Hi! I am a 33 year-old man, born in Brazil, to a Japanese father and a Lebanese-Italian mother. I am a naturalized American who serves Israel with all of his heart. Yep. You read it right. The only Jewish part of me is Yeshua Himself, and I believe I qualify to be president of the “Gentiles International!” [[laugh emoji ?]] My cultural “flexibility” helped me survive three months in Israel during the Corona lockdown in early 2020.
As Director of Communications for Tikkun Global and Revive Israel, I had already planned to visit our Israeli offices. Then Ron Cantor called me and said: “Felipe, Israel might close its borders. See if you can fly out today.” The airline moved me to the 6pm flight that very evening. You should have heard me “huff and puff” as I threw clothes in a suitcase, grabbed my passport and ordered an Uber for the airport.
Ben Gurion Airport was a ghost town. There was a chill in the atmosphere. I finally arrived at Jeremiah’s home near Revive Israel just west of Jerusalem. In a matter of hours, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began closing down the country to a near total lockdown.
I was fascinated to see how Israelis reacted. The population complied with official restriction orders surprisingly well (especially considering that the normal Israeli personality is quite independent). I quickly realized Israel is a nation of warriors, and it behaves as such. As Asher Intrater told me: “We are too accustomed to crises.” I kept a close watch on how the US and Brazil handled the pandemic. The comparison of how different leaders led and people groups responded to authority became a priceless leadership lesson for me. In no time, the population was tucked in as we braced ourselves for the worst.
My ambitious plans to visit every Tikkun-affiliated congregation and ministry were cancelled. Instead I focused on getting to know my co-workers and helping “hum” the media and global relations departments. During this “shut in” time with the staff, I saw:
- The abundant and fruitful evidence of a sacrificial life-time work of Asher and Betty Intrater for the sake of the Gospel in the land of Israel.
- A bona fide Israeli ministry, operating in Hebrew, making disciples of Jews and Arabs.
- A powerful presence of the Holy Spirit of God in every gathering, event, prayer meeting, and study I was privileged to participate in.
- An organization that operates by faith with high levels of stewardship,
- A family-team eager to bless the nations of the Earth with the Gospel.
It was a joy to experience Purim, Passover, Holocaust Day, Memorial Day, Israel’s Independence Day and Shavuot in Israel. It is also a privilege to play a small part in what God is doing through Tikkun and Revive Israel. I am eager to help others develop relationship with our ministry family. We as the nations of the earth, have been blessed through Abraham – with the Savior, the Ekklesia and the Bible. Let’s be a blessing back in return (Genesis 12:3).
Thank you for your readership, love, and partnership to see Israel restored!