGING IRAQI PASTORS – In Iraq, I had the privilege in January of spending four days encouraging several senior Arab and Kurdish ministry leaders, praying with them, and studying the Word together. Two Iraqi evangelical leaders and I had a one hour meeting with the Prime Minister of the Kurdish region. In particular, we were able to discuss how followers of Jesus Christ can be a blessing to the Kurdish people, and how evangelical Christians from the West in particular can be a blessing. Separately, Jeremy Grafman went to Iraq for a week earlier this month to participate in a pastors training conference TJF funded. Several U.S. pastors went with Jeremy and taught some 50 Iraqi pastors and ministry leaders from Baghdad, Mosul and all over the country through the Book of Ephesians, verse by verse and chapter by chapter. The Iraqis were deeply grateful and the U.S. pastors were excited to have the privilege to teach the Word in the cradle of civilization.
4.) PRAISE: TEACHING INDIA AND GULF BELIEVERS ABOUT PROPHECY – Traveling with Dr. T.E. Koshy, chairman of TJF’s pastors advisory council, and his son, Jay Koshy, also a pastor, the Lord gave me amazing opportunities in India and Dubai to teach several thousand Indian and Arab believers about God’s everlasting love and plan for Israel, about God’s amazing love for Israel’s neighbors and enemies, about the Biblical prophecies of the last days, and about the work of The Joshua Fund and how they could get involved. In Delhi and Mumbai (Bombay), I led five-hour “Epicenter Seminars” (teaching and lots of Q&A) for a total of nearly 200 Indian pastors and ministry leaders. In Chennai, I had the privilege of preaching at one of the most influential congregations in all of India. I spoke twice by translation to nearly 4,000 Indian believers on Ezekiel 36-39. Many committed themselves to praying faithfully for Israel and her neighbors, and to praying for the work of The Joshua Fund. In Dubai, we met for two days with several key ministry leaders, answering their many questions about prophecy and current events.
5.) PRAYER REQUEST: 2009 EPICENTER CONFERENCE – With the Iranian nuclear threat rising, Israelis feeling more and more isolated and alone in the world, the U.S. in the midst of the most severe economic crisis in a generation, people are increasingly anxious about the future. They are wondering what the future holds, and where God is in all of this. That's why on April 4th, Lord willing, I will host our first Epicenter Conference on U.S. soil (the previous one being in Jerusalem last April). The theme: "Understanding Today's Global Crises In Light of Bible Prophecy." We have some wonderful churches in San Diego organizing the event and they are expecting some 10,000 people to attend the event at Cox Arena. The day-long conference will also be webcast around the world at www.epicenter09.com. Please check out the site and pray that the Lord would superintend all the details, from the precise schedule, to enough funds, to enough volunteers. We already know of many who are traveling to San Diego from all over the country to join us. Perhaps you’d like to join us as well. Though the conference is not being funded or run by The Joshua Fund, proceeds from the conference will go to TJF's work in providing humanitarian aid to bless Israel and her neighbors. Thanks so much for praying for this and these other issues. We really appreciate it. God bless you.
6.) WORTH READING -- Finally, there is an interesting story in the Jerusalem Post today worth reading, "Poll: Israelis split on taking Evangelical charity."