The needs Hilsden sees around Kings of Kings' headquarters in an old theater in the heart of Jerusalem prompted the formation of new outreaches this year. Its Anchor of Hope counseling center is based in what used to be a sex shop, while its compassion center, which offers various forms of aid, launched last July. It plans to open a soup kitchen there in January.
"What we've been finding is the recent Gaza-Hamas war caused a quick downturn in the economy, partially due to [lower] tourism," Hilsden says. "There are a lot of needy people, especially in Jerusalem. I regularly see homeless people on the streets, digging through garbage cans to find food. Our hearts go out to them."
That statement can be repeated by numerous ministries that not only help those in need, but also continue to shine a spotlight on the land that occupies a central role in the Second Coming of the Messiah. Some examples:
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ)
Among its outreaches is hosting annual observances of Sukkot (this year observed from Oct. 8 to 15), a Jewish festival commemorating God's faithfulness to the Jewish people during their exodus from Egypt. The ICEJ, which held the first Christian celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in 1980, helps educate Christians worldwide about Israel's unique calling in God's plans.
The embassy also helps combat anti-Semitism, which has surged this year in places such as Germany, France, Great Britain and Eastern Europe. In September Greece strengthened its laws against anti-Semitism and other hate speech because of the rise of a neo-Nazi Party there.
During a trip to Ukraine last January, Ezra International's Cristofaro encountered flyers containing "Blood Libel" claims. Popular in Nazi Germany, their primary accusation is that Jews murder Christian children to use their blood during holiday rituals, including baking Passover matzahs.
"It's hard to believe this is happening in the 21st century," Cristofaro says. "This happens in the Middle East and then is repeated by the Orthodox Church. Anti-Semitism is not just coming from neo-Nazis and Arabs but what many Jews see as the church."
Maoz Israel Ministries
More than 35 years old, Maoz Israel marked its birth with the 1977 marriage of founders Shira Sorko-Ram and her husband, Ari, a former actor and professional football player for the Arizona Cardinals (formerly St. Louis Cardinals). Now as Israeli citizens, they have founded the Tifaret Yeshua (the Glory of Yeshua) congregation in downtown Tel Aviv.
In addition, they manage a nonprofit publishing company that prints and distributes Bible-based books in Hebrew and a humanitarian-aid organization (istandwithisrael.com) that supports widows, orphans, needy people and terrorist victims.
The organization also provides scholarships to help immigrants with Hebrew studies and career training, as well as college courses for Messianic Jews.
Revive Israel Ministries
Directed by Asher and Betty Intrater, this apostolic ministry is dedicated to bringing revival to Israel by reconciling its people with Yeshua as Messiah. In addition to past involvement with several messianic churches in Israel and the U.S., the couple now helps pastor Ahavat Yeshua (Love of Jesus) in Washington, D.C.
Revive Israel's evangelistic strategy focuses on building personal relationships in the workplace, schools and neighborhoods. It also spreads the gospel through one-on-one street witnessing, broadcasts and literature distribution.
The ministry distributes a third of its donations to helping the poor, widows and orphans, and assisting Israeli business owners whose faith in Yeshua prompts challenges. Based in a residential community just outside Jerusalem, it also is cooperating on projects to develop a messianic industrial park and a residential development.
Responding originally to disruptions in northern Israel during a 2006 war with Lebanon, this year's attacks from Gaza have shifted its emphasis to the country's southern region. Bowman felt so strongly about the mission to protect residents from disruptions that he left his Orthodox Jewish temple to devote all his time to Operation Lifeshield.
Bowman draws key inspiration from Esther 4:14 and Mordecai's admonishment to Esther that God had placed her in a strategic location to save Israel. He recalls how he and others who helped initiate this effort mused: "Perhaps this is our time."
Since then, the organization has distributed nearly 300 portable bomb shelters that can protect anywhere from a dozen to 50 people. The school, medical clinic or governmental entity requesting one agrees to provide ongoing maintenance.
"We're such a boring organization," Bowman jokes. "We have one mission and that's to prevent Israelis from rocket attacks. Pastors tell me that, for congregants to make a donation and be able to see where that donation has gone—and connect with Israelis—they won't give to something abstract or undefined."
While their ministries don't have an identical emphasis, two outreaches to Israel stem from those with roots in writing and commentary.
The co-pastor of Tel Aviv's Tifaret Yeshua, Ron Cantor is the founder of Messiah's Mandate, a teaching ministry aimed at raising up leaders for the coming Israeli revival.
The active blogger and author of Identity Theft (Destiny Image, 2013), Cantor is a thorn in the side of both anti-Semites and supporters of "replacement theology." His novel explores how Jesus has been robbed of his Jewishness, while in a weekly podcast and blogs he explores the truth about such topics as Israel's rebirth in 1948.
Through both novels and non-fiction, author Joel Rosenberg has written extensively about Middle Eastern and end-times subjects. His latest novel, The Auschwitz Escape, explores a Jewish prisoner relying on God's power to escape the concentration camp and alert the world to Nazi atrocities.
In 2006, Rosenberg and his wife, Lynn, set up The Joshua Fund to mobilize Christians to bless Israel. They have led numerous prayer and vision trips to Israel, organized conferences and seminars on four continents, and provided food and other supplies to the needy.
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