By Dr. Angela Ruark
East Texans who attended the One for Israel benefit dinner recently held at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas were treated to something exciting – good news out of the Middle East!
Best-selling author, Joel Rosenberg, spoke at the event. He related stories from his years growing up as a Christian, and an especially humorous account of how he discovered his Jewish heritage. Rosenberg just released a new book titled, The Persian Gamble.
Joel Rosenberg speaks to a crowd of more than 900 people at the One for Israel benefit dinner in Tyler, Texas
The other main speaker at the event, Dr. Erez Soref, was a new name to many in attendance, but one they will not soon forget. Dr. Soref is the president of One for Israel, the only Bible college in Israel. He related his personal testimony of coming to faith in Christ and how God orchestrated events that are bringing Jewish, Arab, and Christians of many nationalities united together for a singular purpose: to preach the Gospel in the Middle East.
I had the opportunity to sit down for a conversation with Dr. Soref.
He told me how, growing up in Israel, in a traditional Jewish family, he had never read the New Testament.
But after coming to faith in Christ, he couldn’t wait to share the wonderful news with others. Dr. Soref believes his life calling is “to tell my family, my friends, my neighbors, my people, about Yeshua, about Jesus.”
Dr. Soref shares his testimony
After obtaining his Ph.D. in the United States, Soref returned to Israel with his wife and young children and began teaching at the state university but would later leave to join a small Messianic-Jewish Bible college. Eventually, Dr. Soref became the leader of the college, now known as One for Israel.
“For the first time in 2,000 years, the message of the Gospel is coming to the Jewish people and the Arab people from within,” Dr. Soref explained. “The dynamic is different. It’s not an ‘us and them’ it’s an ‘us and us.’”
The younger generation is a lot more open to hear about Jesus according to Dr. Soref. He related that their message is one among many that young people are hearing, but One for Israel has a place at the table, and they try to present their message with excellence. This excellence is evidenced in their online video series that has reached over 70,000,000 views.
The videos feature interviews with Israelis who have become Christians. Dr. Soref pointed out that the number of views of their videos in the Hebrew language is more than 18,000,000 (three times the population of Israel) – meaning these videos are being watched multiple times. In addition, One for Israel has produced videos in Arabic, featuring testimonies of Muslims who have found Christ.
This was the first time the event was held in East Texas. The evening provided a chance for nearly 1,000 East Texans to hear news (typically unreported) directly from those involved, about how God is working in Israel and the Middle East.
Even in the midst of persecution and death threats, One for Israel continues to share the Gospel through the college, evangelistic videos, and the sole Messianic radio station in Israel: AGAPE.FM. They report that Israelis are turning to Christ in record numbers. Now that is good news!
About the Author
Dr. Angela Ruark is the Editor of Lens of East Texas. She is a writer, researcher, and math and science teacher. Her hope in joining the One Christian Voice team is to encourage fellow Christians and share good news about what God is doing in East Texas. Angela and her husband, Bill, of twenty-seven years have three wonderful sons. Dr. Ruark’s hobbies include languages, bee-keeping, painting, and the occasional cliff jumping.