From the Frontlines
November 8-10, 2023
Here are some ministry updates directly from staff on the ground. Not all the staff have time to send in their updates, so please pray for the amazing unspoken ministry as well. Please keep the staff in prayer as they are serving with all their abilities and strength. Please pray for their safety and wholeness.
Activated Reservist Encourages Younger Soldiers
Recently I checked in on my friend Leah* as she has been home alone for a month now. Her son, currently in the army, was sent to serve in the south. Her daughter is in a pre-army program in volunteering with her group on the Egyptian border. The south is under constant rocket fire from Hamas. Her husband, Avi,* is beyond the age range of required reserve duty but continues to serve. He was called up as soon as the government called up vast numbers of reservists. Leah was told he would enter Gaza and how she should not expect contact for one month. Many on his base are younger reservists—fathers with small children at home. They are concerned they will not return home to raise them. Avi’s years of experience allow him to speak words of strength and hope to them. The reality of war and its impact on all our families and society is harrowing.
Let us pray for Leah and her family along with many others who are anxious and worried for their loved ones. Praise God, Leah and her family believe in Jesus, who gives strength during these difficult days.
Generosity toward a Staff Member Leads to a Gospel Conversation
I was recently in Tel Aviv to buy my military uniform, but the credit card did not work. The older manager said, “We can finish the transaction at my house. You look hungry, come and get some food.” On the way to his house, I told him I served in the Israeli Defense Forces, live in Chicago now, and have come here to help and serve any way I can. In reality, I was very hungry since I had delivered sixty parcels of food to Haifa earlier in the day! I was skeptical at first, but when he put two plates on the table, I saw we were not just grabbing a sandwich, but he wanted to sit and eat together. I realized he was alone and desperate for company. He said, “Sit and eat with me. You are working for our country, for our soldiers, and you need to eat!” We spent the next forty minutes just talking about the war, the people of Israel, and where we find our hope. I explained how my hope is from the Scriptures and how there will always be wars until the Messiah returns. He asked me to explain, and we continued to talk about the Messiah Jesus. At the end, we laughed and said our goodbyes. I pray he will meet others like me who can proclaim the gospel to him. Please pray for him and the words he heard; he has much to ponder.
We recently delivered special hot meals to a base along the Gaza border. The soldiers were returning from a mission in Gaza and were so happy to receive home-cooked food. We were able to pray with them and encourage them. Also, this week, we delivered parcels of food to the elderly and Holocaust survivors in a town near Tel Aviv. We were assigned seventeen homes to bring parcels to! Upon knocking on the doors, the dear people were very sweet and very thankful for the love, care, and attention we gave to them. They said many of the elderly might not open their doors because they are afraid. It was true, but with Luda’s Russian and my giant smile 😉, they opened their doors to us, and we blessed them with food and prayed for them. Many have not left their homes out of fear. We pray for peace and comfort for them.
A lot has happened in a few days, and it is hard to describe everything.
For a month now, seventeen people have been living in our Jerusalem Messianic Center. They are from the south and fled the constant rocket attacks on their homes and communities. There are three generations of people from five families: grandmothers, parents, and children—six adults and eleven children from three to fifteen years old. Interestingly, two families are believers, and two are not. The believing fathers stayed at home to serve their community; one is a pastor, and one is a soldier in Gaza. There is also an older brother who has been called to duty, fighting in Gaza. We pray for their safety.
Of course, it is a tough time for them; every family has its problems. They have not worked for a month, but they still have bills to pay, and we are very grateful to the Lord for how we have the opportunity to help them. On Monday, we organized a fun day for the children, took them to the pool, and treated them to pizza. Yesterday, everyone went to the movie theater to see Paw Patrol. The adults all gather for Bible classes, and we see how the Lord is working in the hearts of our unbelieving guests. We spend a couple of hours discussing spiritual topics every day, and they ask many questions. In general, this is a very blessed time for all of us. It is thrilling to be in their lives right now. Please pray for salvation.
We continue to personally help the units of soldiers with whom we have a relationship. In particular, the children who have grown up in our camps are now soldiers, and we want to encourage and bless them. We talk and, when possible, pray. In a few days, we will send much-needed supplies to one of those units! We also delivered more than 100 servings of hot food to the soldiers, who thanked us very much. When they are on the field, they eat canned rations, and when they get back to their base, there is nothing like warm, home-cooked food. (Base kitchen food is often very oily.)
Many Holocaust survivors from the cities of the south still cannot return home and now live in hotels throughout Israel. We keep in touch with them, go visit their homes, hold meetings, and help everyone in need. Many Holocaust survivors are turning to us with prayer requests as many have children and grandchildren in the Israeli Defense Forces fighting at the front and believe our prayers will help them. Last week, many in the hotels fell ill with COVID-19. Please pray for those who are really suffering from the virus!
We continue to help those in need with food packages. This week, we were able to help more than 200 families from different cities, which is a great joy. In Jerusalem, we also prepare hot food and deliver it to the south to those who need it. Since we are cooking food for seventy to eighty families, I bought a new blender and food processor to make the process easier. Pray those who receive food and groceries, besides the practical help, will also be able to see the spiritual fulfillment—the love and mercy of the Living God!
Please pray for the many families who have empty seats at their Sabbath dinner tables because their loved ones are injured, serving in the military, missing, kidnapped, or dead. Pray for those who are injured and recovering in hospitals, for soldiers stationed across the country, and for the families whose members have been taken hostage or killed. Please pray for comfort for everyone.
Pray for those who are unable to work, so they will not feel anxiety over the mounting bills. Also, intercede for God’s provision so they can pay mounting bills.
Please pray for the soldiers guarding the nation of Israel.
Please pray for the release of the hostages in Gaza and for them to feel the Father’s hand on them.