Prayer Letter — October 2020

This month we finish the wondrous season of the High Holy Days with Sukkoth and Simchat Torah. Sadly, Israel is in another full lockdown, and there is talk of tightening restrictions if the infection rate does not lower. Israel has the highest rate of infection per capita in the world right now, and we need much prayer for this! October is a time when the oppressive heat begins to break, and we get a few weeks of pleasant fall weather before the winter. This is also when Israel's rainy season officially begins, so please join us in praying for abundant rain this year!


Sukkoth - Feast of Tabernacles (Booths)
This very special holiday begins at sundown on Friday, October 2nd. Sadly, this year, because of the coronavirus, friends and extended family members are forbidden from entering one another's homes. It will be yet another lonely holiday this year for many people who do not have immediate family living with them. Please pray for all who are celebrating this special feast, whether with immediate family or alone, that they will feel God's comforting presence. Please also pray for a meaningful holiday for us all, as we are reminded in these trying times that this earth is our temporary home.

Lockdown in Israel
Israel entered a second lockdown on September 18th, which sent children back home to do distance learning, offices were closed, and non-essential businesses were forced to shut down. Only essential businesses are allowed to operate within restrictions. People are required to stay within a half-mile distance from home, unless going to purchase groceries, medicine, or go to doctors' appointments. This lockdown has severely stressed the population, emotionally, mentally, and financially. Children, especially, are exhibiting signs of severe anxiety and stress associated with loneliness and uncertainty. Parents are stressed juggling working from home while managing their children's distance learning platforms. The number of families struggling to put food on the table is increasing by the day, and PM Netanyahu just announced that this could potentially continue for an unforeseen amount of time. Please pray for Israelis who are struggling to keep up with the many pressures put on them between being jobless or working from home, managing children's long distance learning, and keeping up with mounting bills. Please also pray for protection of the mental and emotional health of Israelis - adults and children alike. Lastly, please pray that we will find our hope in the Lord and not lose sight of His goodness!

Israel & Lebanon
Since the disaster at the Beirut port in Lebanon last month, the Lebanese government has come under incredible international pressure to shape up and stop allowing the terror group, Hezbollah, to have so much influence in it. A positive outcome of this "shaping up" has been that Lebanon is willing to come to the negotiating table with Israel over a years'-long maritime border dispute. This is a U.S-led effort and it is part of efforts to stabilize the Middle East. No one is holding their breath for a full peace agreement with Lebanon, but we can continue to hope that progress will be made in the direction! Please pray for wisdom, caution, and progress in negotiations with Lebanon. Please pray that the Lord will open a door for better relations with Lebanon, which will further stabilize the region.

Coronavirus in Israel
The daily infection rate has reached a staggering 13%. There were 9,000 new cases on September 30th.  A recent report was released that 40% of all cases in Israel are in the Orthodox Jewish sector, which is very troubling because this is not a small part of Israel's population. There is a failure of communication between the government, the rabbis, and the people themselves, and many religious institutions continue to operate without any restrictions. No doubt, this is a complex situation and does not have an easy solution. The health system is reported to be at a breaking point because of the strain on health care providers. In addition, just like in other countries around the world, there is fear that the upcoming flu & cold season will worsen the infection rate of coronavirus in Israel. 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 quick stop to the quick spread of the virus.


Moran & Family
Moran decided to close the office when Israel entered the second lockdown. The ministry continues to operate virtual meetings as well as humanitarian projects that help people in need. He continues to face challenging decisions regarding the ministry and the tour operations, so please keep praying for wisdom, discernment, peace, and patience for him! Please also pray for his wife and three children as they are all home, juggling many school & work obligations while trying not to go stir crazy!

HFI Board
Please pray 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.

HFI Staff
Our staff has returned to working from home, which presents many challenges. It can be quite trying to manage one's job responsibilities that require the participation of others from afar. 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.

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 to bless the people of Israel, and really help those in need in this season.

NerYah Youth Group
This month, we are hosting all meetings virtually via telecommunication platforms. Hellen & Eliashiv are doing an amazing job of continuing to encourage the believing youth, not just at the weekly virtual meeting, but also throughout the week. They send encouraging text messages to the youth, and contact each one personally to see how the youth are holding up. Please 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. Please also pray for protection of the youth from feelings of loneliness and stress due to the lockdown. Lastly, please continue to pray for health and protection from infection for the youth.

Believing Soldiers Groups
A few believing lone soldiers enlisted in the IDF at the end of September. There have also been strict base closures after a small number of soldiers contracted the virus. 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!

University Students
The scholarship committee met at the end of September to decide how to distribute scholarship awards. The number of students requesting scholarships has increased, and it is exciting to see the large number of believers studying towards degrees in Israel! Students in Israel begin the new academic year this month. However, all classes will be held online, which is really unfortunate for so many students and professors who struggle with this form of media. Please pray for the believing students who receive financial & moral support from us, that they would be able to start the academic year strong. Please continue to pray for an abundant financial provision for us 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 (click here to learn more). 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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