April 18, 2017
Shabbat Shalom and our warmest greetings to all our dear friends and family! As we write, Israel is blanketed in lush green leaves and wild flowers! The last of the winter rains have fallen and the Passover festival is at hand! It has been quite some time since we put pen to paper, but the winter was an eventful one for us here in Israel!
First things first – we have an important announcement to make. We are pregnant! Letitia is still struggling to keep food down, but we couldn’t be more excited and blessed… Thank you for praying for our growing little family, we are so grateful to have family and friends like you supporting us!
Family and Friends
Speaking of family and friends - in January we hosted Andy, Stefan’s oldest brother. We took him to all of our favourite historical sites all over Israel… it was beautiful to see the Galilee green with new grass and flowers, and to watch Andy’s love for Israel blossom! Thank you for coming to visit us Andy, We love you!!
In February we were also honoured to host our good friend Christiane Anhert and her godson Jannis from Germany. Christiane and Stefan volunteered together at Christian Friends of Israel ten years ago. Since then Christiane has founded a ministry in Germany, teaching Biblical seminars all over the country. In May she will be teaching on God’s Plan ofSalvation in the Biblical Feasts, in June on Messianic Prophecies - the Gospel of the Old Testament, and in October on the History of Jewish Christianity. All throughout April she will also be hosting Passover celebrations and teaching about Messiah in the Passover.
It was such a blessing to be able to share this time with Christiane and hear how the LORD has blessed her through the years as she has been obedient to his leading. we were also very impressed by Jannis! Letitia said that he renewed her faith in teenage boys… it was Jannis’ dream that for his Confirmation gift that Christiane would take him to Israel. And we got to witness his love for the Bible and Israel grow while he was here with us. Next year he will be moving with his family to Tanzania, where his parents will work with street children. Please pray for him and his precious family!
Another highlight of the past few months has been spending time with The Jared Krause… Jared and Stefan played volleyball together in high school – a fact that Stefan likes to tell EVERONE who will listen… Jared is currently playing professional volleyball in Israel, and we have had the pleasure of being able to watch a number of his games. He was even able to join us for a couple days when we took Andy around the country. Unfortunately Jared’s season is coming to a close, so we will have to say our goodbyes soon. Thanks for the good times Jared! We’ll miss you!
In December we were invited to attend a Messianic wedding. The bride was the daughter of our Bridges for Peace colleague Dina. Dina and Stefan work closely together in the accounting department. She immigrated to Israel with her family from the former Soviet Union just over 30 years ago. Her Jewish parents became believers in Yeshua, and dreamed of bringing their family to the Promised Land and escaping the Soviet Union. The LORD split the Iron Curtain and by some miracle the authorities let the family immigrate to Israel! Thirty years later, the entire family of seven children continue to believe in Yeshua as the Messiah. Letitia was asked to make the wedding dress. So in the evenings and on the weekends leading up to the wedding, Letitia did a labour of love. The dress was beautiful and of course the wedding was also. It was the first wedding that we were able to attend together since our own. The night brought memories of the vows we made on the beach to each other three years ago.
Our new friends at the congregation we attend also invited us to their wedding celebration. It was the biggest wedding we had ever been to, with about 500 guests. And we have never seen a couple so happy on their wedding day! The two of them have been friends for over ten years. He wanted to marry her from the day they met, but she took ten years to convince…All in a Days WorkOver the past few months we have both worked very hard at Bridges for Peace. Letitia has been able to assist her manager in implementing some updates and helping to bring into reality some of the ‘ideas’ of the Design team in improving the Magazine and other publications looks. Stefan has also brought some much-needed technological improvements to the accounting department.
We’ve also had the opportunity to get involved with the BFP outreach programs like delivering blankets to Holocaust survivors for the winter. A special program that we were invited to help with was the excavation of an ancient cave near the area where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We helped a team of archaeologist sift through the dirt from the cave, and Letitia even found an ancient (1st century) sandal strap! The archaeologist told us that there are hundreds of caves in the region that have yet to be excavated, but they fear that many of them have already been looted, and the artefacts sold on the black market.
The LORD continues to answer our prayers to open doors for us to serve here in Israel. Recently Stefan was approach by the Executive Director of CMJ Israel to become the Finance Chair of the Board for their International school in Jerusalem. CMJ (‘Church’s Ministry among Jewish people’), was founded in 1809 and has a long and inspiring history. CMJ was started by a Jewish man named Joseph Levi, from Maynstocheim in Germany. While studying at the London Missionary Society to become a missionary to South Africa, he witnessed how the Jewish People were living under terribly harsh conditions in London and instead founded CMJ. By 1810, William Wilberforce (the famous leader of the movement to eradicate the slave trade in the British empire) became Vice President of CMJ, and added credibility and authority within the Church and outside it, for the work they were doing. Since then CMJ has grown around the world and particularly in Israel, where they have built schools, hospitals, and churches to reach the Jewish people.
(We had fun hosting half of the BFP Young adults (Zealous82) group for a Shabbat Meal!! On the Menu... Bergen Burgers!)
A Personal Note of Thanks
Thank you again and again for supporting us in prayer and for supporting us financially, so that we can carry on the work that the LORD has called us to. We are excited to share this new phase in our Israel journey with you - we truly feel blessed beyond words.
With all our love, The Bergen Family xoxoxo
- Letitia & Baby: a healthy pregnancy and safe uncomplicated delivery, Due October 2017
- Wisdom and favour as we connect with the right health professionals who can walk with us through to a healthy delivery
- Stefan: Wisdom as he gains experience on the CMJ board and as he is the manager of his department at BFP
- Protection & Provision
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