In the darkest places, the light shines brightest
Congregation Tiferet Yeshua sits at the border between Tel Aviv’s booming financial center and southern Tel Aviv – which is home to some of the poorest, most marginalized and needy communities in the country. When we began going out into the streets several years ago in a more concerted way to witness and pray for healing, we were faced with the dire situations of many who are living not far from our congregational home. God put it on our hearts to reach out to them, and, at the end of 2017, we began Project Feed Tel Aviv on a small scale: preparing pots of warm, home-cooked meals, soup, salads and beverages (something cool in the summer and hot tea when it’s cold). We started taking the meals to one of the most difficult areas, the central bus station in Tel Aviv, called “Israel’s crime capital.” It’s a place where the homeless and drug addicts end up, along with illegal foreign workers and refugees from Africa. It’s a place of brothels where both women and men are enslaved in the sex industry, a place where their clients and drug dealers come. In short, it’s a place where sin, darkness and hopelessness reign. Since our commission is to show the love of God to our city, we decided this was the place that needed the light and the love of Yeshua more than any other.
Every Thursday we bring everything we’ve prepared to an open soup kitchen in the center of one of the worst areas of south Tel Aviv. We’re there from the early evening until late with free food, warm clothes, worship songs and the gospel of hope. On Fridays, a couple from our congregation together with other volunteers cook Friday night dinner and serve it out in the open for all those who don’t have a place to eat. Friday night dinners in Jewish culture are a symbol of family, warmth, and togetherness. So, every Friday evening, in the middle of a public park next to the central bus station, rain or shine, the homeless can come and have a home-cooked Friday night meal and get ministered to with love, care, prayer and a message of hope.
A Matter of Life and Death
Having met so many people this last year, we’ve found that the common denominator between all of them is their hopelessness. They are convinced that God has cursed them and condemned them to live as the dregs of society. Hundreds of times we’ve prayed with people to encourage them and to ask God to reveal His love to their hearts and how valuable they are to Him. I remember one time we prayed for a drug-addicted woman who was utterly broken; she had been through hospitals and rehab centers without success and felt there was no one left to help her. She was nearly unconscious on a park bench, literally crying out in her pain and misery. We witnessed to her, and then when we prayed with her, an amazing peace came over her. The look on her face completely changed. A few days later when we were back in the area, we heard that she had died. I don’t know if she passed away that same night she prayed with us, but I do know that the Lord sent us that day in order to bring her a message of hope. This is just one of many amazing stories of how God is using our small efforts to reach the most desperate and forgotten in south Tel Aviv.
Our Vision for Feed Tel Aviv 2019
In 2019, we want to expand our outreach significantly to reach and bless more people. We are in need of a larger kitchen space, an oven, refrigerator and larger pots in order to be able to cook for more people. Our goal is to be able to serve one thousand poor and needy a month in our city with a warm meal, fresh vegetables/fruit, something to drink and, in the cold winter months, warm blankets and clothing.
In order to reach our goal, we need a hundred more supporters who will commit to 60 shekels a month (about $15 USD). Each supporter would be providing ten meals a month for the poorest of the poor in Tel Aviv. Through Project Feed Tel Aviv the gospel will continue to go forth with the love and mercy of the Messiah to the neediest and will ultimately sound the loudest witness to the name of Yeshua in our city.
We invite you to become a supporter of Tiferet Yeshua’s project Feed Tel Aviv by designating so on the response card or through the tikkun.tv/tiferet-yeshua-donate/ web-page.