The first day of September is a big day in Israel. There is always a lot of excitement in the air as the kids go back to school and the Fall season is ushered in. Besides the beginning of school, this was also a special week for me. September 1st was our 22nd anniversary in the Land and September 2nd was our 40th wedding anniversary. The years, though they have flown by, have been so very full and fruitful and in spite of all that I am going through, I am deeply grateful that I am here and continue to have a part in bringing forth the Kingdom of God in Israel.
Our congregation, Ahavat Yeshua is doing well and it is so encouraging to see the fruit of our labors over these last 13 years. The leadership is strong with an emphasis on love and relationships and with a vision for raising up yet another generation. The younger leaders are open to change and are constantly seeking the Lord for ways to become a place that is relevant to Israeli society and where people who come will find not just a congregation but a loving home. Eddie’s illness and passing had a deep effect on the congregation and we are all learning how to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. All the summer travelers have returned and we look forward to a dynamic year as the gospel goes forth in the City of the Great King!
During my “anniversary” week, I was very happy to be able to host the “Third Season Gathering”. This is a wonderful evening for those in the 60+ crowd as we come together and honor the Lord with our love for one another. It has been several years since we started this event and it was always a very important one for Eddie. We have grown together as a group and everyone looks forward to this time of food and fellowship. We encourage a sense of belonging which is especially meaningful for those of us in this time of our lives. Although we all missed Eddie’s vibrant, loving presence, we were happy to be able to carry on and keep the vision alive and well.
I am continuing to have the home meeting and it has been a blessing to gather and worship the Lord in my home. Although it has been very warm these last few times, I try to keep the windows wide open instead of air conditioning so anyone passing on the street can hear us as we exalt and praise the name of Yeshua!
I also had the joy of praying for my neighbor two weeks ago. Eddie and I met her in the hospital several years ago. Miri was accompanying her sick mother for some tests. After a brief conversation, we discovered that she lived down the street from us. We saw each other again last month and after talking for a few minutes, she told me she was recovering from stomach cancer. I felt a strong urge to visit her and to pray for her. In addition, Miri’s 18 year old nephew died in a car accident several days after Eddie went to be with the Lord and three days after her nephew died, her mother also passed away. Both are buried right next to Eddie.
On my second visit to her, after speaking about the Lord, she agreed to have me pray for her. Her daughter was in the kitchen listening and I am sure neither one had every heard a prayer for healing and blessing that came from the heart! I left her house filled with joy that I had obeyed the Lord. I saw her this week walking in the morning and she looked wonderful!
Please pray for Miri – for healing and also that the seeds of the gospel would begin to grow in her. She asked many questions and I felt the hand of the Lord on our meeting. It has been a difficult time for her and her family as they grapple with the deaths of their dear family members.
The national elections are once again drawing near and are scheduled for September 17th. Unfortunately, the confusing political situation has not changed in these last six months and it’s almost impossible to predict the outcome. The polls show Likud running almost evenly with the Blue and White party which is the same situation as before with no progress evident that either side can get the necessary coalition formed in order to govern. Also, almost daily in the news is the ongoing investigation into alleged illegal activities by Netanyahu and those close to him. He is scheduled to appear in the indictment hearings in the beginning of October.
The sounds of war have been escalating these last few weeks as the army has been on high alert on the northern border. Israel has continued its attacks on Iranian and Hezbollah bases in Syria and Lebanon which are being used to amass weapons, including precision guided missiles designated to be used against Israel. In the last attack, at least 5 terrorists were killed. The Iranian backed terrorist group Hezbollah has been threatening severe retaliatory attacks. Just today an Israeli drone was purported to have been shot down inside southern Lebanon and there were more threats of attacks “deep inside Israel” and not just around the border. Mercifully, to date all their attempts have been foiled by the IDF.
In addition, thousands of violent protesters continue to gather every week on the Southern Gaza border. The situation there is very unstable with ongoing missile attacks followed by Israeli response attacks on Gazan targets. The people are living in deplorable conditions in severe poverty with no hope of improvement as long as Hamas rules over them as it does.
In August, there were four serious terror attacks against individuals with two teenagers killed; one in a stabbing attack and one in a bombing attack.
These are just a few of the situations that are surrounding us and affecting us on a daily basis. The spiritual warfare is definitely becoming more intense on every side and not the least of which is the growing anti-Semitism around the world. And yet we are also moving forward in the midst of all this difficulty and are grateful for the blessings that we experience each and every day. God is in our midst and His hand is upon us!
And so, through all that is going on – the political uncertainty, the warfare on the borders, the stresses of life in a Jewish country that must fight for its life daily and for us as believers who must deal with the spiritual battle that rages against our faith, and even through the miracle of the blessings and progress we are making, we keep our eyes on Yeshua, the author and perfector of our faith. He is good and his mercy endures forever!
No matter what is happening we can declare in truth that “This is the day the Lord has made and we shall rejoice and be glad in it!” (Ps. 118:24)
Please keep all these situations in prayer. We shall reap a reward if we do not grow weary! God said that ALL things work together for the good for those that love God and are called according to his purpose. That means us! And as He does that and as we persevere, we shall surely His kingdom established here in Jerusalem and to the outer parts of the earth!
To God be the Glory, now and forever.
With love from Zion,