Shalom and Happy Thanksgiving!
In the midst of a season of great joy and family gatherings, our eyes are also glued to the news as we watch hostilities between Israel and Gaza escalate. Our hearts break for both sides; for Jewish and Palestinian families who perish as innocent victims.
The Psalmist urges us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and to be blessed for doing so:
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.” (Psalm 122:6-7)
Please remember to pray specifically for the protection of the Chosen People Ministries staff – almost all of whom are Israelis, and a few of whom have been called up to army service.
Please also pray for the leaders of both the Palestinian governments, Hamas and Fatah, and for the leaders of Israel, especially Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These leaders will need wisdom that can only come from God Himself, and we need to pray that each turns to the One true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for counsel. Even more so, we pray that they will seek Him with such desperation that they might be open to the truth of He who is called the Prince of Peace and who is the only solution to bring peace to the Middle East (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Let me introduce you to Rachel, a staff member of Chosen People Ministries in Israel. She writes from the vantage point of a wife, mother and follower of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah.
Ten years ago during the Intifada, suicide bombers were blowing up public buses. The sound of a massive explosions sent people running. You never knew where or if it would be your bus next, and in Israel public transportation is crucial.
Today, this is all happening again. It feels like we have stepped back in time. For the past few days, rockets have landed in various neighborhoods of Tel Aviv. This is so frightening! You hear the sirens and have a minute to get yourself and your loved ones to a safe place. It is traumatizing… especially when you have a little child!
Now, every whirring motor makes me think the blast of a siren will come next. I cannot imagine what it is like for those living in southern Israel, who are dealing with hundreds of missiles being fired upon them each day. Normal life is over; you live between your home and the nearest bomb shelter.
What do we do? Do we cower and hide in fear; stop going to congregations and Bible studies… or visiting friends and having play dates? We simply cannot! We will trust the Lord and continue to live in His strength!
Robynne, another one of our other staff members who lived through similar events years ago in Israel, describes how she felt about the bus bombings:
Bus bombs flash me back to the 90s when I lived in Jerusalem. You’d hear or feel the boom, and then the panicked phone calls start, asking friends and family if they were ok… exhaling sighs of relief when they answered, or feeling sheer panic if you got their voice mail. I had to ride the bus from one side of the city to the other (Ramat Eshkol to Ein Kerem), and I’d look at small kids on the bus and think, “Get off… Don’t take the bus; it’s not safe.” On the bus I’d see kids, elderly people, university students, Jews and Arabs… I’d also think about the driver’s wife, knowing her husband was on a bus in Jerusalem 8 hours a day. A public bus… not carrying soldiers, but instead packed with mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children and friends. The intentional targeting of civilians… I just don’t have words for what we went through (and what you all are currently suffering).
Should we allow ourselves to be terrorized by the terrorists? Do we stay away from the parks, pull our kids out of school, walk home, cancel a party, stay at home, hide? No, I tell myself… I cannot. We Israelis are resilient. Our greatest defense is to live normally, yet being ever vigilant and aware. We cannot let the terrorists win.
But tell that to the 28 dear people who are being treated in the hospital after sustaining major wounds from the bus bomb blast. They do not feel like winners right now; they are scared and their lives devastated. Their only offence was that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
They need our prayers and heartfelt sympathy. They need to know that believers in Jesus the Messiah throughout the world are standing with them and that we believe terrorism is always wrong, evil and inhumane!
I agree with Rachel! Should we stop our evangelism? Should we postpone the meals we offer each week to needy and elderly Israelis? Should we cancel the services of our Israeli congregations? We cannot! If we do, then we are giving in to terrorism.
It is the very same reason I opened our offices on September 12th, 2001! Our most noble protest to the actions of those who despise human life and who are only concerned and consumed by their cause is to live as normally as possible!
You can send a note to our Chosen People Ministries Israel staff and tell our workers you are praying for them by clicking here.
Your continued prayers and support during this trying time are always appreciated!
In Yeshua, the Prince of Peace,
P.S. Click here to read a statement about Chosen People Ministries’ position on the current Middle East crisis.