Having experienced God’s love and power personally, Manuel shares the gospel with everyone he meets in Israel.
As a child, Manuel* (Latin America) had a problem with his legs. His knees hit each other when he walked or tried to run, so a doctor prescribed special shoes to correct his posture. “I remember being very sad in kindergarten because all my friends were playing and I could only sit and watch. If I tried to run, I fell every time,” he shared.
Then, one day, while a visiting pastor spoke at Manuel’s church, he prayed for healing for those in attendance. Manuel, who was in the back of the room playing with his toys, felt his feet grow so hot that he took his shoes off and went to his mother. “She asked me why I’d taken them off,” he remembered. “I told her my feet were burning. Then she asked me how I’d come to her without the shoes.”
Manuel had run to his mother — without his orthopaedic shoes — without realising it.
At his mother’s prompting, Manuel ran again, only stopping after he’d run around the church three times.
Since that day, Manuel has never needed help to walk or run. He often runs along the beaches of northern Israel, where he has lived for the past two years.
His testimony of healing has opened many doors to share Jesus with others.
The son of a pastor, Manuel committed to following Jesus at age 13, and not long later, felt drawn to seeing the gospel shared across the world. “I heard a missionary speak who had served in closed countries,” he said, “I felt the Lord put missions on my heart because it was the first time I’d heard of people around the world who didn’t know Him.”
When he began university, Manuel started going to the local hospital with his cousin and another friend. They shared the gospel and prayed in emergency rooms, waiting rooms and, eventually, in patients’ rooms. When he moved back to his home city, Manuel did the same in the hospital there. Over the last 13 years, others joined the ministry and it has continued to grow and spread to other cities and countries.
It was through these hospitals that Manuel learnt of OM. A local doctor invited him to join, so Manuel began to pray about where he would go. In answer, God reminded him of His unchanging plans and everlasting love for Israel. “One verse that impacted my heart was Matthew 23:39, where Jesus says to Jerusalem: ‘For I tell you, you will not see Me again until you say, [Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord]’ (NIV). I prayed and fasted, and God said to me what Jesus said to Peter in John 21:17: ‘Feed my sheep’ (NIV). I realised my direction was the sheep of Israel.”
Sharing God’s love in Israel
During his first year in Israel, Manuel, while praying for the country, felt led by the Holy Spirit to pray about houses: places open to sharing the gospel and Bible study. He asked God for 10 houses. Not long later, he began regularly visiting homes in a nearby Arab village open to the gospel, along with an Arabic-speaking friend.
One day, Manuel met a man who, due to having cancer years ago, had lost his sense of taste. When the group prayed for him, the man felt heat on his tongue. Manuel told him the Holy Spirit was working in him and asked the owner of the house for something for the man to eat. She brought a peach, and the man tasted food for the first time in years. The home where this happened is now one of two homes where Manuel goes weekly to lead a Discovery Bible Study (DBS). One of the families who attended knew nothing of Jesus before the study began, now they read the Bible together.
Manuel also began hospital ministry in a different Arab town. Once a week for the last six months, he’s visited a hospital with a translator. They visit different areas of the hospital, speaking, praying and sharing the gospel with whoever they meet. “While the majority of the patients there are Muslim, some are Jews. It’s a great opportunity to share with people who don’t know Jesus, because people are more willing to listen to you in a hospital,” Manuel said. “Their situation makes them more open. Sometimes God uses situations that appear to be ‘against’ us, but the truth is they aren’t, it’s the way God is drawing us to Him.”
Praying for the healing of Israel through unity
While the older generations in Israel are often more closed to hearing about Jesus due to their religious backgrounds, the younger generation — both Jew and Arab — are generally more open to hearing about Jesus. As they learn of and understand His love for them, they also are slowly becoming more open to sharing Him with others — even those of a different community.
“I think God is doing something through the Arabs in Israel because they are part of God’s plan for the nation,” Manuel continued. “I think they will be a key part of sharing the gospel with the Jews, not only because they also speak Hebrew, but because of their history. Can you imagine how powerful it is when someone you considered your enemy talks about the Messiah that you, as a Jew, are waiting for? Or seeing an Arab believer willing to be treated badly because they love the Jewish people and want them know Jesus? This is very powerful and is a testimony that Jesus will use to bring unity and healing for Israel.
“People have tried for years to make reconciliation and it isn’t happening; I think the gospel is going to do it. I am praying for unity between Arab and Jewish believers, according to John 17:21. Jesus said, ‘That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me’ (NIV). And the result is that the world is going to believe,” Manuel declared. “Jews and Arabs coming together will show the world how powerful God‘s love is. This can impact the nations.”
Please pray for peace in Israel, for unity in the Church, and for those who follow Jesus to share His love with others. Please pray for more people to either open their homes for a Bible study or to join one locally. Manuel also asks for prayer for renewed strength and continued financial provision.