Dear friend of Israel and Celebrate Messiah,
Shalom in his grace. This beautiful Hebrew word for peace means more currently than ever! I know that you are praying for the peace of Jerusalem as am I. When we pray for the peace of Jerusalem we are praying for the entire nation of Israel and perhaps even Jewish people everywhere but we’re also praying for peace for all those who live in the Holy Land. It is a disastrous time for Israelis and for the innocent Palestinian victims of Hamas.
I’ve been asked by our communications team to provide an update to you, our dear partners in ministry, to bring you up to speed regarding the Israeli response to the atrocities experienced on October 7th and the defensive measures taken by the Israeli army, and the work that your mission to the Jewish People is doing to try and bring God’s love and comfort to those who are suffering.
First of all, let me begin with a bit of an overview of what has transpired since Saturday morning at 6:30 AM Israel time on October 7th.
An Update on the War:
- 1,200 Israelis were killed, and more than 3,000 were wounded or injured.
- Israeli forces have killed more than 1,500 Hamas terrorists who broke through the Gazan border into Israel.
The Israeli military mobilized 360,000 reservists.
Israel has now stationed a large number of troops in the north adjacent to the Lebanon border.
Israeli forces continue to make air strikes in Gaza focused on munitions factories, large and small, and the offices of the Hamas leadership.
The Evils of Hamas
Day by day and hour by hour we are receiving gruesome reports of the ways in which the Hamas terrorists treated the Israelis irrespective of age or gender. Most of those who were killed were civilians and even as of now the number of soldiers serving in the Israeli defense force who have died number approximately 300.
This means that the Hamas terrorists murdered almost one thousand Israeli civilians, including children and the elderly. We have heard many stories now of inhuman behavior where aside from simply shooting Israelis the Hamas terrorists raped and maimed their victims before killing them.
We also know that the terrorists abducted more than 100 or as many as 200 Israelis and took them as hostages to Gaza, where it is reported that many of them have already been murdered, used as human shields, and they continue to be tortured.
The terrorists murdered at least 260 people attending a music festival. Those killed were primarily younger people who attended this event which some also considered a new age festival. In other words, the types of young people who came to this event were enjoying the good weather, music, food, and the company of like-minded Israelis, many of whom recently completed their Army Service. This means they were in their early to late 20s and we understand that some of them were still in their tents when the terrorists came upon them primarily after landing gliders in the fields near the concert. They then went tent to tent throwing hand grenades, pouring gasoline onto the tents, igniting them with a match, and shooting those who were dying in the flames. They then used tractors to pile the bodies.
We also now have forensic evidence showing that the Hamas terrorists massacred more than 100 civilians in the southern kibbutz (collective farm) of Kfar Aza. They murdered and decapitated some, including babies.
Additionally, and dear friend it is very difficult for me to even write these words and send this letter to you, but I feel I must…that some of the elderly Holocaust survivors among whom we ministered and loved deeply were killed as well. Let me share the exact report from Maxim one of our outreach workers who has been working among these elderly, and beautiful people.
Today it was a very hard day for us. Ofakim city was clear today from terrorists and we found out that 5 Holocaust survivors we worked with were killed! There is a suspicion that a 6th was killed but we cannot find the body so this elderly Holocaust survivor may have been abducted and taken to Gaza. It is so difficult to think that after all, they went through when they were children at the hands of the Nazis and then moved to Israel where they could be free to live but now that their lives ended in such a horrible way. It is so unfair and my heart is broken.
Also one of the Russian immigrant kids who was part of our camping programs died in battle!
Our Ministry Through the War
Our Jerusalem center is providing shelter for about a dozen children whose parents fled the border town of Sderot where we have ministered for two decades. The parents had to work, and schools were again shut down. We brought them to Jerusalem as is a little safer and created a program for them to have fun and learn more about the Lord.
We are also providing everyday staples of food, water, clothing, and toiletries that are needed by the soldiers and families of those whose husbands and fathers left for the battlefield. The stores are quickly running out of what is needed as well. One of our staff sent me this report:
I received a call from a soldier who was in the camps when he was a kid, and he shared with me that they were short of food (there was only dry food). I was able to contact and talk with the unit commander, ask him about his needs, and provide them with 300 sandwiches and drinks.
Another of our staff writes,
Today, we delivered supplies to the bases in the north. While the army provides most of their needs, the sudden call-up of 360,000 civilians meant many of them lacked essential items. In some areas, soldiers are on the front lines and can’t access daily necessities like showers. We purchased t-shirts, underwear, socks, and sleeping bags based on requests from base commanders. On our way north, we met friends who contributed more supplies, and we traveled with three vehicles. As we approached the border, the atmosphere grew increasingly tense. The soldiers, many of them very young, had serious expressions. We saw numerous tanks and police in combat vehicles. When we reached the designated location, we connected with an officer. Soldiers from the bases came out to collect the items. They were very happy to receive them, and we conveyed that Christian friends of Israel are praying and supporting the Jewish state during this difficult time. Some soldiers shared stories about their children and wives back home.
The trip was stressful, but we are grateful for the opportunity to serve our people in this challenging time.
There is so much more to say. Soon we are expecting a ground war in Gaza and quite possibly in the north, against a more powerful and well-armed Hezbollah. This would seriously increase the scope of the conflict as these terrorists have far more powerful missiles that if launched and missed by the Iron Dome could wreak incredible destruction inside of Israel. We are holding our breath and praying that this will not happen and that those who seek the destruction of Israel will be restrained by the Lord and by the international community!
I hope that this gives you some idea of what is happening on day 7 of the war. We will keep you updated as we are able.
Be sure to go to our Celebrate Messiah website and ask God to guide you as we need a lot of prayer and help at this moment. We have launched an Israel War Relief Appeal and many of you have already given to this emergency fund. Thank you so very much.
Please pray for our 30-plus staff members in Israel who are of course, concerned for their own safety and that of their families but they also know that God has placed them in this position to use them for His glory and the benefit and blessing of others. It would be wonderful to know you are praying for them.
For more information, please go to www.celebratemessiah.com.au/
If you would like to join us for a Zoom Prayer Meeting on Monday, 16th of October at 8 pm. Here are the details:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 871 8939 5595
How to Pray for Israel
- Pray the conflict will end soon with minimal further loss of life.
Pray the hostages will be released.
Pray the terrorists who are still alive will repent, turn to Yeshua, and pursue peace.
Pray this crisis will draw many in Israel and Gaza to believe in Yeshua.
Your brother in Messiah,
Executive Director of Celebrate Messiah