Australian Ministry w/ Deane & Margaret Woods
We’re heading Down Under this week to hear about all the Lord has done through our ministry in the Jewish communities of Australia. Deane and Margaret Woods recently retired from 18 blessed years of ministry with The Friends of Israel, having raised up a generation of Christian leaders to serve the Jewish people and share God’s love in Australia and New Zealand. They join Chris this week to share about building our Australian ministry from the ground up over the past two decades.
Deane and Margaret are seasoned veterans in Christian leadership. In their 40 years in ministry they have gone through the highs and lows of teaching God’s Word, loving their Jewish friends and neighbors, and equipping more godly men and women to do the same. We hope you’ll be encouraged by hearing from Deane and Margaret about the work God is doing Down Under to sustain our ministry, spread truth, and save souls!
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me as our host and teacher, Chris Katulka, we're so glad you're with us today. Everything related to today's program, every previous episode, can be found at foiradio.org. It's there you'll find trustworthy and accurate news on Israel and the Middle East. And while you're there, you can support our ministry by clicking on the donate button and helping us continue to teach biblical truth about Israel and the Jewish people. Again, visit foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Steve, we love to highlight the ministry that's happening all around the world with the Friends of Israel. And we have a slogan. The slogan is that the sun never sets on the Ministry of the Friends of Israel. And that is going to actually take place today with our listeners on the radio and our podcast because I'm waking up and it's early in the morning to record this interview with Deane and Margaret Woods and they're getting ready to go to bed in Australia.
We're going to hear from Deane and Margaret Woods who really helped to build and establish the teams that we have serving in Australia and New Zealand. Deane and Margaret Woods are going to share about their ministry, especially as God is leading them into a new phase of life as they set to retire from the ministry in Australia. It's going to be a great blessing to hear about how God used them to expand the ministry of the Friends of Israel in Australia and New Zealand.
Steve Conover: But first in the news, rapper Kanye West remains in the news. Last month, he made an unannounced visit to the Los Angeles Corporate Offices of footwear maker Skechers. Reuters reports Skechers executives escorted the rapper and fashion designer off the premises. A spokesperson explained they have no intention of working with West because of his antisemitic remarks.
Chris Katulka: Man. Well here's my take. Kanye West has some serious hutzpah. That's right hutzpah, to show up at the Skechers’ corporate offices. He might have been looking for a deal amidst his antisemitic tirade, but he certainly didn't do his business research because the CEO and founder of Skechers is Robert Greenberg, a Jewish man and the co-founder and president of the company is Michael Greenberg, also a Jewish man. Hence, the reason Kanye was escorted off of Skechers’ property.
Chris Katulka: I'm just sitting here talking to Deane and Margaret Woods who are in Australia. Deane and Margaret, how are you?
Deane Woods: Thanks Chris. It's a privilege to be with you.
Margaret Woods: Good day mate.
Chris Katulka: It's great to be with you too. Hey listen, we are highlighting our FOI in Action. We're highlighting the ministry of our Australian outreach that is happening all around Australia and New Zealand. We have workers that are serving all over the country and really the reason that we have so much ministry going on in Australia is because of how God has used Deane and Margaret Woods and they have been, think about this everybody as we're talking here, Deane and Margaret Woods served for 40 years in ministry and just as you think you might go into retirement after 40 years they said, "No, we're going to continue serving the Lord." And then they served an additional 18 years as the director of the Australian Ministry for the Friends of Israel and Deane, you're all the way Down Under, far from our international headquarters here at the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. How did God call you and Margaret to the Friends of Israel to serve in Australia?
Deane Woods: Well Chris, I came to know Christ in my teenage years as a result of my parents. Always had Israel on my heart. You say how? Through a Sunday school teacher and the reading of the scriptures and a verse in Ezekiel chapter three verses three and four where the Lord said, "I want you to take my words", I'm paraphrasing it, "And not go to a people of an unfamiliar and a hard language. But you go and speak my Word." And as I read the scriptures, I go from Genesis to Revelation just in my pattern of reading and studying. That was confirmed with another chapter in Ezekiel 34 and verse 11 where the Lord said, "I myself will seek out my people and in effect bring them to me." Verse 22, it goes on to say, "And save them."
So after four decades plus of ministry, I knew we were finishing up, I was the president of a Bible school in Adelaide and I knew God was going to lead us onto something else because this verse in Ezekiel kept coming up in my annual readings and we were flying to New Zealand, Margaret with me for ministry for that time.
The end of 2003, Margaret said, "Deane, the Lord must be going to show us what it is. We're six weeks from finishing this year." And she said, ``Let's not do a [foreign language], that is to say, “give God a hand”. On the way back after three weeks of ministry, I said to her, "It's on my heart to do a prolonged prayer and fasting." Two days into that I got a phone call, FOI, Friends of Israel had started in 1991, '92 by one that we'd taught, mentored and discipled and he'd heard that I was finishing up. The bottom line was, David Levy contacted me because he'd been teaching a module at the school back in the early nineties. And every time I'd go to America on ministry, that's who I would speak with, David Levy, the former FOI international director. And he said, "Deane, I don't want you part-time. I want you full-time." So I flew to America in February 2004, met with the board, they confirmed what was on my heart because I knew I was going into Jewish ministry. But it took four decades plus actually for full-time work.
Chris Katulka: Amazing. And you know what, there's actually something that the Katulkas and the Woods have in common that's beyond Friends of Israel and that's that we're graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary as well.
Deane Woods: Correct. That's right. I did my doctoral studies from '82 to '85.
Chris Katulka: That is fantastic. It's always great to hang out with a DTS alumni. Well listen Margaret, when you and Deane started with the Friends of Israel, what did the ministry look like in Australia?
Margaret Woods: A blank sheet.
Chris Katulka: That's a good way to put it.
Margaret Woods: Graham had been working on his own for a few years, but he was asking us to consider joining. And when Deane called me after he talked to Graham on the phone, Deane talked to me for one minute because he had lectures and before I hung up that phone, I thought, "This is it." Deane came home that evening and he said, "Hey, what do you think about this phone call from Graham Harrison?" I said, "Deane, I think that this is it." And he said, "So do I." And it was the next morning we rang Graham, had breakfast with him and God worked so quickly and fast that we couldn't catch up with him.
Deane Woods: So we flew to America in February and we started in 2004. What a privilege it's been.
Chris Katulka: That is fantastic. Deane, what were some of the struggles early on as you had this vision for I'm sure Friends of Israel in Australia? What were some of the struggles that you saw early on as you and Margaret were getting started?
Deane Woods: I think I'd like to share four, but I believe in all my heart, still do today that God's calling always guarantees his enablement. That was the first thing. And I've always sought to live by missionary principle number one. What's that? Don't bemoan what you haven't got. Get on with the job, thank God and finish what he's given you to do.
Chris Katulka: Amen.
Deane Woods: So what are the things? Number one, the scope of the ministry. I remember coming out from the board meeting and they said, "Now Deane and Marg, go and enjoy your ministry. We know your gift mix. We know your track record." And so we were to be in Australia. Graham Harrison had started the work in the early nineties, but within 12 months God had called him to other work. So here we were, and I may say that we have four kids and they were adults and growing, but we have our fourth child whose special needs.
So with the responsibilities for Australia, New Zealand and on our way through to ministry overseas, we'd always pull into Southeast Asia and you say, "Well that was your scope of field ministry? That's just a ridiculous thing." Well the fact was we just took one opportunity at a time and over the years God multiplied the work. So the first was the scope, the second was the issue of... Not the issue of, but the fact of Graham going on to other work in the Lord's work.
And the third thing was the diminution of the pre-millennial position in Australia because we are very much as a people who would in any way believe the Bible, they would be amillennial.
So that was the third thing and the fourth thing, we needed more workers. You say how did that happen? Well, we prayed along with others with headquarters et cetera for 11 years and three months. And then God opened the floodgates and God gave us workers for all the capital cities and for eventually New Zealand. And if you told me 35 years ago that those who would be on FOI staff were those we taught, discipled, and mentored? I couldn't have believed it, but that's God's grace and that's how it is. And we thank him for what he's done and doing.
Chris Katulka: Well then here's what I'm hearing as we're wrapping out our first segment here. What I'm hearing from Margaret, it was a blank slate when you came on 18 years ago to really help build the ministry in Australia and through 18 years of trusting God as he's opening doors and stepping through those doors, as you're walking by faith, God provided for you. And we're going to talk more about that provision as the ministry was growing after 18 years of Deane and Margaret Wood serving with Friends of Israel. So everyone's going to want to stick around and hear some of their accounts, some of their stories of how God used them in Australia. So stick around.
Steve Conover: Chris, I so appreciate the giving season because it's an opportunity for us to show God's love to others in a tangible way.
Chris Katulka: Steve, I completely agree, which is why I especially love The Friends of Israel's new 2022-2023 gift catalog because it highlights 21 incredible ways a person can make a difference around the world. Throughout the catalog you can learn that you can help save an innocent baby from abortion, shelter a family from missile attacks, rescue a drug addict, help provide free medical care, show love to a Holocaust survivor or help reach the world with sound biblical teaching. This gift catalog opens eyes to many wonderful works the Lord is doing through The Friends of Israel worldwide.
Steve Conover: See for yourself the 21 ways you can make a difference this holiday season. Visit us today at foi.org/give.
Chris Katulka: All right, welcome back everybody. We have Deane and Margaret Woods. We talked about this in the last segment, but when I was looking at Australia and New Zealand, the ministry today after your 18 years of service, I see Les Crawford in Adelaide as you were saying, Mark Rogers in Melbourne, Kevin Vigus in Perth, Simon Lowry in Sydney, Colin Lituri, Paul Gray in New Zealand, all of them. And there's more, I'm only scratching the surface, there are more serving but all serving the Lord with the Friends of Israel down under. And the ministry has significantly grown under your leadership. And I know the Lord has used you greatly. I know you had expectations that God would do great things, but did you expect to see this kind of growth Deane?
Deane Woods: By God's grace, yes, but we had to wait his time. As I mentioned earlier in the session, we prayed along with others around the world for over 11 years. And of course the latest one is Lyndon Beasy, whom we're trusting will come to Sydney from Melbourne and take my place early next year. He has a medical issue at the moment, but we are praying for him. But Margaret and I just were prepared to go wherever, whenever, to do whatever. We simply said, "Lord, we're available. We are packing our bags." And if I can use the expression, we did a Willie Nelson all over the place, on the road again. And that's how it was and that's how God led us.
Chris Katulka: And you're still doing it, Deane, you and Margaret are still traveling around even as you're supposed to be in quote, unquote "retirement." When I sent out my email to you two to say, "Would you do an interview with us?" You said, "Well I can't do it on the weekends. I'm busy traveling around speaking in churches and conferences." So God's continuing to use you. Hey Margaret, in your years of service to the Lord with The Friends of Israel, is there a moment in your ministry that you just remember fondly in the 18 years of serving with Friends of Israel?
Margaret Woods: There would be many memories, some of them so funny. But the best thing that God did was when we went to New Zealand, before we even started this ministry, we found groups of people in different churches through a website in Israel that connected Australians who would be willing to host Israeli backpackers in our home. And when Deane left after we came back from New Zealand and he was lecturing at Philadelphia College of the Bible. I got our first group of Israeli backpackers who were three orthodox girls.
And over the years the word of mouth gets around as to how you treat these kids. Most of them were Israeli defense-
Deane Woods: IDF.
Margaret Woods: IDF. But some of them were doctors, some of them were majors in the army, some of them were very high people. And we've had over 300 Israeli backpackers in our home since we started this ministry. And as we've shared the gospel appropriately around a meal with learning how to cook Israeli food, we've just left that ministry with God because it was the backpacker ministry that was a whole catalyst for what God wanted us to do right from the beginning.
Chris Katulka: Hey Deane and Margaret, if I remember correctly, you have told me in the past, because I think we've even seen each other in passing while we were in Israel and you were saying that you have had so many backpackers in your home doing ministry to them, they come right to you, the Israeli backpackers, that you could stay in Israel for six months just based on the invitations of those kids' parents who want you to come stay with them. Is that true?
Margaret Woods: That's exactly right. And because of the hospitality in the Middle East, which is so important, and we gave this to the children, the kids of the parents and the grandparents, we have had meetings in the homes of these parents and grandparents to say thank you for what we've done. And then we got another group of people listening without pressure to why we love Israel and why we have served their people.
Deane Woods: Yes, that's exactly right. Every time we've taken FOI tours to Israel, 25 plus I think is the number on our schedules. We always stayed on for several weeks afterwards to try and fill in to the invitations to the parents of the IDF backpackers or they'd finished at IDF and came out. But Chris, three years before we retired, more senior Israelis, those who were retirees coming and we've had so many of them and so we've had parents of those that we've hosted plus the older group and we stay with them and just love people to life. That's the secret of the whole thing.
Chris Katulka: Hey Deane, and your ministry has expanded because of that. And I think about the fact that you are willing to host Israeli backpackers who would go on trips all around the world and they wanted to go to Australia, but they also wanted to go, a lot of Israelis, they travel after the Army to New Zealand and all of the people that have come to the Friends of Israel in Australia to serve. The list of names that we gave are all top notch when it comes to serving the Lord in Australia, New Zealand. One of them being Simon Lawry, who took your idea of serving the Israeli backpackers and created the Meet at the Mountain ministry where he takes those Israeli backpackers to Mount Doom where they filmed Lord of the Rings. They all want to climb Mount Doom in New Zealand.
So your ministry continues to expand because of your faithfulness to the Lord. But Deane, I've got to ask because we only have a few moments left. You've recently handed the baton off as the director of the Australian and New Zealand ministry. In a few moments, could you just share what would you say to someone who's entering into ministry now, Deane? Maybe some wisdom that you have after almost 60 years of serving the Lord. What would you say to them? Because I'm interested in knowing.
Deane Woods: I think five quick things. I'd say, ‘brother or sister, you are going to live and minister in Babylon,’ and by Babylon, you know what I mean, an anti-Christian society. Number one, keep your heart with all diligence for out of it springs the issue of life. Number two, grasp every opportunity God gives you and brings people sovereignly across your path because he has a purpose in it. Number three, be prepared to do the hard yards, but always be accountable and always be balanced. Number four, I would say keep preaching the Word. It's the gospel that God blesses. The power is not in the sower, never in the soil, but always in the seed. And number five, be prepared for spiritual battles, even criticism and even backstabbing. In all, love the people as a pastor. It's no good being invisible all week and incomprehensible when you're behind the pulpit and in everything, this is the burden of my heart, Chris, and to your people, the listeners, wherever they are, put Israel as a priority.
Chris Katulka: Yes.
Deane Woods: It's the gospel of which we are not ashamed. We are under a debt of love and it's the opportunity that God has given to us to take the gospel to the people of Israel first and then to the Greek. So please don't forget Israel in your worldview of mission.
Chris Katulka: Deane, I'm sitting here writing each point down with diligence as I listen to you and Margaret's wisdom in ministry. And I agree with you. Number one, the gospel is what matters the most. And number two, keep Israel a priority. Those I take to heart and all the others as well, I will remember fondly as I have notes here, Deane, of your wisdom from 60 years of serving the Lord and you as well, Margaret, you're a fantastic team. I wish that our listeners could really know how much of a team the two of you are together. It's not just Deane's ministry, it's the Woods Ministry. Deane and Margaret, they're spitfires, they're fair dinkum, they're all of the above. I want to thank you so much for being with us, Deane and Margaret, for sharing your wisdom, for sharing your heart, for sharing your concern for Israel and the Jewish people and for after 18 years of serving with Friends of Israel, for taking that step of faith to serve with our ministry, to expand the Australian ministry that the Lord has grown through you. So thank you so much for being with us today.
Deane Woods: Chris, I just want to say thank you for the privilege. What we've shared comes from our hearts and we want to give all the glory to God. And Margaret would like to say a final word.
Margaret Woods: Chris, in a very few seconds. Every day I'm prepared when I go about my shopping or whatever it is for an opportunity. Always have some suitable tracts with you. Last week only I was looking to buy a pie in our local store and a man then was served first and he said, "Oh, I'm sorry, did I butt in on you and take your place?" And because of that, he bought my pie on his behalf voluntarily. And I said, "Look, I've got something also for you." And he said, "Thank you. I'll take this home and read it."
Chris Katulka: Amazing. You two are amazing. Thank you for being with us today, Deane and Margaret.
Deane Woods: God bless you. Shalom. Shalom.
Chris Katulka: Shalom, Shalom. Bye-bye.
Steve Conover: Thank you for joining us for today's program. It was a real joy to have Deane and Margaret Woods with us. We're so thankful for their years of service through The Friends of Israel Ministry. Chris, where are we headed next week?
Chris Katulka: I met the most interesting man in Calgary, Canada. His name is Don Sharp. He's going to be joining us next week. He's an EMT or he was an EMT in Calgary and he started working with Canada's Magen David Adom, which is the Red Cross essentially for Israel. And he got training through them and he's even helped the Magen David Adom and learned great resources on volunteerism in Israel. He's going to talk about that experience and what he learned in Israel helps him think about how to better enhance what he does in Canada and for the Canadian people.
Steve Conover: It's going to be a great interview. We hope you join us then. Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. And I'm Steve Conover, executive producer.
The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
2022-2023 Gift Catalog
This time of year is a great opportunity for us to show God’s love to others in a tangible way.
Our new 2022-2023 gift catalog highlights 21 incredible ways you can make a difference around the world. You can save an innocent baby from abortion, shelter a family from missile attacks, rescue a drug addict, provide free medical care, show love to a Holocaust survivor or help reach the world with sound biblical teaching. This gift catalog opens eyes to the many wonderful works the Lord is doing through The Friends of Israel worldwide.
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The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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Wonderful presentation. I really enjoy your program from here in Zimbabwe. I love Israel with all my heart and would like to say keep it up. Once again thank you very much.