Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Christmas Greeting~2013

Merry Christmas to All Our Christian Friends Around the World from Jerusalem!

Here is The Text of the Greeting:
This is Jerusalem of gold, now it’s Jerusalem of snow. We celebrate Christmas with you, we know the importance you attach to our common heritage, to the State of Israel and to the city of Jerusalem, where so much of our common history was forged. We have a great past, we have common values, we have the desire to seize a common future of security, prosperity and peace, so from the city of peace, Jerusalem, I extend the warmest Christmas greetings to all of you. Merry Christmas!

James Lunney, MP~Interview From Mamilla Mall Jerusalem

This summer, Canadian MP, James D. Lunney traveled to Israel to meet with parliamentarians from around the world. Mr. Lunney is the current conservative Member of Parliament for the Nanaimo-Alberni riding on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
The trip was organized to allow leaders to experience the “facts on the ground”. In addition to meetings, they toured various areas in Israel, including Judea and Samaria, in their search for the truth on the current situation.
The various representatives were meeting in the Mamilla Mall to discuss their findings, not only of the conditions in Israel but of her surrounding neighbours and the turmoil currently going on.
For many years James Lunney has been a close friend of the Rawlings family. Jay was pleased to be able to have some time with James, to thank him for his assistance and support over the years and to ask some questions about the trip and possible ideas for the future. Do listen for a keen insight on Israel in the Middle East.

James Lunney, MP Speaks to Jay on Issues and Solutions for Israel

A Celebration in Jerusalem’s Old City

Jerusalem is a large city, boasting approximately 840,000 residents~and then there are the tourists! Although there are many sites to see, the most popular is of course the Old City and within that, the Kotel or Western Wall.
When Herod was made king in Jerusalem he began a huge renovation of the Temple Mount, that consisted of flattening the peak and building four supporting walls around it. The western support wall is what we now know as the Kotel, Western Wall or Wailing Wall. It’s uniqueness is due to the fact of its close proximity to the Holy of Holies in the former Temple. For Jews, this is their Holiest site.

Every day you will see men and women praying in the plaza that extends from the wall. There are also public prayers on the High Holy Days, and Jews from around the world come to the Wall to celebrate weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs (coming of age) and other Simchas (celebrations).

In the video below, our Vistas crew were in the Old City when they came across a parade of people. They were singing and dancing their way through the streets to the Western Wall. The celebration was for a Bar Mitzva. You can see the young boy walking under a Chupah (a cloth, usually a prayer shawl, tied to four poles carried by friends or family). Everyone, young and old, joins the celebration!

Life in Israel is Filled With Joy !

From Sudan to Israel to Ethiopa to Canada…

Over five years ago, when Jay and Meridel were in Eilat a chance meeting introduced them to a very special young man from South Sudan, named Michael. They immediately “clicked”. As they spoke, Michael revealed an amazing story. Fifteen years earlier, he and his family were horrifically attacked by Muslim extremists~Simply Because They Were Christians.

As the village elders were slaughtered and burned, Michael and his only surviving cousin, Dobuol Bouy, hid in the bulrushes of a nearby riverbank. The next day he was forced to try to identify his parents but could not because they were so badly disfigured.

An officer in the conquering Muslim army held Michael and his cousin as virtual slaves. When the officer commanded them to convert to Islam, they said, “We will die first.” Seven years later, they escaped to Khartoum.

Penniless, they made their way 1600 kms (1000 miles) to Cairo. Michael and his cousin worked nights on menial jobs so they could study at school during the day. It was there that Michael met, and married Nicole, also a Sudanese Christian refugee.

All Sudanese refugees were harshly persecuted by the Egyptian Police who burned their hard earned identification papers. Seeing other refugees killed, Michael and his cousin decided to spend their last savings to try and reach the Israeli border in the Negev desert. Michael and Nicole (now pregnant), parted not knowing if they would ever see each other again. 

Escorted by Bedouin smugglers, amidst gunfire from the Egyptian police, they scrabbled over the barbed wire border fence and arrived in Israel battered and bleeding.

They soon learned that their fear of the Israeli Border Police was unfounded. They were given water, food and medical attention.

Finally, they were transferred to a holding center for refugees near Beer Sheva. Some time later they were sent to work in Eilat, Israel’s southern most tourist town.

The Hotel where they worked recognized their natural leadership qualities. Michael and his cousin were quickly promoted to positions as  department managers.

Meanwhile, Nicole, thin and malnourished, carried her newborn baby to the Israeli border. She crossed into Israel determined to find her husband.

Miraculously she was sent to Eilot Kibbutz five kilometers north of Eilat, and she soon found her beloved Michael.

 It was in the hotel where Michael and his cousin were working when Jay and Meridel met them. Since that time, they have been linked by the Lord in a powerful way. Immediately Jay and Meridel adopted them and became ”Abba and Ima” (Hebrew for Dad and Mom).

When Jay asked them “How can I help you the most?” They responded, “We would like to go to Canada. Can you help us?”

Jay learned of Canada’s refugee and human rights resettlement program for which Michael, Nicole and family~including his cousin~certainly qualified. Thus began a long process at the Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv~filling out numerous application forms, locating a sponsor church in Toronto and eventually getting scholarships for them to study in a college in Scarborough, Ontario. Jay also appealed to Ottawa for help.

Everyone waited, and waited, and waited some more~almost five years!

Finally in May 2013, an email from the Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv arrived, asking for help in locating Michael, Nicole, the children and cousin Dobuol Bouy. Jay found Michael and Nicole in a refugee camp in Ethiopia and Dobuol Bouy in South Sudanl. We all wept when we heard each others voices.

The family are living under very difficult conditions. They are housed in a multi-family tent, with food and water rationed. Michael never asks for anything but only said, “Abba it is very hard here.” Jay and Meridel are sending what they can on a regular basis, but it is not enough. They need milk for the childrean and other basics. They also need to find money to purchase their tickets to Nairobi, Kenya. This is where the Canadian Embassy has a Visa Office. Their papers now have to be transferred from Tel Aviv to Nairobi. How long this will take~no one knows. They need miracles!

It is our goal to travel to the Ethiopian Refugee Camp where Michael, Nichole and their children are; to comfort them.

Once there, we will film them as they tell their amazing story, and show the world what conditions they are now existing in.

This could then be used not only as a teaching tool, but as a means for this family to finally achieve their goal~Freedom~to live, work, worship, study and raise their children without fear of persecution.

“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
and His children will have a place of refuge”…Proverbs 14: 26
Please Pray for These Precious Souls~If You Can Help Us to Help Them It Will Be A Blessing