A Cup of Coffee
And Living Water
| Avishalom Teklehaimanot |
Each Fall Akko's walls and fortresses are filled with visitors and tourists from all over Israel and from different nations around the world. These tourists come to attend the Akko Festival of Alternative Theatre. They gather in the cool stone halls, where medieval knights used to meet, and watch a wide variety of theatrical performances, some religious, some political and some historical. Various mystical characters are portrayed, exemplifying the ancient traditions, tracing a thousand years of culture and influence. Jews and Arabs partner in this annual thespian festival that takes place interestingly during the holiday season of Sukkoth (Feast of Tabernacles). During the feast of Sukkoth, traditionally Jews sit in booths and recount the blessings God has given as they also celebrate God's provision for life, specifically for the first rains that are to come.
The recounting that takes place throughout the Akko festival tries to portray a peaceful and creative approach and actually brings good resources to a lacking budget for the city. However, it also exposes and opens the city up to a deceptive and oppressive spiritual atmosphere.
Last year in the heat of the festival, a band of Jewish and Arab believers joined together to bring a message of hope and salvation of the Messiah Yeshua to those attending the 2004 festival. "After praying over the city and around the walls, we sent three of our best representatives to the festival," remembers Akko Congregational Leader, Guy Cohen. "We worked with a fellow Arab Pastor and the national outreach committee. Altogether there were 30 believers scattered throughout the vicinity of the festival to share the knowledge of the Messiah."
There were many seeds sown through good conversations with the participants. Two women came to Yeshua & began attending Tents of Mercy. One of them later became the first person to be immersed from the Akko Congregation- "K'zir Asher" (Harvest of Asher). This outreach also brought many to the knowledge of the existence of a strong believing community in the city, a knowledge that presented one of our participants with persecution in his neighborhood because of his faith.
As fall approaches and the time of the festival draws near, preparations are being made for this year's outreach. "Our growing relationship with the Arab Pastor has opened up a unique opportunity to use a coffee shop where we can sit together and dialog in a heart to heart outreach. We want to focus on building relationships with the people we are reaching out to." remarks Guy. In the fashion of typical warm Middle Eastern hospitality, people will be invited to a fresh cup of free coffee. While they enjoy the coffee they will also be invited to hear the message of free, soul-satisfying Living Water during the Sukkoth season, when people are longing for the first rains.
Yeshua said that "the harvest is ripe but the laborers are few." Won't you join with us in prayer as we labor together to bring in the Harvest from Akko!
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