- “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,Dear Friends,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.” Micah 5:2 (NIV)
The above prophetic scripture was written in the 8th century BC and declared that Jesus Christ would come into the earth to rule and reign. Our Messiah was born in a small manger in an insignificant village called Bethlehem. His birth and subsequent death and resurrection continue to be the most significant events in human history and make the nation of Israel a focal point in global discussions.
As you are receiving this newsletter, I am traveling in Israel with a small team from Alpha Relief to visit the place where it all began and, according to scripture, will all end. In Revelation 22:13 Jesus declares, “ I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
What you may not be aware of is that in Israel today, Christians are facing persecution in an unprecedented manner.Christians lost their majority status in Bethlehem soon after Yasser Arafat assumed control in the mid-90s. According to the Washington Post, the population has continued to drop leaving a mere 15 percent today. An estimated 10,000 Christians are all that remain in Jesus’ birthplace. But it has not stopped there. Because of persecution, an estimated 1,000 Christians now leave Bethlehem each year.
Sayeeda Warsi, the first Muslim elected to the British parliament, recently commented in a speech at Georgetown University, “A mass exodus is taking place, on a biblical scale. In some places, there is a real danger that Christianity will become extinct.”
Would you please take a moment to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are facing persecution across the Middle East and especially in the nation of Israel, the birthplace of our Christian faith? Please pray for our team as we seek the Lord for His plan on how we can help make a difference. Without prayer and partnership Alpha Relief would not exist. It is a simple fact. We need Him and we need you to accomplish the work of serving the persecuted church around the world.
Sometimes the darkness of persecution can feel overwhelming. There is still so much need across the world. But as we look ahead to the next year of ministry at Alpha Relief, it is also encouraging to take a look back at all the things the Lord accomplished this year alone. In 2013, I am thankful to report that with your help the following incredible projects were completed:
Rescue and ReliefFood Aid70 tons to NK and Burma for 10 underground churches, 250 families, and over 100 orphansRescues7 North Korean believers rescued, most given new lives in South Korea
ScriptureOver 20,000 forms of scripture distributed serving over 80,000 members of the underground churchSafe HousesEstimated 100 North Korean leaders discipled and given living supplies for their families and churches back homeUnderground Training Center
In China, more than 1,000 leaders equipped and trained to serve their churches
EvangelismRestricted Country OutreachMinistry teams in 10 cities trained and given resources to evangelize North KoreansUnderground Missionaries
3 native Burmese missionaries supported
Underground missionary training school support for 25 young Burmese leaders
Church plant support for unreached Tribal People Group in ChinaRefugee Evangelism Outreach
In Denver, 10 Burmese families clothed, fed, and presented the Gospel messageMay these numbers encourage you as much as they have encouraged us.You have taken up the call to rescue, to serve, to clothe, to feed, to equip, and to bring light into the darkness. As we look both behind us and at the road that lies ahead, what we feel most is HOPE!
It is our great joy to journey with you and we would now like to continue that invitation. Before the end of the year I would like for you to help with a special year-end gift that would offer continued HOPE to our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.
- If you have a burden for helping widows, orphans, and those needing escape from persecution, please give to the Rescue and Relief Fund. Just $25 can feed a North Korean Family for a month!
- If your passion is to see Bibles and other Christian materials get into the hands of believers who are denied them, please send a gift to the Discipleship Fund. Your donation of $100 could provide enough Bibles for 10 Chinese house churches!
- If you have a heart for evangelism and church planting in persecuted countries, please donate to the Evangelism Fund. A gift of $500 can give an undercover missionary resources for half a year!
As a reminder, all gifts to Alpha Relief are tax deductible and receipts will be sent out at the end of January for your tax records. You can give online HERE
On behalf of the Alpha Relief staff and the thousands we serve together, thank you for your incredible partnership. May you and your family be filled with HOPE as we celebrate our Savior’s birth this season.
More information: http://alpharelief.org/persecution-in-israel/ / http://www.opendoorsusa.org/press/2013/December/Violence-Weary-Iraqi-Christians-Cant-Celebrate-Christmas-in-Peace / http://www.persecution.org/?s=Christmas&x=27&y=14
SIGN THIS PETITION TO HELP THE PERSECUTED CHURCH: http://theveteranssite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/vet/petition/ChristianOppression
DONATIONS FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH: https://partners.opendoorsuk.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=473 / http://www.gfa.org/gift/ / http://www.gfa.ca/gift/ / http://www.christianaid.org/News/2013/mir20131219.aspx / https://secure.persecution.com/projects_feature.aspx?categoryID=72 / http://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/shoebox-gifts-for-a-storm-ravaged-nation/ / http://www.vom.com.au/christmas-care/ / http://www.persecution.net/special-funds.htm
MORE DONATIONS: http://billygraham.org/landingpages/christmas2013/ / http://www.heifer.org/gift-catalog/index.html?msource=KIK6J13001&gclid=CISQrKDiybsCFXPNOgod31wAqA / https://secure2.convio.net/ifcj/site/Donation2?df_id=9800&9800.donation=form1&s_src=HP_SS4&s_subsrc=EAS1312XXEFXX / http://www.drjamesdobson.org/helping-families/fhf-stories / https://donate.bucknerfoundation.org/SSLPage.aspx?pid=230 / https://secure.nokidhungry.org/site/Donation2?df_id=9480&9480.donation=form1 / http://fmichristmas.org/ / http://www.worldvision.org/ / https://theveteranssite.greatergood.com/store/vet/item/54069/
GIFTS HOLIDAYS CHRISTMAS: http://israel365.com/top-13-israel-videos-of-2013/ / http://www.vergenetwork.org/2013/11/18/advent-book/ / http://www.outreach.com/campaigns/the-son-of-god.aspx / http://www.faithgateway.com/christmasgiftbooks#.Urn4kvRDsXs / http://www.christiancopyrightsolutions.com/ideakits/
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CHRISTMAS: http://www.vergenetwork.org/?s=Christmas / http://www.faithgateway.com/?s=Christmas&submit=Search / http://www.denisonforum.org/component/search/?searchword=Christmas&searchphrase=all&Itemid=9999 / http://www.godtube.com/search/?q=Christmas / http://jesus-loves-you.org/?s=Christmas / http://www.churchleaders.com/search-results.html?cx=008786035087005900921%3Axmnlru00nka&cof=FORID%3A11%3BNB%3A1&ie=UTF-8&q=christmas&siteurl=www.churchleaders.com%2Fworship%2Fworship-videos%2F156417-hillsong-born-is-the-king-it-s-christmas.html%3Futm_source%3Dnewsletter%26utm_medium%3Demail%26utm_campaign%3Dcl_topvideos%26utm_content%3DCL%2BTodaysVideo%2B-%2B20131224&ref=&ss=4297j5516507j7
http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/IsraelExperience/Religion/Pages/Celebrating-Christmas-in-Israel-2013.aspx / http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/president-peres-delivers-festive-greetings-christians-world/ / http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/jerusalem-helps-christian-residents-prepare-christmas/ / http://www.photoshow.com/watch/TM8CU7UX / http://www.chosenpeople.com/main/holidays-and-festivals/752-prophecies-from-the-hebrew-scriptures-on-the-birth-of-messiah / http://us.icej.org/content/whats-big-deal / http://us.icej.org/news/special-reports/restore-hope-time-christmas
JESUS CHRISTS BORN IN ISRAEL FOR ALL THE NATIONS!
GOD BLESSES YOU AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!