Tag Archives: Ultra-orthodox rabbi

DPM Update – 2017 Oct – Israel trip report

29 Oct

Dear Friends

Israel trip report
Our 3 week Israel trip with Dave and Ann Clark was an amazing experience… an exploratory experience… and a Spirit led experience.  It was an amazing honor to travel with them and get to experience a few frontier dynamics with orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews.  Each of us had been to Israel before and done all the sight-seeing tours.  This time was about relationship.  We have some cool testimonies… and made some new life-long friends during this trip.  It was rather exhilarating to search for and find those who God wanted to join us with… and then sow our hearts, our time, and our finances into ‘ground’ that the Lord identified.

You may remember that we had significant God-signs to establish our mission, but we were dependent upon God to work out the details. (“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” – Prov 16:9)  This wasn’t our first rodeo of walking by faith, but we definitely went to the next level on this trip. 

Every morning the four of us met in our room to worship and pray and ask the Lord what we should do that day. Then we prophesied over the city and engaged angelic help… and have several crazy cool stories to tell of their ministry.

Each day was fascinating to watch as uncommon ‘doors’ presented themselves to us.  We found ourselves in homes and synagogues and in meetings which surprised us… and surprised others as we later told them of our experiences.  We would sometimes say to each other after an unusual experience, “You just can’t make this stuff up!”  Sort of like trying to mix oil and water, many of these kinds of meetings just don’t happen in the normal course of life; but ‘with God all things are possible’ (Mk 10:27).  We made significant relational inroads into the orthodox Jewish people, the societal norms and with rabbis.

Our agenda was two-fold; 1) to create meaningful relationships with leaders of the Jewish culture such that would create a trusting bond of friendship between ‘us and them’ and 2) add value to people by giving significant and meaningful financial contribution to people who were truly in need and who we could have ongoing relationship.  And it happened! 

1.  We met with at least 3 orthodox rabbis and several families which led to meaningful relationship based on friendship and mutual values.

a) We attended a couple Yom Kippur synagogue(English) / knesset(Hebrew) / shaul(Yiddish) meetings to create some bridges of peace and support.

b) We participated in an extremely rare 2-day conference of orthodox rabbis and Christians which culminated in freedom, much music and dancing, mutual respect and real love.  Several rabbis spoke at this conference (including Prime Minister Netanyahu’s son-in-law).  Both, Christian and orthodox Jewish music bands led the conference, with Debbie and I leading one of the worship sessions.  The overwhelming consensus by all, was that this gathering should happen again and we should build on what the Lord did among us. 

c) We met in the home of Rabbi Joseph Ritchie for a meal with his family and a few friends.  Our exchange was gracious, affirming and welcoming without any sense of pressure or agenda.

d) We met in the homes of 3 different orthodox families for evenings of friendship and a Shabbat meal.  These joy-filled evenings were a highlight!! They were more rewarding than we expected with lasting friendships established over laughter, food, prayer and study of the Torah and Tanakh.

2.  We met with several people who are giving themselves to help orphans and those in poverty.

a) We met twice with an almost legendary lady, Rachel Chalkowsky (nicknamed ‘Bambi’).  She especially touched our hearts.  As a mid-wife, Bambi has personally delivered over 40,000 babies in her lifetime.  She and her husband live very frugally, and she primarily serves those who can’t afford it… which includes serving people from a variety of different religions and ethnicity.  We were impressed with how she serves anywhere the need presents itself… and were delighted to hear her heart and of her value system for determining which couples truly need ongoing financial help.  We felt really good about Bambi’s work because she has no big organizational overhead costs.  Our financial help went directly to the needs.  We gave a substantial gift to this lady and her work… and expect to continue a relationship with her.

b) Rabbi Stern oversees Girls Town Jerusalem girls orphanage that hosts about 500 young ladies of different nationalities and ethnicities.  This benevolent organization is amazing in its commitment to serve the girls for as long as they want to stay.  They provide the basics of food, clothing and housing but also provide special needs services such as medical, dental braces, and even fund their weddings, etc.  Some girls even stay in the orphanage to live and work there after they come of age.  So it’s more of a family situation.  We were able to leave a gift with the orphanage that touches so many lives.

c) We wanted to leave a tangible gift for each gal, so we purchased 500 little coin purses and added 4 shekels to each bag.  Debbie shared with them that God opened a door for the 4 of us to come.  A ‘door’ is the picture that is used to denote the dalet (the 4th letter of the Hebrew aleph bet).  The 4 shekels were like ‘memory stones’ to express how much God loves them, that He would always provide and  that He would open doors for them, too.  Ann and Debbie personally passed out the gifts and loved on the girls.

d) In this same girls orphanage, we met a very special young lady named, Abigail.  After Debbie gave her a few hugs, this early teenage girl quickly warmed up and asked all of us to come to her room. She had been learning guitar, so she proudly played a song for us.  Her face just beamed.  Later we learned that she struggles with depression and moods and sits alone for hours in their courtyard.  Our small gestures of love helped her ‘come alive’.  The staff commented that the smile and joy Abigail had while we were there was not her ‘normal’.  When we visited the orphanage the 2nd time, we gave a gift to be used toward formal guitar lessons… kind of as an on-going gesture of love from us… and as a way of giving her a form of therapy for her heart… (music).  With limited English, Abigail sincerely gushed with appreciation, “I’m very happy, happy, happy!!!”  We will be checking up on Abigail soon to follow-up with our friendship.

Other points of interest
Jerusalem is an enigma.  Competing religions vie for the city and more specifically, for the Temple Mount.  And each one of those religions has many factions (just like ours).  Go figure!  But for the most part, they all work it out in some semblance of peaceful co-existence.  We felt safe traveling at will and almost anywhere we wanted.

Mediterranean food is inviting and quite healthy.  Breakfasts are most unusual with veggies (eggplant, squash, cucumbers, peppers, olives, hummus, etc), cheese, fruit and varieties of fish. The people are very friendly and most speak at least some English.  We learned the dynamics of horn honking from the cabbies… sometimes horns are meant to motivate others… and sometimes they are used just to release stress. 🙂  Looking at novel merchandise is fun, but after you’ve seen the wares of a dozen vendors they all begin to look alike. 

A phenomenon happens every holy day (depending on the religion).  That religious society shuts down, city-wide.  No trains, no cabs, no commerce and no restaurants operate during these times. The only cabs operational are those from the other religions.  But when the official holy day is over (which is determined by when three stars can be seen in the night sky) everything re-starts, the restaurants open, streets come alive with hustle and bustle, recreation and the evening street entertainers… and it continues until after midnight.   Watching the rabbis dance while in their unique clothing, and hearing them sing to EDM (Electronic Digital Music) is a hoot!!  But the crowds easily join in the dancing (girls and guys separate, of course) and it’s fun to observe. 

Our hotel was strategically in the city center.  Local life happened all around us, especially in Zion Square directly in front of our room.  The four of us integrated with local culture as much as we had time for… and cared to.  Most people were friendly… and eager to help when we asked question.  It was a continual adventure to push beyond the ‘known’ each day.

But three weeks came and went quickly… and seemed to end all too suddenly.  With the accomplishments, memories and relationships that we’re bringing back with us, we feel that our mission was more than a success.  We experienced more than what we thought we were going to encounter, so we’re ready to do it again and take it to the next level.  Can’t wait to see how the Lord will lead us to follow-up with our ‘mission’ in Jerusalem.

A blessing
“Lord, we bless the deposits that have gone both ways on our journey.  We bless the seeds of Your Spirit, seeds of friendship, and seeds of money that have been given to others.  May Your Presence cause each of those ‘plantings’ to spring up unto Eternal life in each life.  Amen.”

If you are inspired to help in either of these areas (mid-wife ministry or orphanage), we’d be happy to channel 100% of your gifts along with ours directly to the needs.

Thank you SO much for praying for us and for caring for us.  Our time was grace-filled.  We felt ‘covered’, empowered and clearly ‘led’ throughout our whole trip.  Thanks again!!!

If you care to view pictures of our Israel experiences, click here: Israel trip – Facebook album

Our love and blessings

Mark and Debbie
with Dave & Ann Clark

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Dwelling Place Ministries
Hendrickson
11011 Olive St
KC, MO 64131
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DPM Update – 2017 Aug – Israel trip

30 Aug

Dear Friends

The God-adventures continue

In a few weeks, Deb and I will be joining some of our fellow God-adventurers Dave and Ann Clark, to make a trip to Israel for about 3 weeks, starting Sept 26 through Oct 17.  This happens over the dates of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot).  There will be thousands of Christians and Messianic Jews in Jerusalem at that time.  We have many friends in Jerusalem and no doubt we’ll attend some of the Christian/Messianic Jewish meetings, but that is not the primary reason for our trip.

The Lord has quite unexpectedly put the orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews on our heart and in our path.  It’s not something that had even been in our thinking.  But through a on-line video series… and then through some rather impressive God signs, we’ve become quite confident in our unusual mission.

We had no idea of the level of poverty and strain some of the Jewish sects experience in the pursuit of the religious endeavors.  Literally, there are hundreds of thousands who seriously struggle for the basic needs of life.  A 5-part video entitled: Haredi: The Ultra-orthodox society in Israel communicates the philosophical ambitions and the practical struggles they face as they wrestle with religion versus the basics of life.  To some, the issue seems easy to solve… (like, husbands should just stop their intensive studying of the Torah and get a job) but to those who are gripped in this philosophical view, their intensely ‘devout’ lifestyle creates huge impositions for their families.

Give value and bless with open-hands

Obviously, our mission will not be to proselytize, but rather to give love and value… and offer an open hand of help to some of the hurting families.  After all, through Abraham, we are ‘brothers’.  And since all humans have amazing worth, we feel compelled to come alongside and support them in whatever ways God opens up to us.  That briefly described objective may seem a little ambiguous, but we’re quite familiar with God-adventures with this type of M.O.  Past testimonies from His invites for us to “come see”… coupled with our current confirmations, has given us much faith that we’re on the right path.

Recently Debbie and I were in Los Angeles and just ‘per chance’ we met Fred & Wendy Wu who are taking a group to Jerusalem at the SAME TIME that we are going.  They have the SAME objectives… in fact, they’ve been cultivating relationships with the orthodox Jews for several years.  This year will be the first year that they are doing some JOINT meetings… and we’re invited to participate publically and in the rabbi’s homes.  This surprise development just happened to ‘pop up’ AFTER our mission and dates were already established.  We expect many more of these divine appointments will happen all along our way.

More recently we met a couple times with orthodox rabbi A.J. Kushner, in Canton, OH, who candidly shared the needs, the hurdles, the impossibilities, and the culture… all issues that we need to be aware of as we put our feet on the ground in Israel.  It was a very productive time of learning how to interact with that religious culture.

Even though we’re quite certain that we’re on a God-appointed mission, we still feel like: “Man plans his way but God orders his steps.” (Prov 16:9)  In other words, we’re confident of some big picture goals, but we still need the leading of the Lord regarding connections, directions, timings, daily schedules, etc.

So we’re inviting you to hold us in prayer and let us know as the Lord gives you impressions or connections… or any other innovative ideas.  For Dave & Ann and Debbie & I, our mission is to impart love and value.  That will undoubtedly involve giving money, practical gifts, acts of service and kindness… eating with them in their homes and identifying with their families, their passions and their struggles.  We also believe we’ll be in some hospitals and orphanages.  In the process, when the impact of genuine love manifests in the form of tears and true friendship, we’re confident that all of our hearts will enlarge as we see the God-love-factor break through boundaries of religion and culture.

St Francis of Assisi said, “Preach always, and if necessary, use words.”  We will be exploring all possible ways to show love, and maybe… quite possibly… love will overcome the barriers.  After all, didn’t Jesus say, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another.” (Jn 15:35)  

There you have it, a brief overview of our big upcoming adventure.  Thank you for your care and prayer as our foursome team is on this mission to open our hands with love to melt the barriers, paradigms and mindsets in all of us.

With love,

Mark & Debbie

Dave & Ann Clark

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Dwelling Place Ministries

Hendrickson

11011 Olive St

KC, MO 64131

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DPM home: www.dpmkc.org

Twitter: www.twitter.com/marklh

Itinerary: www.dpmkc.org/itinerary

Contribute: www.dpmkc.org/donate

Blog: www.marklhen.wordpress.com

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