Stephen stood in the hallway of the ministry center where our team is serving, his eyes welling up slightly. His wiry Middle-Eastern frame struck a sharp contrast to my 6-foot-1, 250-plus pounds. “I read what you wrote in the thank-you note,“ he said. And I could tell I’d struck a chord. He’d been blessed and encouraged.
From the start, I wanted to work in the kitchen with Stephen (not his real name). Being a person who loves to cook, I wanted to learn about the Mediterranean dishes he serves. So I jumped at the chance when it came.
Unlike when we were in India, we are here primarily to serve in an indirect capacity. We are here to serve those who serve the Lord in reaching the people of Israel for Jesus. So this is how I found myself spending hours in the kitchen with this man who cooks for this ministry’s staff and volunteers. This is how I found myself whipping potatoes for Yeshua.
Our team has weeded, weed-whacked, and swept the grounds; cared for the at-risk children in order to give a break to the regular care-givers; made many small repairs to the aging facility; and cleaned the place from top to bottom … repeatedly. And we’ve done all of this for the Lord.
Service is a big part of being sent “to the nations”. As a team we serve one another, and we serve the ones to whom we are sent. In an earlier blog post I mentioned how the short-term must always serve the long-term. Sometimes it’s preaching the Gospel, sometimes it’s praying for the sick, and, sometimes, it’s whipping potatoes.
Next week we’ll go to Jerusalem and leave this ministry behind. We’ll be leaving pieces of our hearts behind as well.
Stephen was blessed because someone took the time and effort to not only work along side him in the kitchen but to recognize his contribution. As a man raised among Jews who did not know Jesus, who came to the Lord against the odds, he was blessed to be seen and affirmed as Jesus sees him. I am blessed by being here with him and the multitude of Jewish and Arab believers who work this rocky soil together.
Please pray for the believers in Jerusalem, and please pray for the Messianic Jews and the Arab Christians throughout Israel. Please pray for the Russian immigrants and their children. And remember people like Stephen are here in the Holy Land and, as true followers of Yeshua, they are in the minority.