I thank him who has given me strength, Messiah Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Messiah Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Messiah Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus the Messiah might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:12-17
These words have been lingering in my heart this week as we’ve been experiencing challenges in our daily work. With many closed doors as we’ve been trying to bring urgent Gaza children, and struggling to love and bless the 15 very tired families from Iraq, Syria and Morocco waiting for flights, and being stretched physically in our workload–it can be easy to wonder why we’re doing this work. If there’s no thankfulness why do we give tirelessly day after day? And yet, I’m reminded of God’s endless mercy for us when we were yet sinners, to give us that perfect peace, that wonderful Savior who laid down His own life so that we could be called children of God.
And that is our prayer this week. May God give us strength, may He remind us of His grace which was poured out for each of us. And may we display his perfect patience to all those we encounter. We have seen some beautiful moments in our community this week, as God is speaking to the hearts of some of the families here, revealing His character as a loving Father. Yesterday morning our team in Jerusalem experienced a beautiful encounter with God as they were worshipping together and one of the family members from Gaza came in and listened to the worship in Arabic and soon began tearing up. These words “Sing hallelujah to the Lord” were speaking to her, as her own sister at that time was between life and death in the hospital in Gaza.
And here in Jaffa the Lord has been speaking to another one of our guests, and she said yesterday she believes God sent her here just to hear these words of good news. Friends, there is power in the Spirit when we walk in faith, speaking of the amazing work God has done in our own lives. Sometimes it begins with worship and sometimes a testimony. Please pray for the beautiful relationships that have begun and for the Lord to continue to grow the seeds that have been planted in all of our hearts.
We also praise the Lord that he finally opened the way for three urgent children to come out of Gaza this week, after Palestinian authorities were initially blocking the way. After much effort from our Gaza coordination team, the Red Cross helped bring these precious children out of Gaza. Khader is now safely in the Sheba Medical Center:
And newborn Kamala is in the Hadassah Medical Center:
We also facilitated the transfer of the third child Bayan to Maqassed hospital in East Jerusalem. All are now waiting for their upcoming surgeries. It is true that when God opens a door, no one can shut it. We’ve seen that time and time again with these Gaza children: as much as the political side of things may get in the way, God finds another way.
Little Salma who came urgently last week had a cath this week and is hoping to return to Gaza early next week! How amazing is God’s hand of healing. She will need a surgery in a year but for now she is doing very well:
Soso from Gaza, who some of you may remember, returned to Hadassah hospital this week to undergo her second heart surgery. Thank the Lord, the surgery went well and she is now recovering with her grandma by her side:
Aya, who also had her emergent surgery at Hadassah, has been spending the last two weeks with our team at the Jerusalem guesthouse. She has been seeing and hearing of the Lord’s goodness through the constant love and support she is receiving from the volunteers there. Aya will have her follow up echo this Sunday and we are hopeful if all is well she will be able to return to Gaza:
Over at the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, Fayez from Gaza is slowly doing better and is finally off of oxygen support! Please pray for continued healing for our sweet Fayez:
Ziad and Hassan from Gaza have had more complicated cases at Sheba. As Ziad had bacteria he has been receiving antibiotics over the last two months and is still waiting for his surgery. Please pray for the perfect timing for his surgery and continued strength for his beautiful mother who has stayed by his side:
Hassan has also been recovering slowly over the last two months and is still experiencing bumps in the road, including fevers of still-unknown cause. His aunt is also very tired and experiencing her own medical complications. Please pray for wisdom for the doctors and for us as we look at the best way to support Hassan and his aunt during this long wait:
We are still looking at the best options for these families to return to their homes, with many of the ways being closed. Please pray for the Lord’s hand to guide us and direct us and for the best plan for their return. Many of them have been here for several months and are needed back at home. We ask you to pray for them to have peace and joy in the waiting. We know God will work it all out in His perfect time.
This week we are also saying goodbye to three beloved staff members. As I’m writing this our team is taking Markus & Anna, a faithful couple from Germany, to the airport and their final return home after five devoted months with us:
Please pray for safe travels and continued health for them as they return home. Though our hearts wish not to say goodbye, we are thankful for the beautiful time we had with them. May the Lord bless them and keep them. And we pray the same for you all. As we sang this morning:
The Lord bless you and keep you.
May His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Lindsay for Shevet Achim