Paul from Bethlehem Voice interviewed Josh Raybold from Team Support Ministry, an evangelistic organisation which has a passion to preach the gospel and has a heart for Israel.
Listen to the interview here and read the transcribed interview below:
I’m with Josh Raybold from Team Support Ministry. Now Josh what is Team Support Ministry?
Team Support Ministry is an evangelistic organisation, we have a passion to preach the gospel and also our other aim is to equip the church to preach the gospel.
Where are you based?
We are based in Sturbridge in the west midlands in the United Kingdom. We also have an office in Canada and we have other offices throughout the world.
So you are really worldwide then?
Yes that is right we are a worldwide organisation.
Now you have a heart for Israel as an organisation?
Yes that is right we have been travelling to Israel for many years when Tony, the founder of the ministry, Dr Tony Stone, he has been travelling to Israel well over 20 years now, bringing over tours to Israel and preaching the Gospel here in Israel.
Are tour groups a really important way for Christians to come to the land and see the land for themselves?
Yes absolutely, not only that it’s important as it identifies with the Jewish people, recently I was at a seminar from a Jewish man and he said about the Christian people there “You are all miracles, thank you for coming to the nation of Israel ”. And coming to Israel as a Christian is an opportunity to just be a witness by being here in the land.
Does it open up the bible as you come?
Absolutely, you go around some of the places and you see, this is where Jesus said this and this is where Jesus said this and Jesus was here and it just opens the bible, it gives you an understanding of where things were, it gives you a geography if you like of what happened and just being there, there is a sense around the place of walking through the streets of Jerusalem and there is a sense this is a holy place, you know a real important place. And then of course you go up to the Galilee area and you see the places Jesus did what he did and you can understand the culture and the context of the place where we are and what he said and why he said what he said.
Now at the moment you are staying just inside the Jaffa gate in Jerusalem. Just recently there was a stabbing attack and we have seen stabbing attacks and instances of ramming attacks with cars within Jerusalem and other areas of Israel as well. Were you not scared to come to Israel at this particular time?
Well there was a part of us that was apprehensive but we knew that we are in God’s will, God wanted us to be here, we often say to each other Dr Stone and I that “If you are in the centre of God’s will then there is no safer place to be” and we believe also that this is a strategic time to be here, to pray for those in the neighbourhood, we’ve spent time with Exploits ministry, praying on the walls of Jerusalem, just praying for peace, praying for an end to the situation. It’s not nice to have to walk around anywhere thinking who is behind you or who’s in front of you, so it’s really important to be here and pray for people and were we scared …. Yes and no but ultimately we knew that we are in God’s will so we knew that we were safe.
Do you see this as a demonic attack at the moment, we have had quite a number of attacks in Israel against Jews do you see this as a real demonic spiritual attack?
I think it is a spiritual attack for sure, this isn’t something that has been going on for months it’s been going on ever since Ishmael was born and Isaac was born, that’s where it all started and it has gone on since that day and I it will continue until Jesus comes back unfortunately but there are people in the land who want to strive for peace and we want to support them, we want to stand with them and really identify with those people who are longing for peace and actively pursuing peace.
Do you find Palestinians who support Israel and want to bless Israel as well?
Yes there are a few, we have had the privilege of meeting some of them, they are great people and we love them just like we love all the Palestinians, even if they don’t love Israel we love them all the same because we believe that is the heart of the gospel.
Why do you have a heart for Israel?
Simply because the bible says, the bible tells us, there is only one city in the bible that specifically says pray for this and that is Jerusalem and we believe God has a special place for Jewish people, We still believe that they are God’s chosen people and we love them and we want to be here to identify with them and it’s just a special place to be here.
When you come to Israel do you always feel like you are coming home?
There is part of me that says Yes but I am a proud Englishman, I love being in England and so when I go back to England I always feel that’s my home but there is part of you, I guess it’s a spiritual thing that says actually I’m going to be home, I’m coming home.
Now you have a mission coming up, tell us about that ?
Yes we have a mission. I will be here with my team member Ben, we want to come and share the gospel with both Jew and Arab, I think it is really important to share the gospel with both of them and we want to tell them about Jesus and just witness to them and love and care for them, we have already planned some things that we are aiming to achieve while we are here and we have met some people that we are going to be working with and we are really looking forward to that, and yeah we are going to be here, we are also going to come to Bethlehem, we are going to be in Jerusalem.
Are you going to be working with local churches and is it important to work with local churches?
Absolutely, we believe it’s imperative to work with local churches, I am all for coming to evangelize the people but we are aware that there needs to be a contact after we have left and that’s why I believe it’s so important to work with the local church, there is only one church and that is the church of |Jesus, we want to work with that Church, we are part of the church and we want to encourage them to do evangelism, we want to help them do evangelism and to go in, evangelize the people and then allow them to do all the follow up work, and they are here on the ground to follow up on those people so it’s imperative it’s really really important to work alongside the local church.
Have you built up a good relationship with some of the locals here because you have been coming in for many many years? Has it been a good time to build a good foundation?
Yes it’s been really good, I have been coming now for 4 years of so and we have met many people and we have had a really good relationship with those people and it’s really great to be with those people, hear what they are doing, know how we can support them and yeah the relationships continue to grow, we’re still meeting new people every time we come and it’s great to be able to meet them.
Is it easy to evangelize in Israel, you have got Jews obviously very much against the gospel and the bible talks about their eyes have been blinded, but also you come to somewhere like Bethlehem and Bethlehem itself is predominantly a Muslim area so is it easy to actually evangelize within this area within this country?
It’s a hard one to answer really because part of the answer is yes and part of the answer is no, you have got the ultra religious if you like who are so against the gospel yet you have got others who are so hungry for something and so hungry for something real and I believe the answer to that is Jesus and regardless of whether there strong religious people and they hate people sharing the gospel or whether they are open to the gospel, I believe the answer to the situation is the gospel, so we will be here but whether it’s easy or not, it is sometimes and it’s not other times but we are here regardless.
Are there any other countries that you work in?
Yes we have an office in Canada as I said earlier on, we go over there once a year, we have a work out in Zimbabwe, we go there to preach the gospel and to work alongside some of the local churches and the local pastors that we support there and then we have a base in Poland where we have a guy who works for us called Remek, he does a wonderful Job and we travel over there two or three times a year and preach the gospel there working in prisons and working on the streets and working alongside the local church to preach the gospel.
What is your prayer for the nation of Israel specifically?
My prayer for the nation of Israel is essentially they will find peace, I believe that peace is a physical peace but also a spiritual peace, it’s a physical peace that affects the outside of how we strive for peace but also it’s a spiritual peace that gives us peace inside spiritually and I believe only Jesus can do that.
What is your website for people who would like to know more?
Our website is www.teamsupportministry.co.uk.