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Brazil, Canada and the UK

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Posted on: 
4 Jul 2013
Brazil, Canada and the UK

Brazil

Brazil is one of the prime examples today of a nation where the Christians are supporting and blessing Israel. The number of evangelical Christians is rapidly growing in this vast and populous Portuguese-speaking country, as nearly 30% of the people are now born-again believers. And they are really standing with Israel! One of the most influential leaders in the growing Church in Brazil is our national director there, Apostle Rene Terra Nova.

For many years, Dr. Terra Nova has been raising up spiritual leaders – not just in his native country but also throughout Latin America. They are being taught the importance of Jerusalem and the Jewish people for our Christian faith TODAY, and not only for yesterday! And his labours in the Lord have not been in vain, as he now leads a network of churches in South America that have more than six million members!

In June, Apostle Terra Nova and the ICEJ-Brazil branch organised a gathering in the city of Manaus of over 7,000 pastors and ministry leaders at which I was able to deliver a teaching on Israel. Afterwards, close to 100,000 Christians gathered for a mass rally in the city’s large Samba Stadium to glorify Jesus, to worship and celebrate – and to bless Israel! To see thousands of Israeli flags, including one huge flag covering a whole section of the arena, was truly amazing! People were waving their flags and praying for the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem unashamedly! The Church in Brazil is truly standing with Israel – God's chosen people!

Canada

The ICEJ-Canada branch has been very active in recent months both in Canada and in Israel. While National Director Donna Holbrook was leading a tour group on a solidarity visit to Israel in May, some 50 members of ICEJ-Canada took part in the annual "Walk for Israel" in Toronto. Besides demonstrating public support for Israel, the march raises funds for charitable causes in Israel supported by the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto. Dressed in Mountie-red T-shirts with the ICEJ logo and Isaiah 40:1 mandate, the Christian Embassy marchers drew much interest and words of appreciation from Jewish participants.

Meanwhile, the Canadian branch also co-sponsored a speaking tour through Canada of a group of 17 Israeli students and soldiers who came to share a positive message about Israel's vibrant democracy and rich cultural mosaic just ahead of the annual anti-Israel hate-fest on North American campuses known as Apartheid Week. The young Israelis, which included not just Jews but also Bedouin, Druze and other Arabs, joined local Canadian students on various campuses to talk about life, culture and politics in Israel. The new initiative, called "Wordswap", was meant to counter attempts by anti-Israel activists to promote the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.

“Israel is not perfect. Canada is not perfect”, Maimun Azmi, a 33-year-old Druze Muslim from a village near Mt. Carmel, told The Catholic Register. He acknowledged some levels of discrimination against minorities in Israeli society, but he insisted the country as a whole values and protects all its citizens. “We (Druze) want to be in Israel,” added the former IDF officer who is now a young lawyer in the Israeli civil service.

UK

This spring, the ICEJ-UK branch held its annual conferences in the North and South of England. In late April, the Millbrook Christian Centre in Southampton hosted the ‘Southern Conference’, which was attended by about 180 delegates from the city and surrounding region. The theme was “For Such a Time as This” and keynote speaker Rev. David Pawson spoke on “The End Times - Are we there yet?” His ministry was challenging, inspiring and thought-provoking, providing answers to many questions on how the Church should be responding to the season that we are in.

The worship team was joined by Ray Sidney, a well-known Gospel artist from America who performs regularly as part of the Feast vocal team in Jerusalem, as well as by Paul and Jess Parkhouse and a number of other local musicians. The worship was vibrant and passionate, with moments of toe-tapping and joyous hands waving in the air, as well as times of just quietly soaking in the powerful presence of the Lord.

One session that was of particular interest was a talk by Howard Stern and his colleague “Christy’ from Amadeus EU. Christy is a young Palestinian Christian convert who had to flee persecution in her hometown of Bethlehem to seek refugee status in the United Kingdom. She is a bold and capable speaker who shared candidly about her journey to faith in Christ, as well as of her experiences as she began to read the Scriptures and ask questions about Israel’s place within the purposes of God. A significant observation by her was that many Palestinian Christians found Israel’s former presence in places like Bethlehem a source of protection and safety for them.

The on-going work of the Christian Embassy was highlighted, ICEJ International Director Rev. Juha Ketola delivered a video greeting, and many were encouraged to come visit Israel, including to attend the Feast of Tabernacles this fall.

 

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