We are so thankful for your prayers as we are experiencing such support from the Lord. Marta and I began the year in California and we attended the beginning of a conference for those serving overseas. The next day I flew overseas to serve in Israel with a group of 28 people from GAiN USA and with people from Helping Hand Coalition and leaders of groups of Holocaust survivors. There was a huge distribution of 150 wheelchairs, 321 walkers, and 575 canes. In the first week of distribution we also had two eyeglass clinics operating in the meeting places for two local congregations in Haifa, each location helped up to 130 people a day to receive eyeglasses, so about 1,200 people received eyeglasses during first week of combined distribution with the wheelchairs and other items. It was great to distribute in the congregational facilities of two local groups of messianic believers because we could pray for those coming for assistance and we come provide books with the message of faith in Jesus. We handed out over 1000 books in the first week. During that time I was super busy, I was helping the leaders in making decisions and also making 1 to 3 outbound trips a day to deliver wheelchairs and walkers and canes to groups that could not travel to our locations in Haifa. We all were so thankful for the prayers that were offered on our behalf, we had about 45 people serving in the larger facility and 12 people serving in the smaller facility and we did not have any huge problems, when we had small challenges, the Lord gave us wisdom to overcome. This year Helping Hand Coalition organized buses bringing Holocaust survivors from about 7 cities to Haifa and I drove a minivan and trailer to many other cities with the goal of assisting as many people as possible. Because there was so much activity many other leaders from surrounding cities were calling me with requests for mobility items or eyeglasses. I can say it was one of the busiest weeks I have had in serving others. There were rewarding moments such as people asking, "What do I need to pay for these items", I would say, only a smile, and their faces would light up in beautiful smiles. Many of the people receiving wheelchairs would have tears in their eyes as the physical therapist from the U.S. and the interpreter would pray for them as they were fitting them in the wheelchair. Both of the local congregations had thankful hearts to be able to serve with us and to see God touch the lives of His people. The GAiN USA team is such an example, they had just served for a full week in the city of Jericho distributing a full shipping container of mobility items and eyeglasses in a clinic for those that speak Arabic, then with only on day to travel to Haifa and get situated in a hotel they immediately started the distribution an additional shipping container among the Jewish population that speak Russian and Hebrew.
Many of the GAiN team members became sick with colds because of interacting with so many people in the cold winter season, however they kept serving as trusting the Lord for His strength.
Two of the team members stayed an extra 6 weeks to do additional eyeglasses clinics. Donna, who is 76, and Bruce who is 71, are also great examples. They are here to help others with the hope that through the practical help they give people will draw close to the Lord. In the last 3 weeks we have traveled and done 18 eyeglass clinics and helped over 800 people to receive eyeglasses. Marta and our friend Vee flew into Israel on January 28th and they started serving on the next day. Marta is helping to translate and she and Vee are also assisting in the clinics and praying for people. We also are distributing 350 handmade quilts that were gathered and shipped to Israel by Israel Food Outreach. They are beautiful, many are made by women at the Sewing Klatch of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, others are made from groups of believers in the U.S. They pray for the people who are receiving the quilts, we are giving out books with testimonies to those receiving quilts and eyeglasses, in the last few weeks of eyeglasses clinics we have given out over 1,000 books. One elderly lady received eyeglasses and went outside and was watching people walk by, when we walked out she said, "I can see peoples’ faces praise the Lord!" We asked her if she was a believer and she said yes and we prayed for her. Marta had the opportunity to share with a man named Rudolf and she prayed for him as well, he had a friend who was a believer and who had just died and Rudolf was considering a relationship with the Lord.
Obviously in a relatively short update we can not share all of the blessing of the last weeks of ministry but we want to say thank you for praying for us and for those that help us in additional ways, thank you, we are honored to serve the Lord and to serve others.
This week please pray as we are traveling to Nazareth to give quilts and eyeglasses to ghetto survivors, then for the first time we are going to Hebron and to Bethlehem to distribute eyeglasses among those that speak Arabic, the majority are Muslims. Marta and Vee return to California on Saturday the 16. I will continue to serve with Bruce and Donna in Israel. On February 22 I am traveling to Nigeria to serve with Pastor Kefas (we helped him start a Calvary Chapel in Lagos in 2009) Kefas and I will also travel to Abuja to teach and serve with Pastor Prince Lawrence as we have a leadership conference there.
Pray for my safety and for protection from Malaria and others sicknesses and dangers there.
I will be in Nigeria until March 12th, then I fly back to California. We are still praying for Jamie to become stronger, we are also praying for the Lord to direct us in His will.
We are grateful to the Lord for His goodness and provision, we received a large offering the month of January and though we do not know who helps us financially, the Lord does and He is faithful to reward and bless those that honor Him. Hebrews 6:10-12
With thankful hearts,
Don and Marta