It’s hard to believe that December is already here! While it has been a tough year for so many people throughout the world, Israelis in particular have been hard-hit from the country having been closed to any visitors since March. Tourism is a significant part of the country’s economy, so hundreds of thousands of men and women have been unemployed for months. This has put a significant strain on families, businesses, and the overall economy, which will take years to recover from. But we also know that our hope is not in the material, but in Almighty God, who continues to provide for Israel in miraculous ways. We are reminded of His miraculous provision this month as we celebrate Hanukkah, and remember His faithfulness to our people over the millennia!
PLEASE JOIN US IN INTERCEDING ON BEHALF OF ISRAEL FOR:
Otherwise known as the “Feast of Dedication”, Hanukkah begins sundown on Thursday, December 10. While not a biblically appointed feast, Jewish people throughout the centuries — including our Messiah (see John 10) — observed this special feast! It commemorates the miraculous victory of the Maccabees over the pagan Antiochus, who had captured Jerusalem and desecrated the Temple. Tradition tells us that God miraculously allowed the oil required to light the temple menorah to last eight days, when it was only enough for one day. This eight-day holiday is a favorite of many Jewish people throughout the world, and in Israel, it is especially meaningful. There is talk of another closure during Hanukkah in order to bring down the rising infection rate in Israel, so we ask for prayer for grace to endure if it happens. Please also pray that we will be able to celebrate in peace and safety this year, especially as tensions among Israel's surrounding neighbors is high.
Coronavirus in Israel
The country continues to gradually open up after the second lockdown. Most elementary schools are open with students studying three to four days at school, and two to three days at home, depending on the grade. Middle schools and High schools also continue to slowly reopen and students study in small capsules to mitigate exposure to the virus. The infection rate dropped dramatically after the second lockdown was imposed. As expected, the rate is slowly rising as the lockdown measures are gradually relaxed. What is concerning, however, are the number of people requiring ventilators, which has risen sharply recently. Please continue to pray for a miracle as we enter this month, for healing for all infected, and for wisdom for Israel’s public health leaders as they continually face tough decisions regarding slowing the spread of the virus. Please also pray for strong communication between the government and various sectors in Israeli society. Lastly, please pray for a miraculous and complete stop to the quick spread of the virus.
Iran, Syria, & Hezbollah
Iran's top nuclear scientist was assassinated at the end of November. While Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement, Iranian clerics accuse Israel of the assassination and have vowed revenge for his death, which has put Israel on high alert. Israel also bombed Iranian military targets in Syria last month, so tensions were already quite high between Israel and Iran. Hezbollah, Iran's proxy in Lebanon, continues to ramp up its aggression towards Israel on our northern border, only adding fuel to the flames. Please continue to pray for Israel’s protection from enemies that constantly seek our total destruction. Please also pray for wisdom for our military leaders, that they would have the ability to stop attacks before they happen. Lastly, please pray that the plans of Israel's enemies will be absolutely frustrated and that all will see the mighty hand of God move to defend Israel, the apple of His eye!
The country has been closed since mid-March, and the toll that has taken on Israel's economy is enormous. Tourism has essentially been destroyed throughout the country, and hundreds of thousands of employees have either been terminated or relegated to non-paid vacation. Restaurants remain closed since mid-September, with only take-out or delivery services allowed, and with the winter season here, it seems sit-in dining will only resume in the spring. Thousands of small businesses have closed as a lack of government aid has forced them to shut their doors for good. Sadly, families throughout the country are struggling to meet basic needs, and domestic violence is rising sharply. Please pray for Israel's people to endure this difficult time with grace from the Lord, and practical help from one another. Please also pray for miraculous provision for families and individuals who are out of work or have had to cut working hours in order to tend to children at home due to school closures. Lastly, please pray for wisdom for Israel's leadership as they seek to solve the economic situation while keeping the infection rate from soaring.
Thank you for praying for rain! Last month actually turned out to be quite rainy, and we are grateful because Israel depends on rainfall to fill the Kinneret Lake (Sea of Galilee) every year, as it is our main source of fresh water. An abundant rainy season is crucial for Israel, so we ask that you join us in continuing to pray for bountiful rain!
FOLLOWING ARE SOME MINISTRY REQUESTS FOR HOPE FOR ISRAEL:
Moran & Family
Moran continues to seek wisdom from the Lord about the ever-changing nature of the ministry in these times. It is also a season of deepening his trust and dependence on God’s provision, especially as he has not been able to travel for a year to teach and fundraise. He continues to face challenging decisions not only regarding the ministry, but also the tour operations, so please keep praying for wisdom, discernment, peace, and patience for him! Please also pray for his family, for health, patience, flexibility, and grace as they navigate a tough season of partial school attendance and partial learning from home.
The HFI Board will be meeting virtually for its yearly meeting this month; the initial plans to meet in November needed to be delayed, so the meeting will take place on December 8. This is an important meeting, as many important decisions are made that affect the ministry for the coming year. Please pray for wisdom for the board as they continue to make important decisions that affect the future of the ministry. Please pray for protection over all of HFI’s board members and their families, that the Lord would shield them from illness and spiritual warfare. Please also pray for healing for several of the board members’ spouses from various diseases and for strength during these difficult health challenges.
Our staff continues to partially work from the office, and partially from home. A few of the staff have children who study from both home and at school, so they need to adjust their working schedules accordingly. It’s a challenge, but they are doing it with grace! Please pray for our staff as we are all juggling work and family responsibilities. Please also keep our staff and their families covered in prayer, especially as we continue to face the unique challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak in Israel.
We ask for prayer that God will continue to bless the ministry’s finances so that we can continue to pay our staff salaries, our bills, and most importantly, to bless as many people as possible, especially in this season where so many people in Israel have lost their jobs and businesses. Please pray that, as much as possible, we will have a financial blessing to continue with our current projects to bless the people of Israel, and really help those in need in this season.
NerYah Youth Group
It continues to be a tough time for the youth in general, and many are struggling with being isolated and not being able to see their peers. The youth group continues to meet virtually and has developed a network of small groups by geographic area so that the youth can be in touch with one another and be of mutual encouragement. The leadership also contacts each one of the youth regularly to check in and encourage them. Please pray for protection of the youth from feelings of loneliness and stress due to the pandemic. Please also continue to pray for Hellen & Eliashiv, and for the other young adult volunteers that they will receive wisdom, encouragement, and clear direction in this time. Lastly, please continue to pray for health and protection from infection for the youth.
Believing Soldiers Groups
Please continue to pray for the believing soldiers with whom Efrat and Judi are working, that they would be strengthened by God's grace and peace in these tough times. Please also pray for the believing lone soldiers that are enlisting this month, for a tremendous blessing on them as they enter this new season of life. Lastly, please continue to pray that our outreach will be a constant encouragement and reminder that God is in control, and that He cares for them!
This month marks the midterm of the fall semester, so students have exams and are submitting papers. All courses are conducted online, which has its plusses and minuses for both students and professors! Please continue to pray for the believing students who receive financial & moral support from us, that they would be able to focus on their studies and achieve excellence despite the challenges that they face. Please continue to pray for an abundant financial provision for us to continue to award scholarships that will impact Israel’s believing students.
The cancellation of our tours for 2020 has significantly impacted the ministry's financial situation. Hope for Israel’s tours generate income for the ministry, which goes to cover our overhead, thus allowing a higher percentage of donations to go to our projects. We are hopeful that we will be able to resume tour operations in 2021, but everything is very uncertain right now. Please join us in praying for wisdom for Moran as he continues to make tough decisions regarding the tour operations. Pray for peace, wisdom, and unity among the leadership team of the tours as they continue to face tough challenges in light of the pandemic. Lastly, please pray for the Lord’s continuous provision for the ministry despite the lack of income from the tours!
Thank you for joining us in prayer for these things! May the Lord bless you!
In His Service,
The Hope for Israel Prayer Team
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