Tuesday, July 08, 2008


As Israel faces the possibility of war with Iran in the next year -- possibly as early as this fall -- The Joshua Fund is stepping up efforts to stockpile food, water, medical equipment and other emergency supplies. Over the weekend, our leadership hosted the head of a leading evangelical Israeli relief organization to develop detailed contigency plans and we have a staff team heading to Israel at the end of the month to meet with other key allies. Over the course of the next few days, I will be holding conference calls with evangelical pastors throughout the U.S. to brief them on the latest developments and discuss ways they can help.

There are a few urgent prayer requests we would like to share with all of you:

1) First and foremost, please pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the entire region. Pray for the leaders of the region -- and our own national leaders -- to make wise choices in the days and weeks ahead. While diplomacy and sanctions haven't worked so far, they still could. So let's pray that the Lord would spare all the people of the region another war. They have, after all, suffered so much already.

2) Pray especially for peace on Israel's southern border. Every day, rockets and mortars from Gaza are striking fear into the hearts of some 500,000 Israeli residents. Pray, too, for the staff of Barzilai Medical Center, the only hospital treating Israelis in the southern tier. Pray for wisdom and comfort for the doctors, nurses, administrators and volunteers. Pray that they would have all the equipment, pharmaceuticals and other essentials they need to treat those affected by the on-going terror attacks.

3) Please pray for evangelical Christians and Israeli Jews to join forces to bless the people of Israel in real and practical ways. Pray that historic tensions would subside, and that Christians would truly show unconditional love and unwavering support to the Jewish State. Pray, too, that Israeli leaders at all levels of society would be open to and accepting of such support, and that The Joshua Fund could play a positive, helpful role in all of this.

4) Please pray for members of Israeli churches and congregations and their leaders to have wisdom and discernment to know how best to love their neighbors and their enemies. Please particularly pray for their courage and patience. While harassment of believers in Israel is nothing like the terrible persecution ongoing in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran or elsewhere, attacks against followers of Jesus in Israel have increased in recent months. As I have reported before, the 15-year old son of an Israeli pastor was nearly killed this spring when a bomb was sent to the pastor's home disguised as a Purim gift. Ami Ortiz is slowly, steadily, miraculously recovering. But he definitely needs your prayers for the many surgeries he is having to go through. Please also pray that the authorities in Israel would be truly diligent in tracking down and catching those responsible for this horrific crime. The police have now definitively ruled out Palestinian terrorism. This was done by Jews who hate Israeli believers in Yeshua, they believe. But there have been concerns that the police were not doing as much as possible to solve the case. Pressure from Christians around the world writing to Israeli embassies insisting on action has helped. Please keep praying and pressing for justice. Unfortunately, there have been other attacks as well. A deputy Mayor of an Israeli town recently organized Orthodox youths to round up New Testaments and other Christian literature and burn them in a huge bonfire. Christian workers in the country are being denied visas. Some Israeli officials are harassing immigrants who believe in Yeshua and trying to strip of their Israeli citizenship. The Lord is being gracious in all these areas, and a national discussion has ensued over whether Israeli believers in Jesus have a right to live peaceably in the Jewish State, especially since they are very loyal citizens. They fight in the army. They pay their taxes. They serve their communities. They care for the poor and needy. They want to help build a strong Israel for the future. They also want the right to worship the Lord and unashamedly express their belief that Yeshua is the Messiah and the hope not only of the Jewish people, but the whole world. Let's continue to pray for these brothers and sisters during these challenging times.

5.) Finally, please pray that we evangelicals around the world would have the courage to stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel and that we would not hesitate in any way to help them have enough food, water, clothing, medical equipment and other needed supplies to care for their own communities as well as their neighbors when the next war breaks out. As Paul wrote in Romans 15:25-27, "Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews' spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings." We do owe it to our brethren in Israel to help them in their nation's time of need.

This summer, therefore, TJF is seeking the Lord to provide an additional $1 million above and beyond our current financial commitments to accelerate our efforts to stockpile these goods, acquire the needed warehouse facilities to store them, and vehicles to move them around the country. Our board will meet this weekend to discuss several urgent new projects and make decisions on how to proceed based, in part, on our sense of whether we believe we can afford accelerating our work in Israel. We are bringing in several experts to advise us, including a former top U.S. military commander who is a dear brother in Christ and has decades of experience praying for peace yet preparing for war. I'll report more next week on what comes out of these discussions.

As always, The Joshua Fund will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date on the kinds of projects we are doing, brief you on how those projects are proceeding. We will also let you know about the kinds of projects we are developing for the future. In no way do we want to pressure anyone to give financially. We fully believe the Lord will provide for the needs of the people we seek to serve. But if you or others wish to help, we welcome your support, and all financial gifts are tax-deductible.

To contribute to the on-going work of The Joshua Fund, please click here -- or, make your check payable to: "The Joshua Fund" and send to:

The Joshua Fund
18950 Base Camp Road
Monument, Colorado 80132-8009

Thanks so much and may the Lord richly bless you and your family as you bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus -- especially at critical moment in Israel's history.