From the Frontlines
November 11-16, 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.
Staff Train for and Provide Emotional and Physical Support
Our wartime ministry service in Israel is responding rapidly and immediately with aid. This assistance is ongoing and desperately needed. We also see a deep need in people to talk and express their feelings as they grapple with the emotions and profound questions about why this happened and how to deal with such a tragedy. We can be part of providing the physical and spiritual food people are craving. We sense the need to listen and pray through deep wounds, fears, and anxiety only the Lord can heal. This need is also present in our own families and among our staff. Please pray for healing.
In the center of the country, a semblance of routine has formed as people scramble for stability. However, the same cannot be said for the northern and southern communities. All over, people are out of work, and children are home, attending school wholly or partly on Zoom. Many who evacuated have not gone home yet—or do not have a home to go to. Our soldiers are fighting tough battles in Gaza and maintaining safety for civilians throughout the country.
A few of us went to a helpful seminar on trauma care. As staff and individuals, we know the Lord will use us to speak of His love and care to many in our communities and those we meet. The country is hurting and broken and will be for a long time, but we know the Almighty Healer.
Along with descriptions of last week’s outreach, many of the stories below are encounters and efforts to bless people with the Messiah’s love and proclaim the gospel.
Children Bring a Special Blessing to Holocaust Survivors Along with Food
I was so blessed to use my Russian language skills in delivering non-perishable food packages to Holocaust survivors last Friday. They were very grateful, but their favorite part was the staff kids who came along while we delivered the packages. These Holocaust survivors absolutely lit up when they saw two young gentlemen bringing them food and proceeded to plaster them with hugs, kisses, and small gifts (little candies, cookies, chocolates) as tokens of their appreciation.
One lady, L,* showed us her sizable puzzle collection, which is in frames and hanging on the walls around her apartment. She then told us about her family living overseas, leaving her alone in Israel. We stayed a little extra long at her house and listened to her stories. She loved talking to us and obviously needed the companionship!
We quickly realized, though, these precious people really do need and appreciate the food—they are “starving” for conversation and human contact. All those we visited in Holon on Friday live in old buildings with no elevators. While we were there, an air raid siren sounded, so we quickly took shelter in the basement of a nine-story building. We had just arrived to deliver a food package to a Holocaust survivor residing in the building. After we waited the required ten minutes in the shelter, we visited R* on the ninth floor. She had not come down to the shelter during the siren. It is unsafe to get in an elevator during an emergency, and she could not physically go down nine flights of stairs. Some Holocaust survivors go into the stairwell, while others do not even leave their apartments to seek shelter. It was clear R had not left her apartment as she was busily ironing clothes. She was very grateful for the food package.
Please pray for these precious people mentioned above and those we will continue to meet. Pray they will not be lonely, but the Spirit of the Lord will strengthen them.
*Initials used for privacy.
Making Food for Soldiers is a Testimony in the Community
We have continued delivering hot, nutritious meals to soldiers down south. They love the meals and are always very thankful. Usually, special forces units who have just returned to Israel after a special mission eat these meals. They are tired and hungry, and the home-cooked meals really rejuvenate them. One told us, “You have no idea how encouraging this is.” Our whole country treats the soldiers like their own sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and friends. We are united around them.
We tell the soldiers we are Messianic believers and ask if we can pray for them. We also love to discuss Psalm 91 with them. We do the same at the community kitchen where we make these meals. An Orthodox woman asked us who we were, and we explained we are believers in Jesus. She had many more questions, and we spoke for a while. We hope to see her again soon at the kitchen.
Everywhere we go, we take the time to listen to and encourage people while proclaiming our belief in Jesus. Please pray for our brave and courageous soldiers as they fight an intense battle. Pray for their families back home, for their worries and concerns.
Take this time to pray for a soldier from a believing family who was seriously injured last week. Please pray for healing from infection, for his eyesight, and his future treatments and therapy. Also, pray for comfort for his family.
Please pray for the 800–1,000 believing soldiers and the witness and testimony of Jesus they can have among their units and comrades.
Pray for M,* M,* and S* from our staff family serving in the Israeli military.
We always need and pray for rain this time of year. Instead, it has mostly been dry! Right now, we are thankful because the tanks can move on dry ground instead of mud, and the soldiers exposed to the elements are dry and warm.
*Initials used for privacy.
Amid the Fears of War, Faith Provides Security
I spend much of my time in the online “gaming” world, chatting with other players while we play. We often talk about Jesus and other spiritual topics. A few days ago, a young player (age fifteen) contacted me and told me he is the oldest of three brothers. His father was drafted, and upon leaving, his father told him he was now the “man of the house.” The boy told me, “I’m really sad, Moti. I feel like I have to be the man of the house, but I am afraid. I miss him a lot and haven’t seen him in three weeks.” I asked if we could pray together, and we did. His words really struck me—the fear in so many young people. Please pray against this fear and confusion many young adults are feeling.
A few days ago, it was the young man’s birthday, and his father came home for a few hours to celebrate!
Recently, a twenty-three-year-old woman contacted me. She is a new believer who lives in our small town and started attending our home group. This young woman is from an ultra-Orthodox community. She came to faith after researching and testing for a long time. Now, she enjoys attending our home group and has said she feels safe and secure despite the war. She said she gets her security from her faith in Messiah Yeshua! Praise God for her new faith! Please pray for others who are scared and fearful for the future.
By God’s grace, this week was one of the best! We have made an amazing connection with the municipality of Ashkelon. Through the partnership with a local congregation, we have been providing them with food parcels. The packages go to many who have been laid off from work, the elderly, and families whose father has been called up to serve in the military.
We found many moms with kids continue to live in the city under daily shelling, and they needed a break. We thought, “Children need a reboot too!” So, with the municipality’s help, we took fifty-four people out of Ashkelon for four days to a hotel in Haifa. Forty were children, fourteen were moms whose husbands are in the army on reserve duty, and most were not-yet-believers. They knew we were believers, and, in the first hours, everyone was wary and a little afraid, but soon everyone became friends. Every morning and evening, we met together for a unique program. Luda entertained us with cheerful and spiritual songs. We had fun with the kids and some spiritual discussions with the adults. Every day until late at night, we had fellowship and good talks. The Lord worked in their hearts, and we saw how they changed and even began to pray with us.
I was worried about how we would cope with so many children. In Haifa, everything was closed because of the war, but the Lord did a miracle and opened doors for us to go to different places. Several guys who had helped me with the kids’ camps came to help with the kids’ program.
On the first day, a world-famous magician, Michael Kopelevich, surprised everyone. He entertained both children and adults. Everyone was happy with and amused by his tricks. The next day, an amusement park and trampolines were on our agenda. In the afternoon, young people from the Haifa community made crafts with the children. Meanwhile, an excellent tour guide gave the moms a short tour.
On the third day, we booked a swimming pool. It was unforgettable. The water slide was opened especially for our children. We got food and various goodies, including cotton candy! We also celebrated A’s* seventh birthday together. Both children and adults could forget about the constant shelling, explosions, the hustle and bustle, and the war, even if only for a few days. All of us pray for peace!
When the bus arrived back in Ashkelon, our friends were greeted by an air raid siren, and a rocket fell not far from the house of one family who was with us. We plan to continue working with them, and we will be making a special camp for these children for Hanukkah!
Thanks for your prayers; please pray with us for the salvation of these people! We pray the time spent, the witness made, and the hours of lively discussion will cause their hearts to turn toward the Lord, and they will find peace for their souls.