This past weekend, Lead Pastor Heather Larson spoke about a courageous pastor in Israel who does not see challenges as obstacles, but as opportunities. Here is a small portion of his incredible story.
Pastor Ziad is from a village near Cana in Nazareth. This is the place where Jesus turned the water into wine. It's a majority Muslim community in a majority Jewish nation, but Ziad is reaching the community for Christ against all odds. It didn't start out easy though.
The church that Ziad had been attending was in a rough spot. The church had been dying, people weren't coming anymore. The pastor ended up leaving and the small church appointed Ziad to step in as the new pastor. He felt unqualified, he felt overwhelmed, but he said that he resolved in his heart that he knew that God was not finished with that church yet. Now here's what you need to know about Pastor Ziad. He is blind. He lost his sight as a child, but many years ago he committed to God that in spite of his blindness that he would serve God in any way that God wanted to use him. He got that chance as a new pastor. He turned his focus to the young people knowing that he had to build into the leaders for the future. They began to develop youth programs, programs for kids. They also began to be a bridge builder in the community that is extremely divided. He was able to bring together 18 different churches to start new initiatives for kids. For the churches in the area to come together and to build into the youth in ways that have never been done before. They began to care for the neighbors around them and because of Pastor Ziad and his church they are redefining church in their community. The church that was once dying is now thriving and transforming the world around them.
God has given Pastor Ziad extraordinary vision. In a recent conversation with one of our team members Pastor Ziad said, "All of us have challenges, "but it just depends on how you see things." From one side of the world to the other, God is using the church to bring about transformation. God is using the church to bring hope into our world.
This is just a glimpse of what has happened because of your generosity, because of your giving at last year's Celebration of Hope and the work that we've been able to do through our church partners all around the world. God is not done with our church and God is not done with the work that He is doing through His church all over this planet.
To read more about how your giving is making an impact or to see other programs that it supports click here.