Local Messianic org, Jospeh Project provide relief, fun for kids living near Gaza
Distribution of bags donated by The Joseph Project (Photo courtesy)
The Joseph Project partnered with a local humanitarian aid organization in Sderot, less than a mile from the Gaza border, to bring relief and fun to southern Israel’s residents who have been living in a constant state of tension due to sporadic rocket attacks and kite warfare.
“We are happy to be here … to bless the children and to give them a sense that somebody cares for them despite the trauma that they are going through,” said Joseph Project Executive Director Jim Schutz.
Sderot is referred to as the “bomb shelter capital of the world” because of constant rocket attacks between 2001 and 2008 and sporadic attacks since then including skirmishes that led to a war in 2014 with Israel.
In this region, residents have only 15 seconds from the time an alarm is sounded to reach shelter before a rocket lands.
In the midst of high tensions this summer, late last month the Joseph Project and a local Messianic organization joined with the Sderot municipality to distribute gifts for children and host a fun-filled event for them. The all-day event was organized by a Messianic organization in Sderto while the municipality provided the place, water slides, cotton candy and other games. Joseph Project provided the gift boxes for the children.
“This past month we’ve had many problems with rocket fire and with incendiary kites,” Micheal Beener of City of Life congregation explained. “This is very stressful for the residents and the children. Many are unwilling to leave their homes to play outdoors freely.”
In the past few months tensions have escalated again in the Gaza-border region. In addition to weekly protests on Friday, Palestinians have launched hundreds of rockets at Israeli spaced over a few random 24-hour periods.
Beener said that with the aid of the Joseph Project the festival was a success, bringing joy to children during summer vacation and giving them the opportunity to get out of their homes into a protected environment for games and gifts.
The gifts were from a United States-based ministry called Samaritan’s purse which provides shoeboxes filled with a mix of toys and personal items packed according to gender and age for children around the world.
According to a study in 2015, some 40 percent of the children in Sderot suffer from symptoms of anxiety, fear and PTSD. Living in Sderot and the surrounding communities can also be isolating and lonely.
“It’s very nice to know that someone is thinking about us and loving us,” said one resident, Karen, who was thankful for the Joseph Project’s one-day event.
“We have to deal with this hardship and it’s not easy,” said Mark Ifraimov, deputy mayor of Sderot. “Many of our children experience trauma and live in this difficult situation. Some of the children were born into this situation knowing all about ‘red alert’ alarms. This is not a proper way to grow up from infancy.”
The city tries to provide positive experiences such as the Jospeh Project festival for the children to counter the trauma they undergo.
“The work of the Joseph Project allows for an expansion of the fun activities,” Ifraimov said. “We aren’t talking about children who are poor or pitiful, but rather we are giving them the chance to be happy, and to say that life is so much nicer.”
The inflatable bouncy castles served as a positive experience for children who now have to be educated that kites and balloons can be dangerous. Because many of the kites and balloons launched from Gaza have had explosive charges attached to them, police have been urging children to stay away from them.
These seemingly innocuous objects flown over from Gaza have sparked fires that have destroyed thousands of acres of farmland and caused millions of shekels worth of damage over the last few months.
The festival bolstered the residents’ morale and provided day of relief from bomb shelters and constant anxiety.
“The people don’t want to leave the city, they feel like this is home,” Schutz said. “They want to be here, their children want to be here. And so we are blessed to be a part to help encourage them and to strengthen the community.”
The Kehila News Staff is a team of Israeli believers in Yeshua.
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Gaza Border Prayer Alert
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Global sunrise prayer centered on Jerusalem – New PrayerWave
Middle East sunrises are swift and spectacular. As the molten glare of the sun spills over Jerusalem’s mountains, the tired soul stirs and the spirit soars. But being there for that moment means getting up good and early.
The PrayerWave is a new Jerusalem-based global prayer initiative that seeks to ensure Israel-centered prayer for every sunrise in each of the earth’s time zones.
The first Wednesday morning of every month the PrayerWave organizes a special morning prayer event here in Jerusalem. At the recent sunrise event here, Shilo Ben Hod, a local Israeli worship leader from Succat Hallel – a powerhouse prayer center in Jerusalem – led worship. Together with a group of diehard prayer warriors, Ben Hod ushered in the day with songs of praise, prayer and worship to God from Yemin Moshe, overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem.
Launched this year on May 14, the date of Israel’s 70th anniversary, the PrayerWave is one of the most unique birthday gifts Israel has received this year. The PrayerWave is a 24/7 movement seeking to build an unbroken prayer chain around the globe throughout all time zones.
The prayer initiative is the result of a personal vision that ICEJ’s President Jürgen Bühler had carried in his heart for several years. He envisioned a prayer movement of people rising in the morning to pray for Israel, revival and local communities, circling the world paced by the dawning sun.
The spirit behind the movement brings to mind Daniel’s prayer, in which he discerns from the books that the time for God’s promises has come (Dan. 9:1-2) but likewise that the people of God fall short of being ready (Dan. 9:5-6). This leads Daniel to throw himself on God’s mercies and pray into the Lord’s promises (Dan. 9:18-19).
“The PrayerWave is an invitation to draw closer to God and be part of what He is doing in this season,” Joshua Gooding, ICEJ PrayerWave coordinator, underscored.
The PrayerWave is also a unique spiritual platform that allows believers to connect in three important aspects:
- Personal time with God before the world wakes up
- Personal spiritual engagement for the cause of Zion, for God’s heart and will for Jerusalem
- Personal connection to believers in the global Body of Messiah, as intercessors labor together in prayer throughout the daily relay
After only three months in existence, the PrayerWave now covers Israel with prayer in 21 out of 24 time zones. Gooding already has 350 committed prayer warriors worldwide. His next milestone is within reach: having 500 global intercessors signed up by September’s Feast of Tabernacles.
Do you want to join? Sign up at www.icejprayerwave.com to find out about next month’s prayer event or contact the ICEJ PrayerWave at Prayerwave@icej.org You can also follow the event live on the ICEJ’s Facebook page the first Wednesday of each month.
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It is being produced again
Briskilla and Tian Jie arrived on the morning of May 15. The season of wheat harvest was at its peak, the sheaves ready to be harvested. Hermana picked them up from the airport and escorted them to one of the nearest fields. They could not resist it. As tired as they were, they had to stop and glean.
The other team members joined us and we started praying. Five of us were going to cross into Jordan, each one with her own ideas and agenda. But what was God’s mind? Well, we had to learn to listen together, if we wanted to figure it out.
This was my first prophetic trip ever. I had no idea that every word spoken, every stressful moment, any misunderstanding – are all symbolic; that all sow their part to the advancement of the plot.
Finally, after two days of talking our heads off, praying, sharing back and forth, eating – of course – and learning to appreciate each other, we felt like we have a common rythm, a shared heartbeat. That we are ready to hit the road.
Before leaving home we collected 12 stones, just in case we’ll find a resting place for them somewhere in Jordan. And there was one more thing we wanted to put our hands on as we step into the wound – the Balm of Gilead.
Several years ago, at the northern part of the Dead Sea, production of the Biblical Perssimon tree, known as Balsemon, from which the Balm of Gilead is produced, has begun. The Balm of Gilead is an expensive perfume that was produced in the Mountains of Gilead (moderd day Northern Jordan).
We met with the guy who produces it, and heard a fascinating lecture about the process. The tree when scratched, produces tears of resin. And that weeping of the plant is not in vain – it produces oil that in Biblical days was used as a healing balm (see Jer. 46:11; 8:22). Apparently it takes more than 100 kgs of flowers, leaves or bark to produce just one cup of Balm. Crazily expensive!
We bought a few small bottles and headed north, to the crossing point. As we did that, we realized we are already driving in the wound, in the rift, starting at the southern point that I saw in the picture [see Crossing Over – A Hebrew], which is also the lowest point on planet earth. This was one more reminder that deep healing always starts with true humility of spirit. Anyway, this time we had some healing in our “wings” and a little better understanding of our mission.
Or at least that was what we thought…
This article originally appeared on Ot OoMofet Ministries, July 29, 2018, and reposted with permission.
Orna, born and raised in Israel, is a lover of books, and especially The Book. She is fascinated with the Hebrew language and with the God who created the world through the mere expression of Hebrew words. In 2003 she established Ot OoMofet Ministries (Hebrew for “A sign and Example”), whose main focus is turning stories of brokenness and hardships into stories of victory. Besides ministering to the broken hearted in Israel, she now teaches worldwide about the widowhood of Israel, the role the church plays in its restoration and on a variety of other subjects.
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Worship for the King: Keren Silver’s new recording to be released in August
Coming from a musical family that worshipped together on a regular basis, Keren Silver has been singing for as long as she can remember and composed her first song around the age of 13 with the desire to see people come to God and experience His presence.
At 16, she became aware that God was calling her to share her gift with the world. She resisted for several years because of reluctance to be in the spotlight and feeling that it was not the right timing, but finally gave in and recorded Show Me Your Glory, which was released in 2014.
She thought that would be it. Her second album, King of Glory, due out in mid-August, wasn’t her idea either.
“Both albums came out of surrender to God and a desire to be faithful with the gift He gave me and not bury it in the ground,” she explained. “I see these songs as God’s songs, which He gives me in order to bless the body of believers in Israel in particular, as well as around the world.”
A number of the songs on the second album came out of a difficult season.
“I had gone through a stillbirth – the most difficult thing I’ve ever experienced. I was so shattered that I had a difficult time hearing God,” she said. “He started giving me songs containing His words and cut through the dark and difficult place I was in. One of the things that God showed me during that time was that He is the King of Glory, both in the good times and in the bad. He began to teach me that the purpose of our lives is to know Him, become more like Him, and take part in His glory. This also means knowing His suffering.”
It was then that she started singing again.
“After my personal tragedy took place, God lifted my head and began to show me His glory. He is the King of Glory and worthy of all praise, no matter what I am feeling or going through. It’s a very basic yet deep and life-altering truth. Although everything changes around us and seems unstable, He does not change; He is I Am Who I Am, the Lord of Hosts, as I declare in one of the songs. And that’s why this CD is called King of Glory – because that’s who He is. He is worthy of our praise.”
About a year ago, Silver felt God telling her to release another album. She teamed up with Messianic music producer Avi Perrodin and began recording her first demos in November, with the goal of completing the entire project before giving birth for the fourth time this past March.
Unexpectedly, she started having problems with her voice. Multiple specialists found nothing wrong with her vocal cords and suggested that the phenomenon was probably related to pregnancy hormones.
“It was terrible and very scary,” she admitted. “We recorded everything except my final vocals and had to stop because I couldn’t sing. It was frustrating because it put the schedule for the CD on hold, but looking back, it was God’s way of making sure I stayed calm. Recording a CD on a tight schedule is a stressful process and this way, I had no choice but to step back.”
In the meantime, musicians from all over Israel participated in the album, including Silver’s younger brother, David Seguin. Seguin sings on Silver’s first album but this time he recorded two of his own songs, which are already sung in congregations throughout Israel.
“Working with him comes naturally, and my music wouldn’t be complete without him,” she said.
Silver went back to the studio two months after giving birth.
“After Selah was born, I was listening to the songs before we recorded my final vocals, and just started weeping. Not because of my pain; the Spirit of God came and washed my soul and brought so much healing. Often, I’d hold Selah while recording, because at that stage she would stay still and quiet for long periods of time. God used that, too, to heal me: singing songs that came out of a dark season because of losing a baby while standing in the studio with a newborn in my arms was just amazing.”
The album’s main themes are our expectation of Yeshua’s return and praising Him while declaring His unchanging truth.
“After releasing my first album, in which I asked God to show me His glory, He began to stir an intense yearning for Yeshua’s return and for His kingdom. A desire for His reign in my life and the universe in general,” she said.
“They’re not my songs,” Silver said of the effect that Show Me Your Glory had on people all over the world. “The Lord has really encouraged me through people who were touched, changed and freed by the first album. I’m so humbled and privileged that God chooses to use the songs that He gives me to work in other people.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing what God is going to do through the second album. I want God to use it to free captives, heal the brokenhearted, comfort those who mourn, give glory for ashes, and a garment of praise instead of heaviness. I want these songs to be a source of blessing and a connection to the true source of living water. That people would be renewed, encouraged and restored through the words that God spoke to me and through me. To see us standing together and giving the King of Glory the praise and worship that He deserves, no matter the circumstances, and watch as He establishes His Kingdom on earth in us and through us.”
Violet moved to Israel in 2013. She lives in Haifa with her husband and their daughter.