“This revival will turn the whole Israeli society around, and Israel will fulfill their calling, ´For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem´”
Ariel and Shayla Hyde
Ariel, Shayla and their daughters, Anayah and Amalyah.
Ariel and Shayla come from backgrounds rich in ministry experience, having served the Lord with their families in the U.S., Germany, Thailand, and Israel. Today, they are serving in full-time ministry in Haifa, Israel as part of Tree of Life (www.TreeofLifeIsrael.org), and are actively part of Carmel and Kerem El Messianic congregations.
Ariel, a graduate of Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL), served in the Israel Defense Forces, representing Israel to international organizations and embassies. The Lord has opened up doors for him to share the Gospel with Jewish people online through websites and videos, on the streets of Israel, and at special outreach events. He leads an evangelistic media team, and also teaches evangelism seminars to equip and inspire Israeli believers to share the Gospel more often and effectively.
Shayla completed a bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Southeastern University (Lakeland, FL), while being mentored for three years in Collegiate Master’s Corps, an intensive ministry training program. She has taught music, led worship and served in ministry to children in the U.S., Thailand, and Israel.
What times is Israel living right now concerning the Word of God and concerning the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ?
We believe we’re in more exciting times now that any other time in history. Why? We are witnessing the miraculous fulfillment of many prophecies concerning Israel and the Jewish people that are all preparing the way for the return of Jesus.
God promised over 60 times in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) that He would scatter the Jewish people all around the world, but ultimately bring them back to the land of Israel (see for example Ezekiel 11:17, Jeremiah 32:37-41), and we have seen and are seeing this fulfilled in our day. He said the nation of Israel would be reborn in a day (Isaiah 66:7-8), and it happened.
He said the land would be desolate and a desert until the Jewish people returned, and then it would blossom (Ezekiel 6:14; Ezekiel 36; Isaiah 35:1) – and that’s exactly what happened.
He said the nations around Israel would seek to destroy them once they returned, but that He would supernaturally deliver them (Micah 4:11-13). Again, this happened in the wars in 1948 and 1967 and others – where Israel was outnumbered, out-armed, and out-trained and yet somehow still won.
There are many other prophecies about Israel and the end times that have been fulfilled in our day. Ariel actually wrote a booklet together with his father about how God has miraculously fulfilled His promises to the Jewish people, called “Supernatural or just Remarkable?” It can be found here: http://www.treeoflifeisrael.org/supernatural-or-just-remarkable/. It’s proven to be an effective outreach tool to many secular Jewish people who don’t believe in God, showing them God’s faithfulness and love and showing them that the Bible is indeed inspired. It’s also been a great encouragement to Christians, who can see how God has been faithful to His promises to Israel and therefore will be faithful to His promises to all of us!
Isn´t Israel the chosen land /people of God? In your experience, how receptive are currently Jews to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Is there any difference between younger and older generations?
Yes, Israel and the Jewish people are God’s chosen land and people. But the Scriptures tell us that God actually blinded the eyes of many Jewish people so that they wouldn’t recognize their own Messiah (Romans 11:7-8). But the result is that the Gospel ended up going to the rest of the world (Romans 11:11-12). Paul says that once the Jewish people turn to Jesus, it will bring “greater riches” to the rest of the world (Romans 11:12) and will even be as “life from the dead” (Romans 11:15).
In fact, this is another crucial prophecy concerning Israel and Jesus’ return. Jesus said that He would not return to Jerusalem until the Jewish people welcome Him in the name of the Lord (Matthew 23:37-39).
And what’s exciting to see is that there is now an incredibly rapid increase in how receptive Jewish people in Israel are to the Gospel. There were only a handful of Messianic congregations (of Jews who believe in Jesus) in Israel 30 years ago, but today there are around 200.
Ariel, Shayla, and daughter Anayah playing Boaz, Ruth, and Obed in an outreach event with 120 non-believing Jewish people present.
At outreach events in the past, if we could get 5-10 non-believing Jewish people to attend, it was great. But over the last year or so, we’ve had several events where 120 and even 150 non-believing Jewish people attended and we had the privilege of sharing the Gospel with them and seeing many turn to Jesus. This was totally unprecedented a few years ago.
The younger generation is definitely more open as a whole to the Gospel than the older generation, but God is softening the hearts of many older people as well. God said that once the Jewish people would return to Israel, He would remove their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh and pour out His Spirit on them (Ezekiel 36:24-28), and that is exactly what we’re seeing happening today.
What does it exactly mean when the Scripture says “All Israel will be saved…” (Romans 11:26)? Will all Jews eventually accept Jesus as their Messiah? What about previous generations?
This is one of many glorious promises of a national revival in Israel at the end of days – it is our goal and our vision! This can’t possibly include all previous generations, because many have died in rebellion against God and/or against Jesus (think of Judas Iscariot, for example). However, God has been merciful and opened the eyes of quite a few Jewish people throughout history to receive Jesus as their Messiah even on their deathbed.
But now He is opening their eyes to “look upon Me whom their pierced” (Zechariah 12:10), mourn in repentance, and live for Him the rest of their lives. This revival will turn the whole Israeli society around, and Israel will fulfill their calling, “For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3). It will be as “life from the dead” for the rest of the world (Romans 11:15).
Tell us briefly about your evangelistic projects in Israel. Please, include your amazing experience as you filmed the “Isaiah 53 Video.”
We share the Gospel in lots of different ways in Israel – from outreach events at the holidays to sharing on the streets to media evangelism. We have a Hebrew evangelistic website that has testimonies of Israeli believers sharing how they met their Messiah. We’ve also been going out on the streets and interviewing Israelis about different topics, sharing the Gospel with them, and making videos out of the interviews.
Ariel interviews Israelis on the street, sharing the Gospel with them and making videos out of the interviews.
Our most recent video about was Isaiah 53, “The Forbidden Chapter.” This chapter, which is a powerful prophecy about the Messiah fulfilled by Jesus, was removed from the weekly readings in the synagogues, and so most Jewish people have never read it before.
So we read this chapter with Israelis on the street, and had some incredible responses both on the street and from the people who have watched the video. We’ve now had over 1.4 million views and thousands of Israelis writing in about it!
Here are just a few out of thousands of responses:
Liat: “Amazing!… Could we have missed the Messiah???”
Moti: “Where are they reading from?? The New Testament???” (We answered him that we only read from Isaiah 53!)
Boris, an immigrant from Belarus, wrote us after going through a state of confusion about the claims of the rabbis and of Jesus. After watching our video and talking with us, he said, “I definitely believe that Jesus is the Messiah.” We’re helping him connect with other believers who can disciple him.
We’ve had in-depth conversations with quite a few interested Israelis. Many others have asked to meet with us in person or on the phone. A number of them have ordered the New Testament or other evangelistic materials. Praise God for this great harvest!
We’d greatly appreciate your prayers and support for us and for the work that God is doing in Israel today! You can find out more here: www.TreeofLifeIsrael.org
The English version of “The Forbidden Chapter” (Isaiah 53)video is below. There is also a Spanish version translated with the support of Towards Excellence. It is available in our Spanish site www.hacialaexcelencia.org
“Perseverance is a key for Christian living, perseverance in spite of difficult struggles in life, perseverance in faith and perseverance in the promises of the Lord.”
Tania Mara Alves Pereira Mendes. She was born in São Paulo, Brazil. She has been married for 30 years but is thankful to God for what seems a short time because the marriage has been so good. Her husband, Wlademir, is an obstretician/gynecologist. Their son, Tiago Rafael, is another blessing from God. He’s a chemistry researcher and is married to an American girl, Danielle, who is an event manager and yet another blessing in their lives.
Tania has a graduate degrees in Theology and Journalism as well as a post-graduate degree in scientific journalism. She is planning to start work on a master’s degree program in communication soon. She has been working for Compassion Brazil for 10 years as a Program Communications Manager and says it has been a privilege to work for God using her professional skills. She has seen many children living below the poverty line who have a new perspective on life and can hope for a better future because they have been transformed by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Tania attends a Baptist church in Campinas, a large city an hour and a half from São Paulo, the state capital. Some of the subjects she has taught in Sunday School are New Testament, Proverbs and Biblical Geography. She has also given talks on communication between couples in other churches in other cities.
Tania, you recently returned to your country after a Haggai Seminar. Tell us how this Advanced Leadership Seminar impacted your personal and professional life. And what are your challenges now?
I came back from Chiang Mai, Thailand, in July 2014. I attended a 25-day intensive course on Advanced Leadership there. It was a blessing –a gift from God. Actually, I had waited for about 10 years to be able to attend this course. It was a long wait, but well worth it. I even had to postpone it 3 times because of conflicting schedules. However, I’m sure that God had His proper time and I had the opportunity to go two months ago. I was able to see God acting in my life and in the lives of the 55 women from 22 different countries who attended. This kind of gathering left me with a wonderful feeling, and I understood better how wonderful it will be in Heaven with God and His people from every nation and tribe. There are no words to describe this! It’s really amazing to see people who come from different countries and cultures but who have the same God, the same Savior and the same Holy Spirit! Only God can put all of us together and unite us in spite of our differences.
The Haggai Seminar made an impact on me personally, making me more sensitive and aware of the need to pray more. I need to pray more and Christians need to pray more. There’s a lot of work to be accomplished and we need God’s grace to fulfill the mission. We need His grace and favor to be able to go out and preach the Gospel with the power of the Holy Spirit –to preach a relevant, contextualized message without ever changing its essence.
With regard to my professional life, God reinforced my idea of doing everything with excellence because He is perfection. I know that I am not, but I can improve and can always count on Him to help me. He has given me gifts, so I need to use them and do my best to glorify Him and bring others to His feet. The key word is excellence. Than means doing everything with that in mind!
Tania Mendes, Journalist & Bible Teacher
Lord willing, I’ll give a course for leaders in my church next year. My pastor supports this idea. I want to share with these people the importnce of being a leader who is committed to God and His mission of preaching the Gospel wherever they are and making a difference in their community. We’re preparing material for at least 10 meetings which will be scheduled on Saturdays or Sundays in March and May.
As a Christian journalist, perhaps one of those challenges is also “spreading the Gospel through media successfully.” Along that line of thought, what would you recommend to your collegues around the world so the message of the Gospel may be more effectively divulged through the media and the social networks?
First of all, it’s good to remember that the core values of the Gospel are not negotiable and that we’re committed to a Holy God who never changes. This idea needs to be very clear to every Christian, no matter what his or her profession is. I think people know that the media and social networks are powerful tools. So people who want to use these tools need to be good examples of Christianity by “living the extraordinary in an ordinary way.” This means being very connected to God and understanding and doing his will in a practical way daily. I truly believe that only God has the power of changing a person by giving him not only eternal life, but also a purposeful life on Earth. Heaven starts here when a person receives Jesus as Savior and Lord and begins to care about others and share the “good news” of salvation. People are definitely watching us as we make both big and small decisions, and many times our actions have the power to speak louder than our words.
The media and the social networks are good tools for spreading the Gospel, but we really need to use them wisely. We need to be faithful to the Word of God and be careful in the way we speak and live.
Tania, you have embraced the Christian faith for 36 years. You have probably experienced many “ups and downs” during all these years -many joyful moments, but also many distasteful and even heartbreaking ones. What has kept you faithful to Christianity? Is there true hope in this faith?
Thanks to God, I haven’t experienced “ups and downs” during these years. I certainly have experienced heartbreak. However, I’ve held one Bible verse very close to my heart. It’s Hebrews 12:2 and it says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith.” If you do that in spite of people or circumstances in life that can harm you, you can be sure there is hope, because Jesus will never disappoint you and He always fulfills His promises.
Romans 5:8 says that “God has shown us how much He loves us: it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!” The Bible tells us that God is perfect and holy, and it also tells us that humans are sinners and selfish. We have hope because God is good and loves and forgives us, and He draws us close to Him through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
And now, your final message to anyone who might be reading this interview, especially to women who may be facing serious struggles and have lost all hope in life.
Dear readers -and especially dear women: Keep looking to Jesus. He loves you so much and has promised to be with you until the end. Also remember that our help comes from the Lord (Psalm 121, and as the Apostle Paul says, take the armor of God and remain steadfast! (Ephesians 6:13) Remember that Romans 8:28-39 says that nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. We are children of God and each one of us is very special to Him!
So to conclude, let me close with a personal testimony. I was almost 18 when I received Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I grew up in a Catholic church and I used to be very sincere in my faith, but I really didn’t understand that I needed to recognize Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord. It was not easy for me to deal with this reality, I fought it, but God had His plans.
I also had to deal with conflicts at home. My father even made me leave home four times after he found out I had made this decision of faith, because he couldn’t understand that I had received Jesus because I was a sinner and I needed to do that. For him, a sinner was only a person who stole or killed, a criminal. He refused to speak to me for 4 years. Those were very difficult times, but I prayed and asked God to help me.
God made it possible for me to stay at home until I got married, and now my father has started reading the Bible and attending church. Only God knows his heart. I praise the Lord because He has shown me His mercy as He says in His Word (Lamentations 3.23) and He has also strengthened me (Isaiah 40.31).
So perseverance is a key for Christian living, perseverance in spite of difficult struggles in life, perseverance in faith and perseverance in the promises of the Lord. And all you need is to learn His Holy Word and meditate on it daily!
“Your good is not good enough until it is your BEST!”
These words spoken by one of my professors have reaffirmed my passion for excellence at times when I’ve found myself under pressure, tired or even overwhelmed by the mediocrity of my surroundings and have asked myself if perhaps I had been trying too hard to pursue excellence in my life.
TOWARDS EXCELLENCE is an attempt to kindle, or rekindle your passion for a life towards excellence!