Annual Report for LCJE Australia/New Zealand 2004By Lawrence Hirsch, LCJE Area Coordinator for Australia/New Zealand
Shalom and blessings to you from Australia. The year 2004 was a positive year for the Jewish evangelism in Australia. Jewish mission agencies report growth in their work and also in their missionary staff. It is also clear that the need for Jewish missions has been brought to the attention of church leaders throughout that country and the general Christian public is much more aware of Jewish evangelism.
We attempted to have an LCJE retreat early in the year but unfortunately, this did not eventuate. However, a more serious and concerted effort is being made and a date has been set for a retreat in late 2005. Recently, leaders of three Jewish missions met together to discuss the plans and agenda for the retreat. It is obvious that we will all benefit from such a fellowship and we also realise that more needs to be done to make LCJE a known entity in Australia and New Zealand.
Here are reports from some of the missions working in Australia (listed alphabetically):
Celebrate Messiah Australia
Report by Lawrence Hirsch:
This year was an exciting year for the work of Celebrate Messiah. We not only continued our outreach to Jewish people in Australia, but for the first time we pioneered a mission outside the borders of Australia. We took a team of 7 people on a mission trip to Far East Russia to reach out to the “lost Jews of Stalin’s Forgotten Zion.” Our missions trip took us to Vladivostok, where we made significant contact with the leader of the Jewish community in that city. We discovered that there were at least 15,000 Jewish families in the region. We then travelled to Haborovsk, where there is a similar number of Jewish people. Then, the highlight of the trip was being in Birobidzhan (the Jewish Autonomous Region) for the 70th Anniversary of the region. The Jewish Autonomous Region was set up be Stalin as a “Zion” for Russian Jewry. Today there is still a very significant Jewish community there and we were able to establish vital contacts within the community as well as encourage a Jewish believing couple to set up a home fellowship as an outreach to the community.
Christian Witness to Israel
Report by Paul Morris:
We have persevered in bearing witness in Sydney and elsewhere in Australia, meeting Jewish people ourselves and encouraging and teaching Christians so as to help them in their encounters with Jewish friends. A book table witness in Sydney has led to many opportunities to share the Gospel. We rejoice to speak of Jesus to so many but we are disappointed that this had led to few further contacts or new participants at a regular Bible study. The creation and growth of support groups in Australia's major cities has been a positive step, and in Perth a Chanukah meeting was well attended. We thank God for the appointment of a Jewish believer as my assistant. We hope that a small fellowship meeting for Jewish believers will grow into something regular in 2005. We distributed Russian Bible and many copies of the Russian version of the Vineyard Magazine.
David House Fellowship
Report by Mark Warren:
THE VINEYARD magazine is a useful evangelistic tool in witnessing to Jewish people, and continues its worldwide ministry being published in five languages (English, German, Polish, Romanian and Russian). Over 11,000 new recipients received a copy of THE VINEYARD magazine as a gift in Australia during 2004.
Hundreds of thousands of Russian VINEYARD magazines have been distributed to Jewish homes throughout Eastern Europe, and Far East Russia in 2004. Hundreds of Russian VINEYARD magazines are also being used in conjunction with the OMEGA Project. Thousands of VINEYARD magazines have also assisted Christian Mission International who provide humanitarian aid and literature to the impoverished and needy families of Eastern Europe.
We praise the Lord for the opportunity to work with other Jewish missions and organizations assisting them in their outreach to the local community and contacts.