As the new year begins, we wanted to write a short summary of all that happened during this last year. This year, a year in the shadow of the Corona Virus, shook the whole world, including us. We quickly lost the freedom that we were used to living in and various restrictions were placed on us. But despite all this, by God’s grace, many encouraging things also happened this year. Here are a few of them:
We never stopped working, and every Saturday we had a message for the members of our congregation. Also, during the week we made sure we kept in touch with people, especially the elderly, in order to make sure no one had unmet needs.
During the periods of restriction, we live broadcast meetings from our building – regular meetings with worship and a message, but without a live audience. When we were in lockdown, we held our meetings through Zoom, with all our members as well as guests meeting together. We worshipped the Lord together, learned from His word, and prayed with one heart. As soon as restrictions were partially lifted, we had prayer and worship meetings in our yard. On the weekends that we were allowed to, we held two or three meetings on Saturdays, with up to 50 participants in each meeting. This was a huge blessing for all of us.
Sadly, after a few weeks of these meetings, the restrictions were once again put in place and groups were limited to 10-20 people. As a result, we decided to divide the congregation into more than 10 small groups, and we appointed leaders for each of them. The small groups met in various homes, worshipped the Lord together, and then watched the pre-recorded message. After the message we dedicated time to discussion and fellowship. The feedback from these meetings was amazing, and we see it as a great blessing for all of us. However, we are all waiting for the day when we will be able to once again meet all together as one big family in our congregational building.
Baptisms Despite the restrictions and the difficulty in meeting, during the year a number of new believers joined us. Also, several long-time members of the congregation expressed a desire to be baptized. During the month of August, we went to the Jordan River and held 5 baptisms. We can’t describe what a wonderful experience it was.
Among those baptized were two grandmothers – one of them 86 years old! Also, there was a young married couple who made a mutual decision to be baptized together, and another young man who decided to dedicate his life to the Lord. We all felt the Lord’s presence and the blessing and joy He gave.
A few weeks later, we were blessed to baptized four teenagers, who chose to dedicate their lives to the Lord. We held a small outdoor meeting on the banks of the Jordan River, sang worship songs and watched the exciting baptisms. The weather was summery and lovely, and we felt God’s presence and the rejoicing in Heaven. Thank God for His faithfulness.
Our youth group is large and active, and in light of the Corona Virus restrictions, we debated for a long time whether and how to hold our annual youth camp. The restrictions changed often and we were not able to predict whether the youth camp could happen or not. In the end, the team of leaders decided in faith to hold the camp in August, in two groups of up to 20 people (youth and staff). In order to manage this, the camp was shortened to three days for each group.
We held the camp at a campground near Kiryat Sh’mona. The camp was very blessed. The youth learned much from the book of Daniel, played many team-building games, hiked and boated along the Jordan River, and spent time in prayer and worship. Praise God, all the youth returned home encouraged and blessed.
At the start of the Corona Virus, the city’s Welfare agency asked us to help distribute packages of food to elderly and needy. By the Lord’s grace, and with the help of another Messianic organization, we were able to distribute about 250 packages of food and other essentials during April and May, for Passover and also after the holiday. Some of those we distributed to the Arab villages around us. During the Fall holidays, members of our congregation distributed about 100 food packages to the elderly and needy. Along with this, some of our members are continuing to help the elderly in out city with various handyman jobs, all year long.
We thank God for these opportunities to bless the people of our city and for the Welfare agencies’ willingness to invite us to take part. Please pray that we will be able to continue to be a faithful witness of God’s love through these projects.
Learning About Our Heritage
Before Hanukkah, we hosted a very special Zoom meeting, which we opened up to all our acquaintances and all the congregations in the land. This was the first of a series of Heritage events, in which we plan to invite people to lecture about important points from our country’s history, and show them in light of the Bible. In this first event, we invited Shlomo, Yossi Ovadia’s brother, to lecture on his part in the Entebbe Operation – the IDF’s daring operation to rescue the passengers of the hijacked Air France plane that landed in Entebbe, Uganda, in 1976. Shlomo was the head flight navigator of the operation. You are welcome to watch the recording here: Entebbe Operation
We invite you to continue to bring our pastors and staff before the Lord in prayer, and to ask for His grace, leading, protection and unity in our midst. We wish everyone a blessed and fruitful new year. We pray that the Lord’s will would be done in your lives and that His name would be glorified through you.