God’s appointment with Israeli family on a South African farm
Anyone unconvinced about God’s special love for the Jewish people should look no further than this remarkable story set in the mountains of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, where I grew up.
A Christian meeting was set to take place at a guest farm near Winterton, in the Drakensberg region, a beautiful range of peaks reaching as high as 3 352m above-sea-level.
Edith Sher, of the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people, was coming all the way from Cape Town, a distance of 1 609 km, to speak of the significance of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement, Israel’s holiest day of the year), and how it was fulfilled by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus who took our sins upon himself when he was crucified in Jerusalem. (1 John 2:2, New Testament)
The day before the meeting, attended by some 70 people in a converted garage, farm owners Hendrik and Ina Goosen received a call from a family who were touring South Africa and wanted accommodation for the night.
“It turned out they were from Israel — father, mother and three children, all thoroughly secular,” Edith told me. “The owner said they were welcome, but mentioned that a Christian meeting would be taking place. They said they didn’t mind and, to our amazement, came into the garage and sat through the entire meeting.
“Afterwards, at the food table set out on the lawn, I spoke to the wife who responded very positively to my message and said they were bowled over by the love and support for Israel.
“Bearing in mind that this particular meeting had been brought forward a week earlier than planned for various reasons, this was without doubt God-appointed.
“What are the chances of an Israeli family being there at that time — and that the meeting should actually have taken place a week later? It has encouraged other people as a reminder that God is still in charge.”
Ina added: “I feel sure that God had set an appointment with them here in South Africa. At breakfast next morning they all told me how they had enjoyed the previous evening and Yakov (not his real name) said he had especially enjoyed the ‘ceremony’. They were pleasantly surprised by everyone’s love for Israel and how many people with whom they had spoken had been there.
“The next day Yakov sent an sms saying they’d arrived safely in Durban (241km away) and that the visit to Winterton would always stay in their hearts. I even got a second sms from him as they left Durban, saying they’d like to return one day. Let’s continue praying for this family, who are precious in God’s sight.”
Showing such love
This story is particularly stirring for me as I grew up in this part of the world, regularly visiting the nearby mountains and on one occasion climbing a 3 048m peak with my teenage friends. I am especially proud of those Christians who showed such love to this Jewish family; it’s even possible that I grew up with some of them!
And it brings another dimension to Isaiah’s prophecy: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7).
Gentiles from the nations have a vital role to play in bringing Israel back to God (Isaiah 49:22).
And God has an appointment with those who seek Him — his timing is always perfect. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has set eternity in the human heart …” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).