Preparing for Israel Missions Trip July 3rd-19th 2013

June 5, 2013

Hello! My name is Savannah and I have had the privilege of just recently joining Clovis Christian Church! I am excited to be able to get to know everyone at the church and build relationships! I suppose I should give a quick introduction to myself. I am 28 years old and live in Clovis in my own apartment. I was born and raised in Fresno but lived in the Bay area for about 5 years for my college education. I attended Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, CA where I received my AS degree in nursing and then transferred to Samuel Merritt College in Oakland, CA to receive my BS degree as a Registered nurse. I moved back here in 2009 and received a job as a RN at Saint Agnes Hospital on the Medical/Oncology floor. I have been there for about 3.5 years. My favorite thing to do for fun is to read books, study the Bible, and journal. I hang out with my two younger brothers, Michael and Max, for fun as well as my parents. My favorite authors are C.S.Lewis, Bonhoeffer, A.W Tozer, and Elizabeth Elliot. My favorite hang out is the “Kuppa Joy” coffee shop in downtown Clovis. If anyone would like to join me at “Kuppa Joy,” I’m usually here on my days off utilizing their internet (I do not have internet, facebook, or a television, so yes, I have a lot of time on my hands) and enjoying their amazing coffee!

Now for the purpose of this blog: MISSIONS. I recently heard on the radio a man from America who has been imprisoned in a Middle Eastern country. He wrote a letter to the Church and multiple Christian radio stations have read the letter and posted it on the internet. This particular letter truly pierced my heart and felt the LORD’s still, small voice. While nursing is a wonderful career, I found myself burdened; a burden that felt like there was more that He wants to accomplish in and through My life. Nursing without the LORD’s anointing and His work being accomplished is vain and futile. That’s how I felt. In addition, the reality of how short life really is and how long eternity is, set into my mind and heart. As a result, I applied to go to Israel for two weeks this summer – July 3rd-19th. One of my memory verses is Proverbs 16:9 “The mind of man plans his steps, but the LORD directs his ways.” What a wonderful Truth to realize the Sovereignty of our KING!

My excitement is high and my nerves even higher. If the LORD brings to your mind and heart to pray for me and my team, please do! I’ll be going with a Christian organization called “Operation Mobilization.” I’ll be traveling by myself and will not meet my team members until I arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel. From Tel Aviv, we take a train to Haifa.

As far as the type of ministry we will be doing, the only instructions we are given at this point is to “be flexible” as the needs of the people and external circumstances could change on a day to day basis. The ministry will be however, “outreach” and “evangelism” to the various peoples of extreme faiths in Israel. They will train us when we arrive how to communicate and outreach to the different faiths which comprises of orthodox Judaism and the extreme Muslim faiths. Apparently, it may be outreaching door-to-door, on the beach, and out in various public settings. I believe we will be staying at a church, sleeping on the ground (we are asked to bring our sleeping bags), and making our own meals together! It is a very high heat and humid environment where it could get as high as 122 degrees!! Please pray, as the LORD leads.

I have been reading up on the Muslim and Islam religion and culture. Did you know that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world besides Christianity!!?? This completely caught my attention and spurred me to research the religion as to how it was created and its history. Most important however, is how to outreach to Muslims. So far, it has been incredibly fascinating for me to read upon. I hope to learn some Arabic before I leave and read up on the faith and culture as much as possible so that I am prepared. Here are some facts that you may find useful and of interest when outreaching to Muslims:

-Don’t be flippant with religious phrases or with GOD, the Bible and the Qur’an.

-Islam believes in only one GOD and they do believe in Jesus, but they believe He was only a prophet and not the SON OF GOD; this is hard for them to understand that the Almighty GOD could or would ever come down in human flesh for this is seen as a “weak” GOD. Islam is about victory, works, and always honoring “Allah” ( the Arabic word for God) by do His Will.

-Muslims tend to love to talk about Jesus! They love studying about the parables and what He said. However, any mention of Jesus as the “Son of God” will bring about arguments and resistance.

-The majority of Muslims have not read their Qur’an and most of what they believe is on traditional values and “folk Islam” which consists of superstitions.

-Arabic is considered the holy language and the only language that the Qur’an should be read and recited; any other language is just an interpretation.

-Refer to Jesus with a title of respect such as “Jesus the Christ” or “Messiah.”

-Do not write in the Qur’an or the Bible for this is a sign of disrespect.

-Don’t walk in front of a praying Muslim.

-When praying, stand, kneel or hold out your hands with palms upward – this is how they know that we Christians truly do pray to our GOD. Many Muslims do not think that Christians pray because we don’t necessarily have to kneel or outreach our hands in order for GOD to hear us.

-Do not eat in front of any Muslim friends during Ramadan.

-Honor and shame is what Muslims see, not right or wrong.

-A man by the name of Muhammad received a supernatural revelation from the angel Gabriel which is what sparked the Islam faith. Islam means “to submit” or “submission.” Islam is all about submitting to Allah’s will.

-Prayer is a key factor in relating to Muslims.

-Every Muslim believes his religion is directly related to Abraham. They believe that it was Ishmael whom Abraham was asked to sacrifice on the altar.

-The vast majority of Muslims desire to live a safe and peaceful life.

-The most serious heresy for a Muslim is to leave Islam.

-Do not use the terms Son of God, Christian, or church. Instead say “follower or disciple of Christ.”

-Avoid showing the bottom of your feet.

-Never assume you know what a Muslim believes. Always ask him or her.

-Ladies – dress modestly; women should never offer to shake the hand of a Muslim man. If he offers his hand, then it is okay.

-Share your personal experience.

-Talk about your family and ask about theirs.

-Always offer to pray for your Muslim friends.

-Most Muslims do not believe that state and church should be separated.

-Muslims do not see victory from defeat as Christians do.

-Never use your left hand to shake or eat with.

I hope this may be a blessing to you and your ministering to your Muslim neighbors or friends/coworkers! I hope to continue to post more facts over time and especially after my trip to Israel where I will have the blessing to be able to get first hand knowledge and experience with the various Middle Eastern cultures!

In His Service,