When faced with the task to find a new gathering place for our Ashkelon congregation, we had to factor in certain requirements and challenges that might seem strange to some. However, life in Israel comes with its own set of challenges, such as: keeping our congregation safe when rockets from Gaza are raining on us while we’re worshipping.
Ashkelon is a city that is continuously targeted by rocket fire from Gaza, and we had to factor that into our decision-making process when deciding on a new building to rent for our church there.
We knew the venue has to be in a bomb shelter big enough to house the congregation and ensure people are safe and protected when we’re faced with new security threats.
Finding a place like that is challenging in itself, and if you add to that the fact that oftentimes people don’t want to rent out to us when they find out we are Messianic Jews who believe in Yeshua — it adds an additional layer to the challenge.
We then met Joseph, a young Israel realtor in Ashkelon that showed us the building that was exactly what we needed for our congregation there.
A born and raised Israeli who had never heard the gospel in his life, never met Christians, and never even heard of Messianic Jews — needless to say he was very intrigued when he met our associate pastor and Ashkelon pastor Eitan. Joseph’s curiosity was piqued.
He started asking questions, inquiring deeply about our faith. It reached a point when Eitan actually showed Joseph the scriptures and spoke openly about the gospel to him.
To our surprise, Joseph then said he can’t proceed with the deal with us before he speaks to his rabbi from his local synagogue. Which might seem odd to some, however in Israel it isn’t unusual to see young secular Jews still turn to their rabbis for council and receive their blessing, firmly believing that without that blessing and confirmation, they will not see prosperity in their business or personal life.
Due to our past experience with rejection and even persecution when trying to find places to rent for ministry purposes, our automatic response was: “Oh well, guess we should continue looking then.” Being well prepared for the rejection that would surely follow Joseph’s consulting his rabbi about signing a deal with us.
Can you imagine our shock after giving up on the perfect venue we found through Joseph, receiving his phone call a few days later saying he spoke to his rabbi and he gave him his “blessing” to work with us.
Throughout the years we never experienced a rabbi giving a “green light” to anyone about working with us. In Ashdod it was actually the other way around — we always faced resistance and setbacks when trying to find places to rent for our congregation or ministry purposes.
God actually used a rabbi to show us we have HIS green light in Ashkelon. That no one will stand in His way of winning it for Christ.
As we celebrate this tremendous breakthrough and are preparing to sign the lease, consider donating and supporting our Ashkelon congregation as God continues to use our work in that city to bring the gospel to the nation of Israel.
Beit Hallel is a Messianic Jewish congregation in Ashdod, led by pastor Israel Pochtar, serving holocaust survivors and the poor and needy locally and throughout the nation of Israel, while building up the body of Messiah in the promised land of Israel.