Web ZCB Logo_Tungsten.png

. . . testifying to the jewish people FIRST, and also to the gentile nations, repentance toward God and faith in Jesus the Messiah (Acts 20:21).

once again

once again

Thank you for the continued prayers and support as we go on laboring for the Lord and proclaiming the Gospel of the Jewish Messiah to the Jewish people FIRST, and also to the Gentile nations.

We just returned from a quick road trip out to South Dakota and back for the wedding of two quality young people who have served as Team Yeshua volunteers in times past, both in South Asia and South America. It was a good time, and as we posed with the bride and groom during the reception alongside a hodgepodge of other former Team Yeshua volunteers, two words came to mind against a backdrop of joy: ONCE AGAIN.

What better place is there to reconnect with old Team Yeshua friends than at a wedding? From L to R: Jay Lems (2016, 2017), Jesse Boyd, Eric Trent (2015), Mindy Trent (2015, 2016), Kyle Stengel (2016, 2017), Alexis Stengel (2015, 2017), and Emile Petruk (2015).

What better place is there to reconnect with old Team Yeshua friends than at a wedding? From L to R: Jay Lems (2016, 2017), Jesse Boyd, Eric Trent (2015), Mindy Trent (2015, 2016), Kyle Stengel (2016, 2017), Alexis Stengel (2015, 2017), and Emile Petruk (2015).

In a few short days, we will ONCE AGAIN leave out for the summer with the incredible and yet sobering opportunity to disciple a group of young people in the work of the Great Commission at a literal end of the earth. This year, our team of three is smaller than past years and a bit younger, but we are excited. We will ONCE AGAIN be based in Huaraz, Peru; and we anticipate a busy summer of seeking out, hosting, and ministering to Israeli backpackers fresh out of the IDF as well as getting out the Gospel to Gentiles who cross our paths and serving a solid local church assembly there in town. Lord willing, the team will return to the States on August 21st. My family and I will remain in Huaraz until October. As always, you supplications, prayers, intercessions, and givings of thanks are coveted and appreciated (I Timothy 2:1).

Much of the summer will be spent at high altitude and off the beaten path. And, as is to be expected of colporters, we have a whole stash of Hebrew, English, and Spanish Bibles that we would like to see put into the hands of those without a printed copy of the Word of God. We are very grateful to the Society for the Distribution of the Hebrew Scriptures, based out of London. They have provided to us a healthy supply of “Backpacker Bibles,” really nice quality leather-bound Hebrew and English KJV New Testaments that are the perfect size for trekkers and Israelis on the South American hummus trails. We love our hardback Hebrew-English New Testaments and Tanakhs and will continue to use them, but size and weight, unfortunately, is always an issue with a trekker. We are really excited to get these out.

These backpacker-sized Bibles are great.

These backpacker-sized Bibles are great.

Eric Trent will be traveling with us to Peru and helping with the team for the first month. Lord willing, he will return to North Carolina on July 15th. Mindy, his wife, is due to have their baby sometime the first part of August. We are hoping to see them return to the field as a family of three later in the Fall.

For now, I’m going to shut up and let Eric share a few thoughts for the remainder of this newsletter. You will be hearing more from me in the coming weeks. Again, thanks for your prayers and support . . .

. . . Jesse and I were recently in Israel for a whole month. What a great learning experience it was for me, especially to be with a brother who already knew so much about the land and had traveled it to and fro on multiple occasions. I learned a lot on that journey, not only about Israeli culture and how to better reach them with the Gospel, but also concerning biblical history and prophecy, the current political climate and structure of the Modern State of Israel, the religious hypocrisy of Rabbinic Judaism and its strong and oppressive grasp on the nation, and the sickening display of pagan Catholic superstition that parades itself as “Christian” at plenty of biblical sites.

As for us, we were in the land of Israel, not as tourists or religious pilgrims, but as WATCHMEN.

So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul (Ezekiel 33:7-9).

In times past, there were no satellites, no cell phones, no high-tech means of communication as we have today. Biblical-era cities had walls to keep the people inside safe and protected. However, enemies could organize and besiege the city and take everyone within the walls by surprise. So, watchmen were often stationed upon the city walls to keep an eye out for enemies approaching or mobilizing. These men were armed with trumpets and ready to sound them off in the event of an attack, warning the people within the city walls. If those people ignored that trumpet call, and the city were destroyed and it’s inhabitants killed, then their blood was upon their own apathetic heads. In Ezekiel 33:1-20, we see the Prophet charged with warning the nation of Israel of the coming judgment of God. God’s divine judgment is ready and waiting for all, both Jew and Gentile, who live and die apart from the person and work of His Anointed, Jesus the Messiah. There are no second chances, no do-overs, no reincarnations. The Word of God is very, very clear: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). And though salvation in Jesus the Messiah is “to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16) so also is the judgment “to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile” (Romans 2:9).

A watchmen probably once stood at this site, on the walls of ancient Lachish, warning the people about the approaching Assyrian army.

A watchmen probably once stood at this site, on the walls of ancient Lachish, warning the people about the approaching Assyrian army.

Thus, it is our duty as watchmen to warn the lost, both Jew and Gentile, that there is a PAYDAY SOMEDAY, and that day is closer than you think. While in the land of the Bible, we didn’t simply want to walk around and visit all of the “holy” sites, take a bunch of pictures, and enjoy the Middle Eastern food like all the other Christian tourists who visit Israel typically do. No, we endeavored to be watchmen, warning the people of Israel, both Jew and Gentile alike, that God’s righteous judgment is awaiting, and the only way to escape it is through the Jewish Messiah who is also given for a light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 49:6).

Typically, we spend our time in South Asia and South America seeking out Israeli backpackers fresh out of their their compulsory military service in the IDF. This often involves a bit of searching in the towns and out on the trails. One of the great things about being in Israel was to see IDF soldiers stationed all over the place. We didn’t have to search. It was a blessing to be able to talk with many of these soldiers and tell them about the Messiah that has already come and sacrificed Himself for their sins. And who knows, maybe we will see these same soldiers within the next few years as they strap on their backpacks and travel through Peru, India, or Nepal.

We shared with these IDF soldiers right near the border of the Gaza Strip.

We shared with these IDF soldiers right near the border of the Gaza Strip.

On a particular day, while our wives were traveling with us (we were blessed to have them join us in Israel for ten days), we wanted to drive up to Mt. Hermon (the “high mountain” of Jesus’ Transfiguration, see Matthew 17 & Mark 9). It sits in the northeastern corner of the country, right along the Syrian border. On our way up, we stopped in Metula, Israel’s northernmost Jewish settlement. It is a beautiful village that stares right down into Lebanon and boasts incredible views of Mt. Hermon and its snows. After a picnic lunch with our wives, Jesse and I decided to slog up to a nearby peak called Zefiyya Mountain. The actual summit, we discovered, was smack dab in the middle of a military base, so the IDF soldiers would not allow us to enter and tag the summit rocks. However, we did take the opportunity to speak with a few soldiers who allowed us to climb inside their tanks. Inside and atop those tanks, we described just how the God of Israel changed our lives through Yeshua, the Messiah. We talked about how the IDF is like a modern-day army of King David, used by God to defend the land from foreign enemies AND that they too could truly know God as David did through the person and work of Yeshua. All of these soldiers were grateful to hear our words, and all took copies of the Hebrew trekker tracts we give out to the Israeli backpackers on the trails. That was an encounter that sticks in my mind.

Witnessing as Watchmen in and atop Israeli tanks.

Witnessing as Watchmen in and atop Israeli tanks.

There was another day that we traveled down to the Negev Desert to camp for the night and do some hiking at Mitzpe Ramon crater. As we drove south, we stopped at a small memorial between the Gaza Strip and Kibbutz Mefalsim which honors the Israeli soldiers who carried out Operation Black Arrow in Gaza on February, 28 1955. On that night, 150 Israeli Paratroops attacked an Egyptian Base near the City of Gaza. This operation resulted in the greatest blow to the Egyptian army since the 1948 war following Israel’s independence. At the memorial site, you can look directly into the Gaza Strip; and it is obvious that you are gazing upon the Arab world: mosque minarets, smog, and mounds of garbage. An Israeli soldier drove up in his vehicle as we were hanging out at this spot. I sensed the Lord’s prompting and walked after him. He introduced himself to me and said that he was a captain in the IDF. Interestingly he had already completed his three-year military service requirement. Some Israelis will travel immediately once their service expires, others will choose to stay in the military for an extended period of time. Omar and I talked while looking into Gaza. Our conversation gradually came to the things of the Lord. He did not fancy himself a “religious” person. My response is always “neither am I.” This is always a great bridge into the Gospel message. A genuine believer is not “religious” by the world’s definition. A religious man seeks to please God through his actions or come to God upon his own terms (just like Cain, the father of all manmade religion). The Creator says: “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:3). This is why we need a Messiah, not manmade religion! He payed the price for our sins, the perfect Passover Lamb. Omar listened, and when I had finished sharing, I remember him remarking “These are strong words that you use!” Omar and I walked back to our vehicles where he was able to talk to Jesse before he left. Jesse then watered the seed that was planted in this man. He left that day with a Gospel tract in his hand. Please pray that will find forgiveness and true peace in Yeshua the Messiah. 

Carrion birds congregate over trash piles in the Gaza Strip not far from where we witnessed to Omar.

Carrion birds congregate over trash piles in the Gaza Strip not far from where we witnessed to Omar.

One of primary reasons for traveling to Israel this time was to reconnect with Israelis we had met in South America and South Asia last year. We reached out to many of these while in their home country. Some ignored us; others were too busy with work or school; but there were those very excited to learn that we were nearby and eager to meet. There was one young lady that Mindy, my wife, met and shared with in Argentina. It had been a long time since we’d heard from her, so we weren't too optimistic that she would respond or even remember us. Quite the opposite actually played out: she couldn’t have been happier that we were in Israel and immediately invited us to her Jerusalem apartment. Mindy and sat with Noa in her home and enjoyed some good coffee while catching up a bit. As our conversation rolled into the evening, we began to discuss the things of the Lord. We covered a range of topics, including Israel’s current state of unbelief in the God of Israel, the religious hypocrisy of the Orthodox Jews, how Yeshua dealt with the Pharisees of old who were no different than the modern-day rabbis in Israel, and Yeshua Ha’Messiach as our Passover lamb, the fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures. It was a fruitful conversation, and Noa was very interactive. Before we left, we offered her a small leather-bound New Testament in the Hebrew language. She gladly accepted it and desired to see us again anytime that we are back in Israel. Please pray for Noa, that her eyes would be opened to the truth of God’s Word and the person and work of the true Jewish Messiah.  

Hanging out with Noa in Jerusalem.

Hanging out with Noa in Jerusalem.

It was such an honor to walk the Land of the Bible and to preach God’s Word to both Jew and Gentile in that place, just like the apostles and prophets of old and our Lord Himself. I feel better equipped and more ready than every to press on ONCE AGAIN in this work, excited to see what God is going to do with this summer’s Team Yeshua and what new connections we make that can be watered on the ground in Israel at some future date, just like those described above.

We are trusting the Lord in all of this. We make plans, but He ultimately guides and directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9). As mentioned and Lord willing, I will be heading back to North Carolina on the 15th of July. Mindy and I are expecting our first child around the first week of August. Please be in prayer for us during this time. We are very excited to welcome a new addition to our young family, and we are grateful for the health that the Lord has given to our unborn baby thus far.

As the Lord leads, your prayers and financial provisions for FPGM help make these testimonies possible and help bring us forward ONCE AGAIN as watchmen. We must warn the lost of the impending judgment of God. It is near, even at the doors. Who is going to tell them? How will they know unless they are warned? A watchmen knows which side he is on; he knows that he can make a stand for the Lord and the Lord will never leave or forsake him! “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:6). With this truth by our sides, let us go forth together into the highways and byways sounding the trumpet and proclaiming the Messiah, the only means of escape for both Jew and Gentile.

-Eric Trent, Colporter

. . . it’s me, Jesse again. Eric used the phrase “payday someday” in his testimony inscribed above. I was reminded of an old classic sermon by R.G. Lee entitled just that, Payday Someday. I believe the country preacher delivered this message for the first time in Edgefield, South Carolina back in 1919, and during his life, he preached it more than a thousand times. I wish we had more preaching like this in America’s pulpits today. We NEED more preaching like this. I especially love his introductory reference to Ahab, the King of Israel, as “a vile human toad who squatted upon the throne.” Today, we have plenty of vile human toads squatting in American government. And for them, there is truly a payday someday. I have linked this famous sermon below for your listening pleasure:

Also, this past Sunday, Franklin Graham had asked Christian pastors and teachers across this country to pause at some point during the service and specifically pray for our President. I happened to be preaching at New Testament Christian Fellowship in Conover, NC that day, so I decided to put my sermon on hold and do just that. At the beginning of this update, I referenced I Timothy 2:1 with regard to your prayers for us and our work. The greater context of this passage reads:

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all [including President Trump] that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men [including President Trump] to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus [not a pope, a priest, or a president] (I Timothy 2:1-5).

We should pray for our President. We should pray for his salvation. We should pray that he would take an unwavering stand for rightousness, even in the face of horrible attack from all sides. We should pray that godly men would surround him and hold him accountable. And we should pray that he would have in him the same resolve to do what is right that was in Harry Truman when he was opposed by his Cabinet, a host of politicians on both sides of the aisle, and the American news media concerning the recognition of the Modern State of Israel’s independence. He wrote in a letter to his brother, “Sometimes you have to just do what is right and tell everyone else to go to hell.” Hey, I know that is crass, but it bespeaks a very important truth. Anyway, here is a snippet from this service where it was a pleasure to join with believers all across America doing the same:

The Lord bless and keep all those who read these words. Undoubtedly and in the near future, we will holler at you ONCE AGAIN and that from way down south in the high mountains of Peru. All Hail King Jesus! All Hail the Messiah!

just a footnote

just a footnote