THE FRIENDS OF ISRAEL GOSPEL MINISTRY
NEW ZEALAND | FALL 2020
Director of International Ministries
Meet at the Mountain
Never before has there been a wider door open into the hearts of young Israelis. Seeking to find their purpose in life and the answer to what next? These young people have turned to backpacking around the globe to experience freedom and find clarity.
Each year, several thousand young Israelis journey into the heart of New Zealand. Our FOI-New Zealand office, spearheaded by Simon Lawry, is welcoming the Israeli backpackers by introducing a new ministry called Meet at the Mountain (MATM). Located in a tranquil setting just 45 minutes from the start of one of the most popular walking tracks, MATM offers a free three-night stay providing physical and spiritual comfort to backpackers along their way.
Our FOI-NZ team and FOI ministry representative Becky Meissner have faithfully kick-started this incredible opportunity, and none of it would have been possible without your prayerful and financial partnership. It is invaluable in sharing the love of Jesus Christ with Israelis who are searching for the truth.
A Warm Welcome to Israeli Backpackers
In Israel, young people typically take an extended time to travel the globe, especially once they’ve completed their commitment in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It’s an opportune time to explore, grow, and ponder their lives—making them especially willing to engage in spiritual conversations about God.
Over the course of just two weeks, 40 young Israeli backpackers were welcomed to the MATM camp. The FOI-NZ team greeted them warmly, and on Shabbat a special dinner was enjoyed by all. Many meaningful conversations about the Messiah began during a meal around the table. During Purim, Becky baked batches of Hamentaschen (Haman’s ears), a symbolic food eaten during this festival, which was an extra special touch that didn’t go unnoticed.
In Search of Something Greater
As travelers arrived at MATM’s location at MiCamp—Ruapehu Christian Camp, they were eager and expectant for their upcoming hike. They were always respectful, receptive, and open to conversations about the Lord. One couple asked Becky if she wanted to take the hike with them, and she was thrilled to. In their conversations, she mentioned the gospel, and they asked her what the gospel was. She had many opportunities to share the message of the Messiah, how He died on a cross to take away the sin of the world so those who believe in Him can have eternal life.
The FOI-NZ team spent time with the backpackers playing games, playing instruments, eating, transporting, and enjoying spiritual discussions. For certain, the hearts of the young Israeli people are open as they search for something greater.
Experiences That Leave a Lasting Impact
For the three days the travelers spent at MATM, many had experiences they won’t soon forget. They enjoyed “magical” nights walking through a path lined by glow worms under the dark, starry sky, described as “the best part of their trip.” The Shabbat dinners were also very well received. Thoughtful and fun discussions filled the room, and each person brought a dish to share. Finally, these travelers walked right beside an active volcano, one of God’s most majestic creations. That certainly leaves a lasting impact.
In just three days, memories were made that won’t soon be forgotten. As amazing as they are, those memories aren’t the most important ones we want them to remember.
An Eternal Investment Into God’s Beloved People
Simon, Jo, and Becky were faithful to share the Messiah’s love with each and every passerby. In just two short weeks, God sent 40 people through Meet at the Mountain who experienced the love of Jesus Christ and heard the gospel! Our prayer is that the gospel and the loving-kindness of the staff are what the young Israeli backpackers remember most. We pray those who are religious, Jewish, non-religious, agnostic, and those still searching would ultimately find rest in knowing they have an eternal Father in heaven who loves them and has a purpose for their life.
As Simon pointed out in his reflections after the two-week Pilot Program concluded, “the ability to provide a high quality hospitality experience that would see hundreds of young Jewish travelers stop by is made possible by the love and generosity of Bible-believing Christians who have a heart for the Jewish people and their salvation.”
None of this would be made possible without you.
Today, I would like to ask you to prayerfully consider making a generous donation to this incredible ministry. We can trust that God is still in control and that the FOI-NZ team will use this time to create an even better experience for future travelers when the current restrictions loosen again.
We believe this ministry is one that is near to God’s heart. A lot can happen in three days, don’t you think? Once these travelers hear the gospel, we can trust that God will use all things for His good.