Originally published in Israel Today
Mark Gerson, a Jewish businessman from New York, is helping Christian medical missionaries care for some of Africa’s poorest.
In an interview with CBN, Gerson described it as “an honour and a privilege” to work with these Christian missionaries, calling them “sacred people.”
He went on to explain that “the Bible, tells us 36 times, more than it tells us anything else, to love the stranger.” Gerson and his wife, who is a rabbi, eventually concluded that the most effective way to love strangers in need was to “support the Christian medical missionaries who are providing care to the poor in Africa.”
They have since given generously to Christian missionary hospitals that also serve as training centres for African healthcare workers. In Burundi, where the Gersons are helping build a hospital and train Christian medical staff, half of the population have no access to drinkable water, and 70% of the nation lives below the poverty line. With their support, the Christian hospitals are able to care for tens of thousands of people.
“The average person lives on less than a dollar a day,” Dr Jason Fader, one of the Christian missionaries working in Burundi told CBN. “I can’t really fathom how to live on less than a dollar a day, and yet that is what the majority of the people in this country do.”
In Israel, Christian missionaries are considered a threat to the Jewish nation. For most Israelis, they stir memories of forced conversions and material incentives used by missionaries for generations to convert Jews to Christianity.
Orthodox and anti-missionary groups are always on the lookout to warn the public about any Christian activity in the Jewish state. They view the Christians’ so-called “good works” as just another coverup to preach the Gospel and convince Jews to believe in Jesus. For this traditional Jewish couple to generously support a church’s efforts is surprising, and at least for some, could mean a step towards a new appreciation of the Christian mission.