Dear praying friends,
In our daily Bible study, we have reached this week the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. In John 19.38-40, we read about two men who apparently have previously been unable to openly declare their interest or affiliation to Jesus:
After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as is the custom of the Jews to bury.
When reading through this, we reflected that something has changed within these two men, in the face of the power of God. Once fearful, Joseph of Arimathea pushes his way to the front showing great courage to publicly declare his alliance to the honour of Jesus. Nicodemus also, who firstly came under the cover of darkness, is here forever written into the story of Jesus’ death, as another giving his honour and love to this man, Jesus.
Later, we read of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb, lingering, weeping, watching and then demanding “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Here is another example of one of Jesus’ followers, with a dedicated single vision: to honour her beloved, disregarding the impossibility of the task set before her.
Something exciting is happening in the stories of each of these individuals. In the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection, they are filled with boldness and courage; something which is commanded and promised throughout the Bible: Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! – Psalm 27.14
Thank God that in His power we are transformed, not only just to be able to carry out the tasks which he has set before us, which, at least here at Shevet, often seem impossible! But also that He would permit us to be able to do His work with clear and joyful hearts, setting Him before us, to whom our works and our hearts are our offerings.
We have had a lot happening this week, with many of the stories of the children intertwined together as a big family. The cumulation of this family spirit was found in a very excitable farewell party last night for three Kurdish children: Abdullah, Aurfa, Mohammed Mahdi and Fayez from Gaza. All the mothers wanted to take photographs together, to remember fondly their time here in Israel where they found healing for their children.
Little Fayez was included in the party, as we were hopeful that he would be able to return to Gaza after a few weeks’ stay with us, extended by a few complications with his medication. It has been wonderful to have him and his mother staying with us as well; he is a very content baby, and his mother is a gentle and sweet spirited person, and we are praying for her that her earnest and caring heart will be touched by the love and knowledge of Messiah:
It was the mother of Fayez who brought us the news Sunday night that Karim had died. Karim’s mother chose to stay there that night with the other mothers, the ‘family’ she has found whilst in the hospital. The gift of being surrounded by people who know and care for our situations is a powerful blessing. Please pray for Karim’s mother, who is back in Gaza now, that she will know the comfort of God as she adjusts to the loss of her baby, after these difficult months in the hospital:
Please lift up Ayham, who is still hospitalised in Hadassah. Margarita has been visiting him and his mother, and was able to take her out for a day in Jerusalem this week for some brief respite. Ayham is still not in a good condition, so far unable to have the surgery to switch his great arteries, as he has an infection. He is also having bleeding in his brain:
Yano is going into a diagnostic catheterisation tomorrow; her mother has been anxious for this appointment as soon as is possible. Despite a delay caused by the virus which went through our homes, Yano seems to be ready now, and we are hoping for a good outcome for her tomorrow. Please pray that God would be with her and her mother:
Mohammed A was discharged to our home this week; he is on oxygen during the night, uses quite a lot of medications, and needs monitoring throughout the day. His mother has risen to the occasion, and has him constantly attached to the oxygen monitor, and is learning to take on the task of administering all of his medications. We are asking our Father for discernment about seeking a second opinion before sending this precious boy home without surgery, as has been recommended:
At the same time as missing this lovely family, we were excited to be surprised by the arrival of Jonathan and Michelle! Our morning meeting felt familiar to have them joining us after so many months, and so please pray that they will find God’s peace and welcome. We are hopeful that another couple will be joining us tomorrow, Gijs and Riet from the Netherlands. As with many of our recently arriving volunteers, they have been hoping to be able to come to Shevet for a long time, so we are thanking God for opening their way here, and for His perfect timing, and perfect design.
Thank you for praying with us, for our families, and for our hearts to be open to receive the power of God, sending us out to be His hands and his feet, with great courage and boldness.
Georgia for Shevet Achim