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So often when we think of Israel, we think about the end times. What Israel needs is not more attention about the end of time, but the beginning of time … and the promise of salvation in Genesis.
A couple of years ago, Eitan and Orit Kashtan-Israelis who live near Tel Aviv-pleaded with me to come to Israel to speak.
I must admit: I knew virtually nothing about the Christian church in Israel, and at the time was also concerned about terrorist attacks in Israel.
Eitan and Orit run a Christian publishing company in Israel called “HaChotam,” and they had printed my book Dinosaurs of Eden in Hebrew. This book, filled with stunning art, was the first-ever creation book for children in Hebrew in the nation of Israel … and one of the first-ever high-quality Christian books produced here!
I was totally amazed to learn that right where Christ lived and ministered, there are only about 1,500 Christian families (representing about 6,000 people-half of them, though, are Russian speaking).
“HaChotam” sold 700 copies of Dinosaurs of Eden, which would represent about the maximum number you could sell in such a market. In other words, 90% of Christian homes in Israel that speak Hebrew have this book! Eitan shared that his pastor can remember back about 35 years when the whole Christian church in Israel could probably fit in one classroom!
This delightful couple was converted in 1990 through the ministry of Masters Mission in North America. As recently converted Jews, they were on fire for the Lord and wanted to see the gospel message proclaimed throughout Israel. Thus they started their small Christian publishing company.
Eitan and Orit understand how important it is for the embryonic church in Israel to be doctrinally sound. As there are no Christian schools or homeschools to speak of there, they also know that all children are educated in secular schools. These schools are very anti-Christian, including teaching evolution/millions of years as fact.
Not only this, and even though there are Scripture classes for all public school students, Eitan does not know of even one Christian Bible teacher in all the country. Should we be surprised, then, that the Bible is taught as myth to students?
In 2003, Eitan came to visit AiG here in Kentucky. He was determined to convince me to do a speaking tour of Israel. Not really understanding why (you see, we can't accept every invitation to speak-there are just not enough days in a year), but sensing his real burden for Israel, I agreed to come.
Now that I've been there, and after having spoken to many groups, I can fully understand how important it is for the creation message to get to this struggling, first generation church, and how our website can be a blessing to English speakers there.
What an opportunity. What an awesome responsibility!
Eitan said there are a number of Christian churches in Israel-but most are very small. I had the privilege of speaking to the largest one (around 250 people).
I also spoke to the largest Christian youth conference ever held in Israel (around 140 teens plus 20 leaders-sadly, 50 or more had to be turned away because there was no room). In Israel, this is a huge meeting!
Also, something that is almost unheard of happened: around 40 Christian Arab youth attended the conference with the Christian Jewish youth! I think this was a first.
The lies of the Adversary are the same here as they are in America.And do you know what I found? These young people, who want so much to serve the Lord, had all sorts of hang-ups about evolution, millions of years, dinosaurs, fossils, Cain's wife, etc. They asked the same questions I hear everywhere I go. The lies of the Adversary are the same here as they are in America.
While in Israel, I had the opportunity to speak at a very special seminar arranged for Christian leaders in Israel. About 90 came-which is considered one of the largest Christian leaders gatherings ever held. Many had to be turned away because of lack of space.
What an opportunity to reach so many of the leaders of this first generation church with the message of the importance of Genesis and the authority of the Bible.
Sadly, while many of the church leaders in Israel would say they believe in Genesis, they don't have answers to the questions the youth are asking.
As Eitan told me, “We could easily lose the Christian church in Israel if we don't get the church grounded firmly in God's Word beginning in Genesis, and get answers to what is being taught in schools and universities to the youth.”
This born-again Jew strongly emphasized to me that “the creation message is vital to preaching the gospel in Israel,” and that our website can be an effective tool.
I can see that same “fire” in Eitan and Orit (and their children as well) that we read about in the book of Jeremiah. (Eitan, by the way, gave up his high-paying job in Israel as a software developer to become involved in ministry.)
As Christians, Eitan and his wife have committed their lives to see the gospel proclaimed in a nation so special to the heart of God-a country that is so pagan and yet … this is the land where Jesus walked, where Samuel anointed David, where Joshua fought battles, where Jesus died and rose so we can have eternal life.
We will continue to work with Eitan and Orit. With your help, there will be future books and even DVDs in Hebrew. Your assistance can help create a special Hebrew website and subsidize more AiG speaking tours to Israel.
As a web visitor, you already know that God has used AiG as a life-changing ministry abroad and here in America. To illustrate that, here's a touching, candid testimony from a medical doctor about what we could call a “heart transplant” …
I was struggling with the Bible due to the apparent contradictions with science in Genesis. I was not living my faith and certainly was not a very good witness.
My wife saw an ad for a seminar and challenged me to go. It was life-changing. Dr. Morris [of ICR] and Ken Ham were speaking. It seemed they were talking to me when they said, “If you could not believe everything in the Bible, including Genesis word for word, then you could not believe any of it, including Christ!” I felt I had been stabbed in the heart.
I came home and told my wife that all of the speakers had amazed and informed me. I got all the tapes of Dr. Morris and Ken. I had a renewed interest in studying God's Word.
I believe I was truly surrendered to the Lord at this point-perhaps I wasn’t even saved prior to this conference. I don’t know. But my life radically changed. My wife and I started a home Bible study and I began to share my faith at the hospital.
AiG and its many outreaches (including this website) is being used by God to see countless testimonies like this one. We are seeing exciting things happening in the lives of people in America (and, yes, Israel as well).
We’ve just produced another evangelistic tool to help you share your faith: From Creation to Bethlehem.
While this booklet can be used any time of year to share your faith, its message that Christ the Creator (Colossians 1) came to earth as a babe in a manger should be especially powerful this Christmas as you talk with friends and family about Him. (Why not use it as a possible stocking stuffer, or mail it with a Christmas card?)
I am amazed by what I experienced in Israel. So often when we think of Israel, we think about the end times or terrorism. What Israel needs is not more attention about the end of time, but the beginning of time … and of God’s redemption promise starting in Genesis! Join us in reaching people … in the USA, Israel and around the world!