With antisemitism on the rise worldwide, and anti-Israel bias in the media, it is always refreshing to see Believers from all around the world come to visit and minister in the Holy Land. Last week, a group of Believers from Hong Kong came to do just that.
In association with Chosen People Ministries and Alliance Global Serve, the congregants of Kowloon Tong Church of the C.C. & M.A. Sheung Shui Church flew to Israel to see, learn and give hope to the Jewish people. They participated in 10 packed days that involved tours of biblical sites, learning about modern Israeli culture, and ministering to Holocaust survivors and singles mothers.
I had the privilege of speaking with members of the group on one of those days, during their visit in the city of Nahariya, where they took part in an outreach program on the beach. I witnessed a devoted group of mission-minded people, who had a heart for the Jewish people.
Tell me a little bit about your group and why you came here?
S: This year is special for Israel, as it’s the 70th anniversary. We are a group of Believers from Hong Kong, and we love the people of Israel because we believe that the Jewish people are the chosen people of God, and we want to bring joy and blessing from Hong Kong. Because the Gospel started here, we would like to bring it back here, to the people of Israel.
M: I’m an intern with CPM; I’m with the group training. It is my 7th time here, and that’s because God gave me love for Israel and the people of Israel. I have a calling to come here and share the Gospel. God has opened this door for me.
Is it hard to share the Gospel with Israelis?
M: Yes, I think so. I’ve gone with my friends for outreach several times, and many people we met say that they don’t believe they have sin, they think they’re good people, and that they can be good on their own efforts. I receive Israeli backpackers in Hong Kong for free, because we want reciprocate this blessing to the Jewish people. Some of them don’t even read the scriptures, they don’t believe Abraham was a real person, and they would ask questions such as, “If there’s a God why did the Holocaust happen?”
Do you think Israelis would be more receptive to the Gospel if it was preached to them by their fellow Jews?
M: I think that we Gentiles can do very little, because of the language barrier, and sometimes because of the culture and history. We have to pray and provoke the Jews to jealousy, but for Jews, because you speak the same language, you understand the culture, you have the same history, same background; I think it’s more powerful if a Jew shares the Gospel with another Jew.
How is Israel viewed in Hong Kong?
M: Many in Hong Kong don’t know much about Israel. Most churches don’t talk about Israel, and if they do, they don’t have a very good perception, mainly because of the media. When I told my pastor that I had a calling for Israel, he stared at me in shock; so I feel like God gave me this burden to share the Gospel with the Jewish people, and also to share with my brothers and sisters the truth about Israel. Many believers don’t pray for the salvation of the Jews or the nation of Israel. Many don’t care, and treat Israel like any other state in the world.
S: We learn from the Bible that Israel is the Holy Land, and many Christians do like to visit Israel at least once in their lifetime. Of course, for Christians, this is a special place. This is the place where God performed miracles and especially Yeshua, who walked upon this land. We want to come here and experience the land that Yeshua walked on.
How is Israel viewed politically?
S: People learn from the news that this is a place of conflict, especially between Israelis and Palestinians, but upon arriving here we don’t feel that tension, as depicted by the media. Of course, all news you read is bad news, but we feel safe, the people are friendly, and we enjoy the environment.
Where do you think Israel is at spiritually?
S: We have mostly been in Jerusalem. We saw many Orthodox Jews who strongly object to Christianity. As we know, the majority doesn’t accept Yeshua as the Messiah, but we believe that the trend is changing. Even though it may not be dramatic right now, more and more people are coming to know Yeshua and accepting the faith.
You ministered as Christians to Israeli single mothers. How was that received?
S: The single moms were very impressed with us, because we traveled all the way from Hong Kong, and we came to serve them, get to know them, and express our love to them. They are the people most ignored by society, and when we extend our warmth and love to them, they were really touched.
Seeing the Believers from Hong Kong on the streets of Nahariya elicited a sense of awe at the power of the Gospel, which spread from Galilee to Jerusalem, and to the ends of the earth. It is a remarkable thing to know that, despite the bias in the media, Israel has friends; people who’re praying for us and expending time, money and effort into the hope of the Jewish people, which is in Jesus Christ, Yeshua HaMashiach.
PHOTO: Illustration. (ALEX HOFFORD/EPA)