Oasis Newsletter

Oasis Volume 12, Issue 8

Sounding a lot like a Joel Rosenberg novel, the stories of Umar Mulinde and Mosab Hassan Yousef contain intrigue, violence and dramatic redemption. These two men are currently risking their lives in Israel to share their testimonies as former Muslim leaders who’ve embraced Yeshua as their Savior and Lord. Not only that, but they both honor Israel and relate to the modern state as the fulfillment of God’s promise to the Jewish people that they will live in this area forever.

“I am a Living Miracle”

On December 24, 2011 former Ugandan sheik, Umar Mulinde, had acid thrown on him by an assailant, determined to kill him with the maximum pain for his departure from Islam and convincing preaching of Yeshua. The acid ate away half of his face. It is now being reconstructed by Israeli surgeons at no charge. They gave him only 1% chance of making it. But he says “That is enough for God.”

Pastor Mulinde did not always appreciate Israel as he does today. In fact, by his own testimony, “I hated Israel. I believed deeply that Islam would ultimately take righteous possession of their land and remove every Jew from this part of the world.” After he came to faith, his heart was changed and he now teaches Ugandans to love Israel and has found widespread favor in this country.

Saved by divine intervention in 1992 through a series of terrifying dreams,* Pastor Mulinde tells anyone who will listen, “Don’t be fooled. Islam is not a peaceful religion. In the West there is a political correctness about Islam as a peaceful religion, but I am evidence of what Islam really is…Pray for them, but break the controlling spirit that holds them.”

This bold and courageous Ugandan has given himself to the Lord Yeshua in such a totalway that he is an inspiration. Pastor Mulinde has made himself available to the Israeli congregations and addressed Tents of Mercy and guests concerning his experiences and his God. His listeners cannot help but reflect on the quality of their own dedication to the Lord. He exhorted us, “I thank the God of Israel that I am alive today. Whatever persecution comes to you – take a stand. Don’t be afraid. Nothing will separate you from His love.”

The Son of Hamas

By a fascinating coincidence of timing that cannot be ignored, Mosab Hassan Yuosef also visited Israel. He has not been here since leaving, under the threat of his life in 2007. Personally, I never expected to hear about “The Son of Hamas” coming back. There must be a large price on his head. But he declared in a recent Jerusalem press conference that he intends to expose Islam as the violent religion it is. “It is not time to mince words,” is the message Yousef made known.

In Yousef ’s riveting book, Son of Hamas, he reveals how he worked with Israeli security to stop terror attacks against the Israelis. Once a terrorist himself and slated for the highest levels of Hamas leadership, the Palestinian became convinced that the resurrected Jesus Christ is the true Savior and that Mohammed authored a religion of war and death.

When amazing numbers of Muslims are having visions of Yeshua and coming to believe in Him despite their intensive training, what is going on? Are the Jewish people going to have similar visions, enabling us to know by revelation from Heaven that He really is our Messiah?

I believe the answer to both these questions is that we are entering the latter days. This is the time foretold by the prophets that would see God intervening in human affairs. He is making Himself known to radical Muslims because they are seeking someone to whom they can genuinely surrender. This is the meaning of Islam – submission. Regarding the Jewish people, our dreadful experience historically with the Church of Jesus, has built a thick barrier between us and Him. As the end draws near, we can expect, and should pray, that He will supernaturally make Himself known to multitudes within the nation of Islam and the nation of Israel. It’s happening!

* See Pastor Mulinde’s testimony courtesy of MAOZ Ministries at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMWd7QnXY8E

In Israeli Messianic congregations we occasionally bemoan the fact that the makeup of the believing body at this time seems not very “Israeli,” with well over half of us being immigrants from Russia, USA, Ethiopia, etc. Most of our congregants do not speak Hebrew as their mother tongue. Hebrew language mistakes are made with great regularity – and sometimes great hilarity – often causing the more fluent Hebrew speakers to wince. Many events are held with multiple translations, chiefly in Hebrew, English and Russian. This makes communication and unity an even greater challenge than it naturally would be under more “homogeneous” circumstances.

Many of us would like to see the movement here focus the Israeli and Hebrew character of the congregation into a more concentrated, native and local flavor. This is a process that occurs in many nations when faith in Yeshua becomes more of a local, indigenous phenomenon and less of a foreign one. Of course it is ironic that Yeshua is a foreigner to many Israelis, since he was an Israeli himself. In the midst of a gradual shift toward a more Israeli-flavored faith, we also need to enjoy the journey right here right now. This is a new understanding for me personally, and it starts with the Holy Spirit…

Holy Spirit Translation

The first miracle the Holy Spirit did after being poured out in power, was to translate praise proclamations into many languages! This should console and encourage us in our multiple translation reality (Acts 2:4). Once I saw that priority of the Holy Spirit, I began understanding that our heart and God’s heart are different in approach to diversity of language, culture and identity.

An Infinite Heart

Human nature is selfish and ethnocentric. Our heart and our love seem so very limited. We are far and away most concerned with our own group and view that group as central. We pat ourselves on the back when we succeed in opening up our hearts a little to accept and love and care for our family members and the people around us.

God’s nature is unselfish and giving. His heart is infinitely wide, containing unlimited love and appreciation and identification with every people group, every tribe and indeed every person.

God’s heart is wide. He is not willing that any should perish. He so loved the world that He gave His son. He suffers the little children to come to him. God’s heart is wide. He cared for the heathen sinners of Nineveh and even their animals (Jonah 4:11). He calls Egypt His people, and Assyria (Turkey/Iraq/Iran) the work of His hand (Isaiah 19:24,25). God’s heart is wide.

He IS willing to make us clean. He reaches out His hand to touch the untouchable. God’s heart is wide. He has other sheep in addition to those in our little group (John 10:16). He is asking for the nations (Ps.2:8). He is the hope of nations. God’s heart is wide. He takes pleasure in the wicked turning to Him and living (Ezekiel18:23). He makes Himself available to people who did not ask for Him, to nations that do not know Him (Isaiah. 65:1). God’s heart is wide.

He made the nations so they would find Him (Acts 17:26-27). He is rescuing a multitude from every tongue and tribe and nation. (Revelation 5:9)

God can make more room in OUR hearts. His love filled Abraham’s heart to say: “Oh that Ishmael would live before You” (Genesis 17:18). He can help our hearts to say, “May the (Arab) descendents of Ishmael live before You.” Yeshua encouraged His listeners to be like a half-pagan Samaritan whose heart was expanded to have mercy on a Jew. He commands us: “Love your neighbor as yourself ” (Leviticus 19:18). He did not promise in vain, “By this will all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another”( John 13:35).

Appreciating the Diversity and Channeling It

All of us have different ingredients in our ethnic/cultural identity: our parentage, our language(s), our nation(s), etc. For some of us these ingredients may be fewer and more focused. For others of us it may seem like we live in a several different worlds. Many of our families have one spouse with Jewish heritage and the other with a different heritage. Some of our families do not have a Jewish family background at all, but have joined themselves to Israel.

Join us in praying that this “melting pot” not be viewed as a liability, but as an opportunity, a doorway for opening our hearts wide to loving and praying for all peoples, from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.

Editor’s note: Tikkun International, the Tents of Mercy Network and Revive Israel do not advocate rejection of medical treatment. This is an independent, personal choice made by Brookie – a choice we respect.

I would like to introduce this story about my friend Brookie with a short poem I read and passed on to her the other day.

You’re such a good influence on me.

You’re like my coach,
my cheerleader,
my marching band
all rolled into one person.

Your confidence in me
gives me confidence in me.

I can never fail
with you in my corner.
I go for the goal
‘cause you’ve got my back.
I give it all I’ve got
because you would expect nothing less.

Having you as my friend makes me a winner.

I have met few people in my life that have caused me to feel the way I do when I am with Brookie. When I read the above poem called “Friendship”, I knew I had to send it to her. It seemed right to include it in this article because she has influenced many people with her ability to see God in everything, and look for the good in all situations.

Brookie came into our lives 10 years ago when she visited “The Galilee Experience” in Tiberias as part of a tour group. Eric and I met her and within five minutes we had made a deep connection. Not long after her visit, God led Brookie to make Aliyah to Israel from her home in California. She moved to Poriya and was one of the first members of the congregation that Eric and I were just starting.

On August 16, 2011 Brookie learned she had stage 4 liver cancer (that date is her spiritual birthday). One of the first things she said to me when she received her diagnosis was that she did not want people to say anything to her except positive words and Scripture to edify her. Brookie has always had a positive attitude, but since this bout with cancer, she has been even more positive and encouraging to others.

Do we really consider that “life and death are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21)? I recently read the following: “Your attitude will determine your actions. Your actions will determine your destiny.” Brookie immediately decided that she would follow this good advice and would not allow the medical reports to control her feelings and outlook. She knows she belongs to God and only He determines if she will live or die. I am reminded of the verse, I am reminded of the verse, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes the heart glad” (Proverbs 12:25). We have been taught that every thought should be held captive to the obedience of the Messiah (I Corinthians 10:5). How true this is; it is our thought life that determines who we become. Thoughts become actions, and actions, right or wrong, can determine the outcome of any situation.

I was there at the beginning when the Lord showed Brookie: “DON’T DOUBT.” I was with her when one of the medical reports showed that her cancer had increased in severity. The doctors were shaking their heads when they gave her this difficult news. But Brookie decided a long time ago that she would neither take chemotherapy or radiation treatment, she would rather explain to the doctors about what she believes, and Who she believes in and how much He loves them. Brookie also believes strongly that every person needs to hear directly from the Lord as to what He would have them do in their own situations.

Brookie has always been healthy; she was never a visitor to doctors or hospitals. In the ten years that I have known her, only once before now has she been sick – a couple of years ago. At that time Brookie experienced violent stomach pains and was hospitalized with an illness called diverticulitis. She was told this problem came from the improper digestion of seeds (such as popcorn etc.). She prayed a prayer that I prayed years ago, asking God to change her taste buds, and He answered her prayer. In that situation Brookie simply believed that God would enable her to change; it is really His power that we need to change any situation.

One sunny day, my grandson and I were walking in downtown Tiberias, when we spotted Brookie. She had just come out of the doctor’s office with another negative report, one that was rather shocking. My grandson spoke God’s life-giving word into her spirit and instantly she was uplifted. We did not realize she was going for a report that morning, but God knew we needed to meet up with her so we could encourage her. Many times when we are in gatherings, someone will come up to me and say, “What is she really going through? How is she really?” I always say the same thing, “What you see is who she is.

She believes that this bout with cancer is to open doors for her to be a witness to the medical professionals and staff God has sent her way.”

Brookie has always been a positive, upbeat person, but since her illness, she has become more direct with people. She is more cheerful and seems to say exactly what is on her mind, always in love, but nothing lingers in her spirit that should not be there. She often explains, “It doesn’t matter to me if I live or if I die. It doesn’t even matter to me if I am healed or if I am not. What does matter is that I will bring glory to God as I walk through this.”

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

When one has an illness in one’s body, I am sure this Scripture becomes more and more important in how we allow thoughts to become actions. This summer Brookie will make a trip to England to see a mutual friend and to speak to many people. There is no doubt in my mind that she will use the condition of her body to encourage all those she meets. Brookie is a witness for the Lord wherever she goes and whatever she does. Her greatest joy is to be able to share the wonderful life that she has belonging to the Lord of Lords and living to advance the kingdom of God.

Even though Brookie has a “terrible” sickness, one that makes most people shudder when they hear the diagnosis, she has a peace in her heart. She knows that God will use her wherever He places her, and she delights in the Lord. Brookie is at peace, either here in the Land of her inheritance or in the home that has been made for her in heaven. It gives me joy to see how she handles every challenge. When the doctors give her discouraging test results Brookie replies, “These are just numbers.” Despite the medical prognosis, she is vivacious, happy, overflowing with joy and she looks very healthy.

Brookie has recently printed out new business cards, which she gives to people who want to stay in touch with her. This is the verse she put on the card, “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will praise God to my last breath” (Psalm l04:33). That tells you everything about her. I hope Brookie’s testimony will encourage any of you who might have received bad reports concerning yourselves or loved ones – only you can determine what kind of attitude you will have. No matter what your situation, remember -He is your shield, your glory and the lifter of your head (Psalm 3:3).

With a friend at this year’s Shavuot Celebration in Jerusalem

Celebrating Thanksgiving with Marge Crowell

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