| By Marty Shoub |

This summer, Haifa, the city on the slopes of Mt. Carmel was under attack. Fire fell on the mountain but not the sort Elijah called down. This was a different fire - not from heaven but from Hizb'allah. Fire from Katyushas brought this busy city to a standstill for some 6 weeks.

Childrens' Sukkot Party

For us who live in the north, Haifa is our capital. The familiar Israeli proverb explains, "In Jerusalem you pray, In Tel Aviv you play but in Haifa you work." There is real truth to this, Haifa is the blue collar bastion of Israeli industry and technical know-how. But for Leon Mazin and the congregation of Shavei Tsion, Haifa is a field white unto harvest.

Shavei Tsion Congregation (Returnees to Zion) marks its 5th anniversary this December. Haifa has churches a plenty but Leon desired to see a congregation of believers that would express their identity and heritage of Messianic Jewish worship. What started out as a home group quickly grew into a Messianic congregation. Leon and these first "Returnees" boldly preached the good news and just as in Elijah's day many new believers returned back to the God of Israel.

FINDING A HOME

The fledgling congregation quickly outgrew their home fellowship and settled into a new facility. Within a few months they were forced to move out as anti-messianic forces pressured the building owners to turn Leon and his flock away. With no facility they settled for renting meeting time in Haifa's Arab/Jewish Peace Center. This was intended as a stop-gap until the congregation could find a new home.

For over three years Leon sought to find a suitable place. Time after time he would enter negotiations for a lease (these things take time in Israel) and time after time negotiations would break down. On three occasions Leon and the owners had reached an agreement in principle and needed only to sign the final documents when the deal was cancelled at the last moment. Always it was the same - fear of reprisals from anti messianic instigators.

"I was very frustrated," Leon explained. "I would work for months to get a contract and each time it would collapse without any apparent reason. After the last refusal God spoke to me, the next time would work." Two weeks before the war started Leon met with a Haifa businessman to inquire about a long term lease on a downtown building. One week later they had signed off on the deal and Shavei Tsion had a home.

VISION AND CALL

Misha and Leon

A building does not make a congregation but there is a spiritual correspondence here. Just as the early Zionist pioneers established a beach head of Jewish communities and structures in Israel, so the establishment of a building in downtown Haifa creates a focal point of spiritual activity. Leon cannot say for sure if the years of waiting were from opposition or according to God's sovereign choice but he clearly sees the hand of God in providing this facility. Located on the top floor of a five storey building the lease comes with access to the magnificent flat top roof. From the viewpoint one looks out over Haifa bay, the downtown skyline and Mt. Carmel looming up behind. Leon remarked, "As soon as I looked out from the roof I knew this was it." To the east is Haifa's famous sail shaped government building, to the north is the port, the center of economic activity and the site marking historic aliyah. To the south are the Baha'i Gardens, a stark reminder of our calling to raise the banner of truth and preach the good news and to the west is Mt. Carmel, God's memorial to His covenant faithfulness to Israel set in immovable stone. Leon saw the dynamics of Shavei Tsion's call represented in the sweeping vista of their roof line.

Leon: "As I looked out over the view God spoke to me to establish a pray center not only for our congregation but as a focal point of intercession for Israel for believers from all over the world." God has deposited in Leon Mazin a visionary heart. But here is no dreamer sidelined in contemplation. Leon is a get your hands dirty; tuck in your shirt doer of the first order. In five years Shavei Tsion has:

Leon's energy and passion emerges out of his deep conviction that our time for action is now. He told me,"I believe we are getting close to a time that requires us to increase our effectiveness. We must be salt and light like Yeshua. Our effectiveness is built on our intimate connection to Yeshua and our partnership with believers from around the world."

Activity without the Spirit's guidance and leading is vain; working in partnership with others activates the Body of Messiah to function according to our biblical pattern and purpose. There are opportunities here for believers from the nations to partner together with Shavei Tsion in vibrant and substantial ways.

Nina and Leon on the roof

God has provided Shavei Tsion a wonderful new facility with an awesome view. The Spirit is speaking to us to lift up our eyes and survey the expansive horizon. The fields are white unto harvest and the master commends us to work while it is yet day. The backdrop of Mt Carmel serves as a witness to God's passion to restore His people even when their hearts are far from Him.

Please pray for Leon, his wife Nina and the other workers mentioned in this article. God has given them a huge commission and there is opposition in the heavenly realms. The fire of heaven still falls today to turn Israel back to her God. If you would like to get in contact with Leon you can email him at: leon_m@netvision.net.il

 

By Marty Shoub


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Comments
Comments:
11:42 07Nov06 Denis Hollands -
The work on the farm for those suffering from abusive substances is an ideal situation for recovery. Praise G-D for the victory.

12:04 07Nov06 Claudine -
The new building is in the area called "Hadar", the centre of Haifa and means "Glory". It is obvious that Shavei Tsion by being located there will bring back the glory of the Lord to this part of the town.

10:50 15Nov06 Eileen Monkman -
I can't say enough about how excited I get when I hear of any Messianic Ministry out there. How awsome to be located where you are. Thank you for sharing the persecution you receive from your own who have not received the revelation of Yeshua yet. Hearing these reports again encourages me to pray all the more fervently. Having visited Israel last May and having been on Mt. Carmel, I really have a sense of the area and makes hearing news of the area more relevent for me. May God continue to richly bless you as you do His work.


Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Ron Cantor: The Most Hated People On Earth
Moshe Morrison: Andrey
Asher Intrater: Yom Kippur & Pnina's Pies
Shmuel Belay: A Breath of Life at New Age Festival