25 July 2014 by Donna Uning CM –
After two nights of lessons about Israel and the mystery of God’s favor, I have to admit, it was pretty overwhelming to be ‘schooled’ by this teacher. But, catching a glimpse of a young, long-haired Ps Peter Tsukahira flashed on the church projector and hearing about life in Israel, particularly about Kehilat HaCarmel, okay, maybe there’s more to the pastor than that.
It was late; and, yes, there were plenty of food around. For a while, I get to sit and talk to Ps Peter amidst the party around us.
How’s life in Israel?
“Right now we’re undergoing a bombardment of rockets at the Gaza strip,” tells Ps Peter Tsukahira. “Close to a thousand rockets have already landed or have been fired at Israel, many of which has been intercepted by the iron dome rocket interception system that Israel has developed,” he continues, saying it has been an unsettling time in Israel. “The Israeli airplanes are striking back at terrorist targets in Gaza but unfortunately also, civilians are being killed. So, it’s a difficult time in Israel,” the pastor adds.
How about your family, are they all in Israel?
“Yes, there are; and it’s difficult to leave on this trip. While my plane was taking off on Saturday night, the rockets were still being fired in various parts of Israel and even the airport authorities cautioned us they might delay the flight, but they didn’t,” he answers.
“My children live in Tel Aviv; so, they had sirens and they had to take cover several times in the last few days. My wife and I live in the North in Haifa, which has been quiet during this war,” he tells, saying there has not been much hostility in the North, only some isolated incidents.
I have been to a few of the pastor’s meetings in the last few years; mostly once a year around June. “I travel about one third of the time,” he says, as a lady graciously handed him a birthday cake. It was not his birthday, but Ps Stephen Tang’s, who had a surprise celebration that night.
“Because what God is doing in Israel, because of what He said He would do in the Bible and now, what He’s doing in our nation is significant and important to Christians everywhere,” he continues, telling, “So, I go out primarily to teach the church the significance of what God is doing in Israel.” He spends half of the time in Asia and the other half between Europe and America.
“My mother and sister still live in Los Angeles,” he says having lived in Israel since 1987. “And my wife’s family is in Boston.” The pastor and his wife left the United States in 1982 and had not lived there since. They also lived in Japan before moving to Israel. “So, we have been in Israel for 27 years now,” he adds.
What is it about Malaysia that you feel God wants to do here?
“Well, Malaysia is a fascinating country and the people are really wonderful. But it’s strategic because Malaysia is one of those countries; the great Christian awakening in the Chinese world meets the Muslim world in the same country,” he says.
“There you have, a growing number of Christians, mostly ethnically Chinese, alongside the Malay Muslim in the same nation; so, it’s a very important country for that reason,” he continues.
What is the important message that you feel Malaysian Christians need to know?
“The most important thing is to reconnect Christians to their Hebrew roots; which actually are their Biblical roots. And it means restoring the fullness of our understanding of God’s Kingdom and God’s intention to transform all of society rather than just to establish the Christian religion.
So, how would the pastor describe himself?
“I’m a multi-cultural person who has found his identity in the Kingdom of God. I seek to be a representative of God in the Kingdom in whatever nation or culture He sends me to,” he describes.
What do you do on your spare time (when you’re not watching TV)?
“Israel is a very modern nation now. I’m one of the founders a local Israeli congregation that reaches out both to Jews and Arabs. And I still serve as one of the pastors of that community,” he tells. “Even though it was established in 1991, and I’ve been serving for 23 years, now younger leaders are being raised up. So, that gives me a little more time to travel and to write.”
At a meeting earlier, we caught a glimpse of Mt Carmel School of Ministry and the four pastors currently serving there. “We’re still the four of us. But we have another layer of even younger leaders that were disciples, both Jews and non-Jews, including Arabs.
In lieu of the World Cup, I just had to ask – do you watch football or soccer, like how you call it in the States?
“In my early years in the United States, I did not grow up with that kind of football,” he says, telling, “But, recently I become more interested and I did watch some of the World Cup.”
Great to know; but what about a favorite team?
“I’m beginning to be a Liverpool fan,” he admits. “But when the World Cup came of course I was hoping America would do better.” They were out early in the game. “They did! They’ve got a long way to go. But, I’m trying to see them develop. And the Israeli team, I’m praying they would get in the world cup!” he laughs.
The pastor also plays the guitar. “I don’t have much time to play very often any more. But in Israel, most of the worship songs we sing are in Israel, by Israeli believers in Hebrew. So, we all learn many original songs in Hebrew.”
Are you currently working on a new book?
“Yes, I’ve written three books already and I’m working now on writing the fourth,” he says. His current books are My Father’s Business, God’s Tsunami and Culture of the Kingdom. “The fourth book will be about a wonderful awakening, a spiritual awakening that I see beginning to happen all over Asia,” he says. “It’s an awakening, not just Christianity – a focus on church growth and evangelism; but Christianity – a focus on transformation of societies, cultures and nations.” The pastor hopes to release his new book next year.
Thank you so much pastor! We ended the interview enjoying the birthday cake.
NOTE: Pastor Peter Tsukahira is a pastor and author. He leads the School of Ministry’s study tours in Israel. He currently lives and serves in Kehilat HaCarmel, Israel.
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