Hope in the Midst of Tragedy

The fall is an exciting time of ministry for us, especially because we have the opportunity to present the gospel through the Jewish fall festivals. The first of these festivals is the New Year (Rosh Hashanah), the second is the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and the third is the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). Each one predicts the person and work of the Messiah in such beautiful ways. I call these holy days a Roadmap to Redemption since these significant events are prophetic and point to greater fulfillment in the Messiah.

Your prayers for our staff during the high holiday season are deeply appreciated as I have seen more Jewish people come to faith during this season than at any other time of the year.

OUR 9/11 AND THE NEW MIDDLE EAST CONFERENCE

We are about to begin a conference honoring the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. We have entitled the event 9/11 and the New Middle East. 

Zhava and I will be your hosts for the evening, along with Tom and JoAnn Doyle of Uncharted Ministries. Our speakers include Anne Graham Lotz, Joel C. Rosenberg, Dr. Darrell Bock, and Dr. Michael Rydelnik. We will also hear testimonies from those who served and survived the 9/11 tragedy, including representatives of the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Agency, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, and local pastors who gave up their regular ministries to care for the survivors of the fallen.

Marty Goetz and his daughter, Misha, will lead the music and worship.

I experienced the 9/11 tragedy firsthand, so this conference will be very personal for me as that day was a spiritual turning point in our ministry among the Jewish people of New York City. I have many stories to tell, but thought I would introduce you to Darlene Line, a dear friend and Chosen People Ministries staff member who was working for the United States government at the time. Allow me to share some of Darlene’s testimony in her own words.

DARLENE

On June 2, 1991, I was baptized and entrusted my life to the Lord. However, my turning point toward full-time service is linked to the egregious acts of September 11, 2001.

Throughout my career, I have been in numerous situations that required conflict and crisis management. Nothing could have prepared me to be emotionally ready to handle the recovery assignments of 9/11. While working amidst the tragic remains at both the World Trade Center (WTC) Ground Zero and the Staten Island New York Landfill, I and other fellow law enforcement officials and first responders (firefighters, medical personnel, and construction workers) struggled through that horrific tragedy. The overwhelming desire to help, to do more, was paramount. I recall looking beyond the malodorous smoke into the deep crater called the “atrium” where the twin towers once stood. I was reminded that my Lord God is Sovereign, and He prevails. Psalm 18:30, “As for God, His Way is blameless; the word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”

This atrium later became known as “God’s House,” marked by bold, orange letters on a lonely façade where 6 WTC once stood. “God’s House” became a place where many visited to cry, pray, and encourage one another. It was an area where individuals acknowledged God, and there was a sense of unity amongst the rescue crews. It gave credence to the adage, “There are no atheists in fox holes.” A particular cross was in the center of all the devastation in the atrium. It bore a resemblance to the cross at Calvary, and many who labored at Ground Zero signed their names on it. This cross was pictured in many periodicals and kept as a remembrance at the site. It is now in the World Trade Center Museum.

Darlene has served faithfully with Your Mission to the Jewish People for more than a decade, and God has used her to reach more Jewish people than I can count. I am sad that 9/11 happened, but in Darlene, we see just one incredible example of the power of God touching the life of one person who made a kingdom difference for so many.

I love this lesson Darlene learned through the experience:

During this time, Jesus again proved Himself faithful to me. When a situation appears to be beyond our control, it is not beyond God’s. I prayed with confidence that God would act according to His character and with infinite power. He responded to my petitions. I felt helpless, but, praise God, I was not hopeless because of the power of His Holy Spirit.

HONORING OUR HEROES

Darlene would never think of herself as a hero. She was humbly doing her duty for the country and ultimately for the Lord, who used this terrible circumstance to grab hold of her heart for His divine purposes.

One of the ways you can join me in honoring Darlene and others who risked their lives in serving at Ground Zero is to pray for our first responders—for those who served at the World Trade Center and the many who have been faithfully working through the recent pandemic. They are still doing what they can to keep us healthy and safe.

I also hope you will be able to attend the conference, either in person or online. You can register for either venue by going to 911theconference.com. Or you can call our main number in New York City, 212-223-2252. You can also respond on the attached reply card. I know the conference will bless you.

By the way, you can also involve your entire church or Bible study group by becoming a satellite site. There is no cost to you or your church to host the conference locally. You can find additional information that you can even download for your pastor by visiting 911theconference.com/satellite.

WHY IS CHOSEN PEOPLE MINISTRIES SPONSORING THIS EVENT?

In many ways, the attacks on 9/11 created a deeper bond between New York City and Jerusalem, two world-class cities and global symbols of modern Jewish life. Chosen People Ministries is a ministry born in New York City, and we love this city. Our Mission also has tremendous ties in Israel, with a staff of twenty-five people. We maintain centers in the greater Tel Aviv area, in Jerusalem, and throughout the country.

Though very different and far from each other, I have friends and family in both metro areas. We cannot think about what happened on 9/11 without also thinking of the many ways Israel is vulnerable to the same acts of terrorism reflected in the events of September 11, 2001.

Those horrific acts forged a new union between the United States and Israel as, more than ever, we joined forces for the sake of freedom, standing against global terrorism, and creating a deeper alliance between our countries.

We pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6) and for all who live in Israel. We also pray for the peace and restoration of New York City and the millions of Jewish people who live here.

We also pray that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who loves all people, will make peace in Israel and the Middle East, ending terrorism, and bringing restoration and peace to each one of us.

AN INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE

Jesus promised a bright and glorious future for His kinsmen according to the flesh when He told a group of His fellow Jewish people that He loved them even though they rejected Him as the Messiah:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
(Matthew 23:37–39)

The good news is that any rejection was temporary as a day will come when Jewish people turn to Jesus, and He will return. WOW! What a glorious event it will be! This sure encourages my heart and hopefully yours too.

Darlene and so many other transformed Jewish and Gentile believers who serve with Chosen People Ministries are committed to bringing the message of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to the Jewish people first and also to the Gentiles.

So, what can we do today? We can let the world know that Jesus died, rose, and will return to reclaim the world He created. Your Mission to the Jewish People is ready to do its part. We have missionaries strategically in cities with critical concentrations of Jewish people, and we will continue this great work because of your care, your sacrifice, and your support for our work through your prayers, finances, and love.

Thank you for caring and praying!

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Filed under evangelism, Jews and Christians, New York City

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