Kehilat Poriya was started in May 2005 with a vision to build a home-based congregation which will teach the Word of God; offer the Lord's salvation; help people to love God with all their heart, soul and strength and to love their neighbors as themselves; to be governed by a plurality of elders; a true community (not just a series of meetings). We are modeling the congregation on our best sense of the first century church as described in the New Testament. "Poriya" is the Hebrew word for "fruitful". We are asking the Lord to help us live up to our name and give us fruit that will endure.
The Lord directed us to be accountable within the Tents of Mercy family of congregations, and we are so grateful that He directed us in this way. The help, maturity and wisdom of the Tents of Mercy leadership have been a HUGE BLESSING to us!
Our town, Poriya Illit is in the beautiful Galilee area and overlooks the Sea of Galilee, the area where Yeshua spent most of His life. Our village has a unique characteristic: more than 16% of the residents are born-again Messianic believers (both Jewish and Gentile). This is MORE THAN 80 TIMES THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. The national average is less than two tenths of one percent (less than 10,000 in a population of 6 million).
We have a weekly prayer meeting, a weekly worship meeting apart from Shabbat, and regular Bible studies. But apart from these formal gatherings (because most of us live in the village, within easy walking distance of each other's homes), we also meet informally many times during the week. We truly are becoming a COMMUNITY OF BELIEVERS.
To date, the majority of our congregants are English-speaking immigrants, and we conduct the meetings in Hebrew, with English translation. However, we are very dedicated to bringing the Gospel to our neighbors who are primarily native-born Israelis. Most of us are very active in evangelism. In a recent new-age festival held across the lake, more than half of our congregants participated in presenting the Gospel to these spiritually-seeking Israelis.
In one day recently, my wife Terri was able to share her faith with three native Israelis: with Yaniv our veterinarian, with Micah our gardener and with an old friend (Sarit, a CPA we originally met in our business). Sarit willingly dedicated four hours of her busy life to asking questions about our faith and gratefully received much evangelical material. That same evening Daniel, another native-born Israeli (already a believer) received the baptism in the Holy Spirit in our mid-week meeting. PRAISE THE LORD!
The recent war in Lebanon motivated us to increase our efforts in evangelism, as the people of Israel are getting increasingly depressed about the prospects for peace and disillusioned with their governmental and spiritual authorities. They are more and more open to the Good News of Yeshua.
During the war several of us went to Kiryat Shmona and Nahariya, two of the hardest-hit areas (more than 100 missiles a day at times) to bring Hebrew Bibles including, of course, the New Testament. We realized that our witness during the war would mean so much more to them, that as we went forth our own faith and confidence in the Lord's protection deepened.
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The war also brought an amazing miracle to the Tiberias area. Of the more than 180 missiles that hit this area, only six actually struck any buildings. The rest fell in open areas or in the water. THAT IS A 97% MISS RATE! ONLY THE LORD COULD HAVE PROTECTED US IN THIS WAY! In Tiberias there were no fatalities and only light injuries. Other places had many more than 180 missiles, and tragically there were fatalities, but I believe the miss rate was probably similar.
Recently, several new immigrant families moved into Poriya, and it looks like four of them will be joining us. All of them are very mature in the Lord and have much ministry experience. We are becoming a congregation of leaders poised for growth. This fits our growth model, which is to remain a house congregation, and to grow by helping reproduce other house congregations.
Several of us are able to travel out of Israel from time to time and bring the WORD OF THE LORD OUT OF ZION to the nations. Our congregants have already gone out to Germany, Holland, many parts of the USA and to South Africa. I speak often on the subject of Islam, and my wife Terri is a fireball in the area of Aliyah (the return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland in Israel). She speaks regularly on this subject and we have helped several families through this process.
We covet your prayers for Kehilat Poriya and the Tents of Mercy family of congregations, for Israel, for the return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland and for their salvation.
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