All welcome at talks in PE
[notice]Israel Iluz is in South Africa to encourage Christians of all ages to visit Israel as volunteers in a dynamic ministry that shares the Gospel with Jews and Arabs. “You may arrive as tourists but you will go home as evangelists, and you will experience what the Lord is doing in Israel right now”, he says. Gateway News interviewed him yesterday in Port Elizabeth, where he is spending a fortnight addressing and interacting with churches and Christian groups.[/notice]
22 yrs ago a young Israeli Jew, named Israel Iluz came to South Africa on a month-long holiday. The only thing is that he stayed on in the country for 22 years. He married an Afrikaner woman here, he had three children here, he started businesses in SA, and he was born again here.
In 1995 during a trip to the Drakensberg he heard for the first time in his life “the ridiculous idea that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel”. Although he was not a practicing Jew at the time, he had grown up in an Orthodox family. His late father was a spiritual leader in his hometown of Maalot in Galilee, he went to a religious school, and he grew up keeping religious laws. He had heard many times of the persecution of Jews through the ages in the name of this Jesus. His parents and his teachers had also told him that one day the Messiah would come and bring shalom (peace) to Israel. He could not believe the claim of this South African believer who told him that the Messiah was none other than Jesus Christ. But the man shared the Gospel with him and “the Lord pursued me and I kept meeting with Christians who shared the same idea with me”.
One of the Christians he met gave him a New Testament in Hebrew. He had grown up believing the New Testament was filled with hatred towards the Jews. He read the book, intentionally searching for evidence of anti Semitism. But he found none. “It was full of Jewish places, Jewish names, and references to the Old Testament which I knew. It was a very Jewish book!” Israel says that for two years he carried out an intensive spiritual search, testing the claims of Jesus. He consulted rabbis who assured him it was just Christian nonsense. But his Bible study was changing his understanding of who Jesus was and he discovered that Christians understood the same thing that he was seeing in the Scriptures. “I cried out God of Israel: Can it be that we Jews missed the Messaiah?’ “
Flooded with peace
One morning, towards the end of 1996, he was flooded with a peace that he had never experienced before. He knew that something significant had happened to him: he just did not know quite what it was and how far-reaching it was. But later he realised that he was born again that morning and that all his guilt and frustration were washed away. He remembered feeling a strong desire to share what he had learned with his people in Israel. “But instead the Lord chose to keep me in South Africa for another 16 years — teaching me, preparing me, building me up in the Body of Christ in Joburg.” He spent approximately half of that period in a messianic church and half in a “gentile” church. During the latter period he went on outreaches with a South African Christian who had a passion for reaching out to Muslims. “I realised that this is what the Lord had called me to. And I realised that I could do this in Israel!”
Seven months ago he went to Israel on holiday but also as a volunteer at Trumpet Of Salvation, an evangelistic ministry established some 25 to 30 years ago by Jakob Damkani, a Messianic Jew who has persevered in sharing the Gospel with Jews and Arabs in Israel despite being spat upon, beaten and rejected as a heretic by his own people. When he and Jakob worked together they both realised that “this was meant to be” and Jakob invited him to join the ministry. Israel and his wife Marti decided to sell up in Johannesburg and they and their three children moved to Jaffa / Tel Aviv where Israel has been running Trumpet Of Salvation’s 16-room ministry house for the past six months.
Volunteers from all over the world visit the ministry house for periods of one week to three months. During this time they live, breathe and eat the Gospel. They are equipped with Bible teaching and participate in many different types of outreaches using books, tracts, CDs, DVDs and other Bible-based resources developed by the ministry. The heart of Trumpet Of Salvation is “to Jews first” but they reach out to Jews, Muslims and everyone else with the love of Christ. Volunteers learn that when reaching out to Jews they should not come first with the name of Jesus which was an offense to them. They should rather come with what was familiar to them: with the Old Testament; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and the Messiah. They should always come with the love of Jesus because Israel was full of religion but there was little real service and real love. He said that after the intensive equipping and ministry experience in Israel, volunteers went home ready to share the Gospel with anybody in their home countries.
Living with conviction and purpose
Iluz said that his whole family has quickly made the adjustment to living in Israel. “When you know the Lord has put you there it makes a difference and you can live with conviction and purpose”.
“I am here in South Africa now to encourage Christians to come and live with us and work with us for a while. I am saying: Come, it will change your life as you experience what the Lord is doing in Israel right now.”
During his two weeks stay in Port Elizabeth, Iluz is speaking at a number of churches. Alan MacKenzie, his host in PE, says everybody is welcome to all of the events. They can find out more by contacting him at 082 452 3278 or email@example.com . He says that anybody wishing to attend the Shabat this evening (Friday, November 16) should bring along a plate of eats.
The PE programme details (excluding completed events) are:
Friday, Nov 16 at 19h00 – Shabbat with light snacks at Summerstrand Community Church.
Sunday, Nov 18 at 09h00 – Full Gospel Church, Lorraine – Louwtjie Kilian – 082 654 9835.
Sunday, Nov 18 at 18h00 – St Columbus, behind Greenacres – Rory Spence – 072 111 8860.
Monday, Nov 19 at 19h00 – Christ Church, Kamma Park – Matthew Calitz – 071 365 0522.
Tuesday, Nov 20 at 19h00 – AFM Westering – Patrick Douglas-Henry – 083 308 3922.
Wednesday, Nov 21 at 19h15 – Evangelisasie Sentrum, Cotswold – Daan Du Plessis – 072 142 3674.