Part of helping people in times of great need is being a light in their darkness. That is quite literally what we did when a dear sister from Ashkelon, Abigail, called us one night, desperate because they ran out of food and groceries and due to constant alarms and rocket fire, they could not leave the bomb shelter.
We drove out to Ashkelon at night, to bring them supplies, groceries and basic essentials. It was a way for us to shine light in the darkness.
As we walked in with all the help we brought, aside from people’s immense gratitude, we also saw they were actually finding refuge in a bomb shelter that was used for a synagogue.
Synagogues are Jewish houses of worship, much like a church is. It is a place of gathering for prayer, morning and evening, as well as every biblical feast, you will find Jews coming to their local synagogue to pray together, read the Bible and study the weekly portion of the Torah.
That’s the reality of Israel, that during wartime a synagogue can become a shelter.
It couldn’t be more fitting, because God is our shelter, our safe place, and in Him we find refuge.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Having the chance to speak to Abigail, one of the first things pastor Israel asked her was, why didn’t she leave Ashkelon when she had the opportunity to evacuate?
This is what Abigail said: “I believe I have to stay in my city, even if it’s difficult and alarms are going off all the time, this is my place. I have no other choice but to pray with my kids, and ask for God’s grace and wisdom during this difficult time, to have the right words to encourage people around me. I pray for strength, mainly to be here for those who need me right now.
I’m not afraid for myself, because I know if anything happens to me, I know where I’m going. Praise God. But I chose to stay so I can strengthen my people. I’ve been told several times that people felt God sent me to them like an angel, that they love me. But I make sure they know that God loves you so much more than that. It encourages them immensely.”
There’s so much light we see in the midst of darkness. Even in the midst of war and terror, there are God’s beacons of light shining brightly and speaking life into others around them.
Despite how terrifying it is, Abigail is standing her ground and spreading God’s light to everyone around her in these dark times.
Abigail has a message for you who are standing so faithfully with Israel:
“We appreciate your prayers so much! Keep praying for Israel and for the peace of Jerusalem, for God’s unwavering stand with His people. We send you blessings from Israel!”
שאלו שלום ירושלים!
Sha’alu shalom Yerushala’im
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May they prosper those who love you.”
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.