“You’re going to be a great guest” Dalia exclaimed, excitedly. “Oh, why?” I asked.
“You already know Schtulim Street,” (pronounced Stew leem).
Ha ! I read a map accurately and received praise for doing so. Not my strong suit, reading maps. I hadn’t started the Israeli adventure that would strengthen my faith but I would walk down Schtulim Street every day when I got there. And the street name would prompt conversations with many Israeli’s. One such convo with a bus driver where smart ass was used a few times. I doubt he knew the meaning but it was fun to teach him that word then hear him use it, snarkingly, in English.
On Shabbat I was invited to an incredibly vibrant and diverse Messianic congregation in the heart of Tel Aviv – Brit Olam. As I sat next to Daisy, (top left corner of featured picture), one of the founders, I could sense the warmth and joy around me. I could worship in Hebrew, English or French. After worship Dalia, another founder of Brit Olam translated the French sermon into English. Utterly spoiled.
If you visit this Jewish Messianic congregation don’t let the size fool you. They’re incredibly diverse, energetic and creative. They pack a huge spiritual punch into their services, and community outreach.
A team had just completed an outreach to Syrian refugees in a Jordanian refugee camp. The Jordanian camp is home to over 150,000 refugees. Pastor Jacques shared about it and a few folks demonstrated the play they performed for the refugee kids. It was simple, humorous and silent so language wouldn’t be a barrier. I watched a video of the outreach which was so effective and touching it made me cry.
A few heartfelt highlights from my Brit Olam visit include;
Pastor Jacques casually strolling the aisle whilst singing lovingly and authentically to his congregation. He would also pray spontaneously over congregants in an unguarded way, fully aware of their personal needs, life stories, grief or pain.
Dalia’s heartfelt prayer for the Brit Olam congregation.
Incredible dinner with lots of international foods, post service.
The Charlie Chaplin style skit performed for the refugee kids; simple yet captivating and powerful.
The passionate worship. The attention on Hanukkah and just a deep sense of the humanity of the people around me.
A warm, loving and authentic welcome.