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O' Jerusalem, O' Jerusalem... Farewell

Shalom Everyone! (WARNING: This letter is dank and long … you’ve been warned :) )

I hope everyone has been taking care as always. Pardon the late update for this past month. I guess you could say we’ve been running hard through the roadblocks we’ve encountered as expressed in my previous letter. Lately, time has been flying by in this hurricane of an outreach. It seems like weeks pass by every time I have the notion to look at a calendar, though it feels like only days. The only emotion I can express is that it’s bittersweet. Already we’re running toward the 6-month mark since my departure from home. My personal life has been rocked inside out, and I have no idea where to even begin to describe God’s rebuilding in me. But at the least, my greatest hope is that my blogs have made you feel you were walking right next to me.

Just outside, the beautiful city of Jerusalem is blazing in the dry summer sun upon the houses on the hills. Even now, I hear the Islamic prayer calls over the loudspeakers echoing through the Kidron Valley & the City of David. Our Jewish & Muslim brothers and sisters are walking the streets in their religious attire, some more than others, depending on how orthodox one may be. In the “Christian” quarters of the Old City, the Armenians and Orthodox Catholics are no different as they wear their own attire, but claiming the name of Christ. Tour busses are running religiously as well, with pilgrims and tourists flooding the city on a daily basis to travel this Holy Land. This happens daily, and it’s sometimes overwhelming to know where to even begin to spread the gospel.

But regardless of how loud prayers may blaze across the city, or how overwhelming the religiosity may be, God has placed my team into this city with a specific purpose – To bless this land with the Love of God. This past month our experiences have been broad yet so deep in nature. Our times in the prayer room have been phenomenal as God is teaching us the power of prayer in the secret places. Interceding on behalf of the Arabs and Jews, God has been revealing to us His heart for His children. Seeds of compassion for our brothers and sisters have been planted, as God has opened more doors for us to participate in the work He’s been doing behind the scenes.

Along with Tel Aviv & Jericho, the Lord hooked us up to work with Palestinian refugee camps in Bethlehem. Unbeknownst to many outside of Israel, Bethlehem has become a completely Arab city that is on lockdown where no one can go in or out without special work passes. Israeli’s are restricted to go in and Arabs cannot go out. Behind these unfortunate boundaries, God is still ferociously moving the hearts of Muslim refugees with His love. On a weekly basis, this ministry has been building relationships as they’ve been going house to house with the Love & Power of Jesus. They’re priority has been to show their love through prayer, healing and through food distributions within the refugee camps. The ministry is small in number with even an Arab host family risking their own lives and reputation to help God move. Regardless of any opposition from the Muslim community, God has been consistently protecting and guiding them to move forward. On our last visit, we visited a household with a grandmother that was suffering one of the most common ailments of these refugee camps - diabetes. With feet, ankles and knuckles extremely swollen, we prayed for God’s healing to touch her. Within minutes her feet had decreased in swelling and as our sisters massaged her hands we could see her knuckles start to heal. There wasn’t complete healing, but it was evidently enough since Grandma couldn’t stop kissing the girls out of thanks. God is healing, feeding and revealing His love no matter the limitations from the principalities of this world.

After doors opened to Bethlehem, we were invited to join an Evangelistic Ministry to go to Galilee the weekend of Pentecost. Hundreds of Israeli and Arab young adults flooded the Galilee to camp and party on this national holiday. By the end of the weekend, we had talked to almost every group encamped around us including the staff members of the campsite. It was amazing to be a witness to the gift of evangelism in Gods kingdom. As we partnered side by side, never had I witnessed such bold people spreading the good news. Even more amazing was that we spoke to all Islamic or Jewish brothers and sisters. Only one conclusion was loud and clear – no matter what religion they confessed with their mouths, in their hearts they were hungering for the living God. Some Jewish listeners were completely amazed at the revelation of the Messiah in their own Torah & Traditions. Muslims we spoke to couldn’t even fathom the love of God through Jesus, as One Arab brother even said “ Why would God send His son, if He knew He would die?”.  For the first time in my life, the meaning of the “Good News” became tangible.

As we start to countdown the days in Israel, my heart aches for this nation and the children that inhabit God’s chosen land. From the shopkeepers, homeless beggars, to the Palestinian families, it’s sad to leave the friendships I’ve made. Thankfully, God has planted the seed of prayer in our hearts as a team, and in joy we praise Him, knowing that God will finish the work that He started through us. God is moving in Israel, and He is shifting the nations to fulfill the will God has on this earth. Watchmen from all over the world are dedicating their lives to prayer on the walls of Jerusalem; Ministries are being planted in the Arab cities and being beacons of Hope, Love and Life; Messianic congregations are growing and following the commands of Jesus as they feed the poor, heal the sick and spread the Gospel; Last but not least, God is encountering His people with an all consuming Love that can only come from our eternal Creator.

In the end, no matter what programs, ministry or theological box we hold on to, nothing in this world will grip the human heart more than the Love & Presence of our Father. Through the trials & mistakes we’ve faced as a team, God’s eternal love has sustained us in every situation.  When you look into the streets of this city, it’s more than obvious that Religiosity has bound God’s children. But thanks be to God, He has revealed to us His active and eternal Love that frees us from the chains of religion and into relationship. That alone is what we came to share, and by His grace we safely did so. No city will ever match Jerusalem’s level of spiritual warfare, yet God is holding true to His nature that He is Mighty to Save. Jesus is moving, speaking, & changing the Hearts of Man, so I want to remind you that God is doing the same in our own cities.

I know this letter was long (sorry!!)), but this will be my final update from our Holy Mother Land. I want to thank all my friends, family and acquaintances that have made all this possible through prayer & support. My next outreach location is undetermined as of now since it’s been announced to us that we can pick anywhere in the world. Our schools objective will be to plant 24-7 houses of prayer & worship around the world. In the meantime please pray that God puts a specific location in my heart.  I will be coming home on the 19th of June till July 1st. I hope to see you all if possible! Keep us in prayer for favor as we leave Israel's borders and for travel mercies!

Love you all more than you know,

- Jasen

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