Prayer Letter — May 2020

The new normal in Israel was especially felt this past month. Holidays and solemn days were observed with the nation in total lockdown. To the shock of many, two party leaders who seemed as though they would never join forces (Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz) did exactly that and now are heading up a coalition in Israel that no-one could have foreseen. The majority of big “social” activities have taken place from balconies or online. These are trying times but we know that such a time as this is perfect for humbling us and turning the hearts of many to the Lord and we praying that many will come to a revelation of the Lord this month.

Please join us in interceding on behalf of Israel for:

Isolation in Light of Lightening Restrictions
During the observation of Passover, Holocaust Memorial Day, Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror, and Independence Day, all of Israel was on total lockdown. There were fines for violating this lockdown and places such as cemeteries were closed and locked to the public. There was absolutely no way to maintain any semblance of normality for important dates in Israel. Instead, the new normal has meant a month of near total isolation for the entire nation of Israel. The restrictions on movement have been lifted to some degree but isolation is still a very real challenge facing the people of Israel. Please pray for both parents and children in Israel as they isolate together and seek to stay healthy and productive to the best of their abilities. Please also pray that people will understand the benefit of staying home as much as possible for this period of time! Prayespecially for those for whom isolation is toxic or life threatening such as the mentally ill or the elderly who may struggle to maintain access to key services or supplies that they are accustomed to getting. Lastly, please pray that as Israel slowly begins to lift the lockdown, that people will wisely and gradually return to their workplaces and routines, while remaining vigilant to wear masks, and keep distance from others.

Increased Anti-Semitism Associated with the Pandemic
Anytime some major inconvenience or discomfort is felt in the west, there has historically been a rise in anti-Semitism. This past month we were able to honor the 189,500 holocaust survivors who enjoy citizenship in the Jewish state of Israel today while mourning the 6 million Jews who suffered and died in the Holocaust, but we were also reminded of the ongoing attacks on the Jewish people. Although numerous racist theories have been put forward for the pandemic, theories abound against the Jewish people. Many synagogues holding online services have experienced anti-Semitic hackers interrupting their service with hateful threats or accusations. Pray for victims of anti-Semitism during this already trying time in the world. Pray specifically for the Jewish state of Israel to flourish and to be a light to the nations at this trying time.

Nonprofits Standing in the Gap
There are numerous nonprofits in Israel that are standing in the gap at this time to be there for at risk groups and people who are especially challenged by this new normal. We have extended our Operation Hesed Project at Hope for Israel in order to address the needs in Israel today (click here to learn more). In this time of great change and uncertainty, tens of thousands in Israel are standing in the gap to volunteer their services to a number of key needs. Some businesses that normally offer meals to their employees on-site are now distributing those same catered meals to people in need rather than their employees who are now working from home. There are many innovative ideas that are being implemented in Israel to bring relief to those in tough situations. Pray with us that the Lord would bless all efforts to stand in the gap for those in need during these uncertain times. Pray that God would guide those doing relief work to operate with wisdom and to effectively address the needs of those in hard circumstances.

At the end of this month, the evening of May 28th to the evening of May 29th, we observe Shavuot in Israel (in the diaspora, this feast will be observed an additional day after that as usual). This is the day, is also known as the day of “Pentecost” (Greek for 50 days because of being 50 days from Passover). In Jewish tradition, this is the day the Lord gave the people of Israel the Torah. The New Testament shows that God poured out His Spirit on many on this day and as a result, thousands came to faith in a single day. It is a day to celebrate a great harvest, both the physical harvest of grain every year which provides for our physical needs, and a spiritual harvest in which many every day are being given an opportunity to hear the Good News of our Messiah and to walk in the freedom that is freely given by our Lord to those who will believe. Pray with us that this Shavuot will truly be a time of blessing for the crops of Israel as well as a time of fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit in this land at a critical time in history.

Following are some ministry requests for Hope for Israel:

Moran & Family
Moran will gradually return to working in the office this month. After seven weeks working from home due to the lockdown, it is a welcomed change for him, but it also will be challenging after a truly blessed time with his family at home. This month, he will focus on reconnecting with the staff in person, and also continuing the restructuring of the ministry due to the new reality of COVID-19. Please pray for Moran as he faces some tough decisions and for the ability to trust God's guidance & provision in all areas of the ministry. Please also continue to pray for his family as they navigate distance learning at home, while his wife continues to work from both the home & office and is finishing up her MA program this semester.

HFI Board
Please pray for the Lord’s wisdom for our board members as they are facing new direction for 2020 and have important decisions to make in this difficult season. 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.

HFI Staff
The majority of the staff is returning to the office this month. We are all ready to slowly come out of the lockdown! It has been a challenging time of working from home and conducting our outreaches virtually, but we have seen God's hand move in this season so clearly! He really did give us the grace we needed to overcome the challenges and keep us focused on the goal of serving Him. Please pray for our staff as we slowly return to "normal" and also during restructuring within the ministry. 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.

Operation Hesed - Feeding Families in Need
We are continuing to bless families in their time of need in Israel through our Operation Hesed project. This post-Passover phase will be the second stage of the project that we felt the Lord was calling us to implement due to the crippled economy and high unemployment in Israel. Please pray with us for the success of this project and that many would be blessed and encouraged as we pour into them at this time. Please also pray for God's continued financial provision so that we, in turn, can bless numerous other families in Israel as unemployment will continue to be an issue in the coming months.

Ministry Finances
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 that have such an impact on the people of Israel!

NerYah Youth Group
The youth group continues to meet every Thursday evening virtually! They have a time of worship, teaching, and time for everyone to share how they're coping with the challenges. Zechariah, Efrat, and the other adult volunteers have each taken a small group of youth under their wings and are conducting weekly zoom bible studies; this has had an incredible impact on the youth! This allows the leaders to connect with the youth individually, to disciple, teach, and offer encouragement where needed. Another young woman, Helen, will be joining the staff of NerYah this month! Please pray for Zechariah, Efrat, Helen, and the adult volunteers as they reach out to the youth in the Jerusalem area, and that they will receive wisdom, encouragement, and clear direction in this time.

Soldiers’ & Lone Soldiers' Groups
In late April, Efrat, Judi, Rachel, & Zechariah organized around 50 care packages to deliver to believing soldiers (and lone soldiers) in the Jerusalem area. It was a huge encouragement not only to the soldiers, but to their families as well! Many soldiers were allowed an overnight home visit after being confined to their bases for over one month, so we were able to time the delivery with the soldiers' home visit. Efrat & Judi continue to encourage the soldiers via text messages, hosting zoom meetings, and providing practical tips to pass this lockdown spiritually & mentally! Please continue to pray especially for the believing soldiers Efrat and Judi who are working to encourage them and pray with them from a distance at this time. Please also pray that our outreach to them will be a constant encouragement and reminder that God is in control, and that He cares for them!

University Students
The universities are operating on a strictly online basis currently. The students are receiving constant encouragement and practical tips in how to manage all their various responsibilities from Tigist, the coordinator of this aspect of our Threefold Vision. She is in constant touch with the students, online and via the phone, sending encouraging words, praying with them, and providing tools to sustain this challenging time. Please also pray for the students, for their successful studies this last semester of the academic year, and for Tigist, for wisdom, strength, guidance, and encouragement! Please pray for significant financial provision for scholarship funds that we can award in the coming academic year. Please also pray for Sapir, who was coordinating this outreach with Tigist, as she went on maternity leave this month in anticipation of the birth of her first child!

Foundations of the Faith Book
Please continue to pray that every copy of this discipleship resource will have a personal impact on those who read it and draw many into an increasingly deeper relationship with God! Please pray for a wider distribution of the book, that it will reach many people and that they will be strengthened and challenged. We currently have the book printed in Hebrew, English, Russian, & Spanish.

“Israel Beyond the Headlines” Video Project
This project highlights the incredible ways Israel blesses the world (click here to check it out). We produce short videos highlighting Israeli organizations & innovations that make a positive difference in our lives every single day. This project also advocates for Israel, which is an important part of our call as the Body of Messiah throughout the world. But of course, this is also a threat to the enemy and we have experienced some warfare in this area. Please pray for us as we continue to produce powerful & effective videos, and for all involved in this project: Lior, Moran, Nate, Elad, Melissa, & Sapir. Please pray for His protection over us all and that He will bless our efforts to advocate for Israel, the apple of His eye. Please also pray that the Lord will provide the necessary funding to continue with this important project.

Please join us in praying for all our tours, many of which are either on hold or have been cancelled due to the pandemic. 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 (click here to learn more). Pray for Moran as he stands before some difficult decisions regarding this operation, and for peace, wisdom, and unity among the leadership team of the tours as they continue to face tough challenges in light of the pandemic.

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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