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"I See Jerusalem in Your Heart"

ICEJ Says Farewell to International Director Juha Ketola

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18 May 2017 (All day)
"I See Jerusalem in Your Heart"

I remember well how Juha Ketola became the International Director of the ICEJ. The Board of the ICEJ had just asked me to serve as the Executive Director of our ministry, and it was through divine guidance that Juha and I ended up traveling to Brazil together that same year, in 2011. At that point Juha served as National Director of ICEJ-Finland, and at the last minute he was willing to change his schedule and accompany me to the Amazon rainforest. As we landed in Manaus, we were brought to the house of our host, Apostle Rene Terra Nova.

As we entered his house I expected the usual warm embrace and welcome. But this time Rene stood in the middle of the living room and said: “Stay where you are, don’t talk.” He then pointed to Juha and said: “I see Jerusalem in your heart! I see God wants you to move to Jerusalem!” Both Juha and I were surprised by this welcome, and leaving his house a few hours later I asked Juha: “Did this make sense to you? Do you agree with what he said?”  “Absolutely, yes,” he replied. “For some time, my wife and I have felt God is calling us to Jerusalem.” “Then you will be our new International Director!” I shouted. We had prayed for weeks for guidance regarding who would assume this role in our ministry, and God answered our prayers more directly than I expected!

Juha has been an extraordinary International Director who led an unprecedented growth in our international work. Within the last five years, he established ICEJ branches in 25 nations, including Georgia, Albania, Kazakhstan, Mali, Burkina Faso, Turkey and more. He oversaw the expansion of our work in India, where today we have over 100 representatives and volunteers working for the ICEJ in almost every federal state of this huge nation. But what excites me the most is that ten of our new branches are in predominantly in Muslim countries. This was the direct result of a prophetic word received even before our trip to Brazil. Juha and I were ministering in a little country church in Finland, where after the message the Pastor publicly shared a prophetic word for the ICEJ: “Within the next few years, you will open ten new branches – in nations where today Israel is an abomination,” he declared. Juha and I looked at each other and we both understood that this meant Muslim nations. We had no idea how God would accomplish this, but today by the grace of God we have ten new branches in Muslim nations, and more are lining up to join! Nothing is impossible for our God.

It was exactly this sensitivity to the leading of God’s Spirit that made Juha so successful. He always reminds us that if you flow in the guidance of the Spirit, then “it’s eeeaaasy!” When Juha joined our ministry, he felt from the beginning to make a commitment for five years. This period has come to an end, and both he and his wife Kati agreed it is the right timing of God for them to return to Finland. We all wish the Lord would have kept him longer in Jerusalem, but God still has an exceptional calling for Juha and his wife. To work with him here in Jerusalem and around the world was a tremendous privilege. His heart has been constantly burning for revival. His enthusiasm and faith are infectious and his zeal for the Kingdom of God is an example to all of us. We will miss him greatly, along with many pastors and leaders he connected with here in Israel.

On behalf of the Board, the entire staff and the international family of the ICEJ in more than 90 branches, we say ‘Kiitos’ – Thank You to Juha and Kati Ketola. We know God has even greater things in store for them both. From the bottom of our hearts we all wish them God’s mighty blessings for this new season of their lives. Juha will leave his position in June, but he will not leave us completely. Our friendship and partnership in ministry will continue, and I know that Jerusalem will always stay in his heart.

Meanwhile, last October after prayerful consideration the ICEJ Board appointed Mojmir Kallus of the Czech Republic as ICEJ’s new Vice President of International Affairs. He will join our staff in June, and it will be our pleasure and honor to introduce him to you, our readers and supporters, in the next issue of the Word from Jerusalem magazine.

 

A Word from Rev. Juha Ketola

What a rich, colorful and very interesting season of five years has now come to an end in Jerusalem for me and my dear wife, Kati! I keep telling everyone how in Jerusalem it is never boring, but something is always happening here – and how the ICEJ ministry flows within this great excitement!

It has truly been exciting and a great honor to be part of and experience all these wonderful and mighty things which have taken place with ICEJ both in Israel and all around the world these last few years! To minister and work under Dr. Jürgen Bühler’s leadership has also taught me so very much about Israel, about the principles in the Kingdom of God and in life in general; I will always treasure these teachings in my heart. His friendship and fellowship in the ministry will be unforgettable to me. Working alongside the staff at the ICEJ Head Office has also been a tremendous joy for both me and my wife; it is awesome to see the high-quality men and women the Lord Jesus keeps sending to serve Israel and the nations with the message entrusted to ICEJ! This ministry has a great future and will grow!

I am so grateful to Jesus that, when I look back at what has happened since we moved to Jerusalem in 2012, I can look at it with joy. Even though more could have been accomplished, and in a better way – as always – I can still say I am joyous and feel pleasant satisfaction and fulfillment in my heart. In addition to all the numerous ministry-related events which happened in Jerusalem and Israel, I also traveled to the nations on average more than once a month to carry the message and to connect the global Church with Israel. As a result, I have innumerable precious memories and experiences in the Lord from this season from all the continents, and I know time will never be able to erase them!

With much love and many blessings to all the ICEJ family,

Rev. Dr. Juha and Kati Ketola

 

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