No Greater Joy
by Guy Cohen and wife Tali, Harvest of Asher Congregation leader, Tents of Mercy Network

By Guy Cohen

Guy and Tali with their children
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." (3 John 1:4)

Raising our children as believers can be challenging. We long for them to put their trust in the Lord, yet they do not want to appear different in the eyes of friends and peers. This natural desire is in conflict with being as light and salt in the world. Often our children can feel embarrassed or even ashamed of the Jewish Messiah while living among His people who largely reject Him.

The Apostle Paul did not always embrace Yeshua wholeheartedly. In fact, he started out rabidly antagonistic. Then on the way to Damascus Paul had a revelation. He saw the Lord, and his whole life changed. He stopped persecuting Yeshua's followers and embraced the message of Messiah, proclaiming, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Messiah which is salvation for everyone" (Romans 1:16). Our children are in need of this same revelation.

Local congregations here in Israel need strengthening in order to be effective in the midst of the traditional Jewish world we inhabit. Our children attend schools full of children from families to whom the revelation of Yeshua has not yet come. One day a teacher taught my son's class about the Christian religion and its founder "Yeshu". When my son heard the name she used, he raised his hand, received permission to speak and then explained that this word "Yeshu" (without the "a" at the end), is actually a curse that some rabbis centuries ago spoke concerning Yeshua. It is an acronym that stands for "May His name and memory be blotted out." The teacher was surprised. She did not know that this was not His real name but rather a derogatory reference. She immediately began using our Lord's real name.

Brothers and sisters, our children are in a tight spot. At home they receive the identity of the Messiah, but at school they want to be like all their friends, not weird and strange. None of us wants to be rejected, especially not children. Israeli children from believing families are a tiny minority in their schools if not alone in the whole school. Furthermore, many of our children have not yet received a deep revelation of Messiah, and there is an enemy who is constantly attacking and trying to prevent our children's from growing in their faith.

For the last four years, one afternoon a week, we have gathered children from believing families all around the Western Galilee into our Congregational facility at Harvest of Asher in Akko. We provide fellowship for these kids from different congregations, arranging transportation, even from distant towns. Each child chooses two activities out of the six we offer. Then at the end we give them with a warm meal and return them to their homes with a full stomach and a satisfied heart.

Our musician children blessing Holocaust survivors
As we continue this activity our present space is limited. We need to expand for the good of the next generation, "the generation of those who seek Him, who seek [God's] face" (Psalm 24:6). A partial solution has been opening more classrooms in another congregational facility. This ministry is growing. There is a great need for the children of believing families to have regular, weekly fellowship with the wider body of children from believing communities. Some of the club activities are guitar and singing lessons. The children have then served elderly Holocaust survivors by singing and praising the Lord with music they have learned.

Our long term goal is to establish a Messianic school which will provide a strong academic and scriptural foundation for our children. Please pray with us, that this vision which God has placed in our hearts, will come to pass. We are contending for their lives, to see our children walk in the truth.

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