Prayer and Deacons trip to Israel 2009


23 April – 03 May 2009

No, with the LORD it is not boring to travel to the same churches for the fifth time!
Every year HE surprises us with places, people and incidents, which are new, even for us “old hats”. At the same time, the messianic Jews have become our friends – what a blessing!

From my point of view here are a few highlights:
• In order to encourage and give pleasure to the recipients I was able to take with me jewellery from Israel with biblical promises. They caused joy to both the giver and the receiver!
• Church service in Arad. Wonderful worship with the presence of the LORD, while outside the church Orthodox Jews shouted their disapproval and cursed us. After this experience we will pray a little differently for our friends in Israel!
• Meeting with the survivors of the Holocaust. They were truly heart to heart encounters! Instead of rejection they tried to communicate using all the German and Hebrew words they knew. They still see Switzerland as a friend of Israel, despite Durban 2.. O LORD, have mercy on us!
• The applause of the three young waiters after hearing Werner’s testimony.
• The two totally contradictory public holidays in Jerusalem:
Remembrance Day for those soldiers killed in action.
and Independence Day.
How close are grief and joy to one another! That gets under your skin!
• Communion on the walls of Jerusalem.
• Prayer at strategic and important places ( during the War of Independence), which today serve as an example or role model.
Fellowship with members of the church during a delicious and mouth-watering meal.
• GOD’s almost tangible presence on Mount Carmel and in the prayer grotto.
• That we laughed so much!

Psalm 122
Regula Woiwode

Comfort, comfort my people: says the LORD.

In the last issue of “Abraham News” (December 2008), we wrote a report about a project “Help for survivors of the Holocaust” in which we shared our plans to raise financial support for those survivors living in Israel through a sponsored run ( 10 km. as part of the Steiner Marathon).
First of all I would, once again, like to offer my heartfelt thank to all of you, who participated in this event. It was a wonderful and extremely encouraging experience.
We were able to take about CHF 30.000.- with us to Israel. Individuals, Families, Prayer Groups and Churches gave very generously! I wasn’t the only person to take part in this Marathon with this “God-given” motive: two other men ( a fifteen year-old from Schaffhausen and a man in his middle forties from Bündnerland) also ran and gave us the money they raised from their church and from their circle of friends.
Yes, and now it was time to go. During our Prayer and Deaconry (helps ministry) trip to Israel we met with a group of Holocaust survivors. This was organised for us by a Messianic pastor and his wife. These pastors from Ashdod have built up very good relationships with Holocaust survivors in their town and region, through their friendship with the leaders of an organisation with the name “Sikaronn” (Remembrance).
We, all, myself and the twelve ladies in our group, were wondering what kind of reception we could expect? What kind of emotional response would we encounter?
Would they keep us at arms length, would they be reserved, polite but cool or even openly hostile, full of painful memories, agitation and grief? Would they be able to, or want to, speak with us? How would the tables in the room be arranged and where should we sit? So many questions which left a queasy, uneasy feeling in our stomachs. These feelings we brought to the LORD in prayer, and HE answered with a question to my wife, Regula: “What do you think that I have been doing during the last 60 years?”
We were deeply ashamed and Regula had the impression that GOD would surprise us and that we could even be happy with the result. But then what lay before us, exceeded our wildest imagination and expectations!
On arrival in the foyer of the restaurant, we were greeted with loud and happy cries of “Shalom and “Hallo.” So the ice was immediately broken. And then when we entered the restaurant, itself, most of us caught our breath and could only let out excited and
delighted “Oaaahs” and “Aooohs”. The saloon, the lighting, the round tables filled to overflowing, the silk-covered chairs, the waiters with white gloves – it gave the impression of a wedding feast. It was fantastic. Simply wonderful. We split up so that some of our group sat at each table together with some Holocaust survivors. The deputy mayor of Ashdod was also present, which gave the meeting an official atmosphere. There was not the slightest hint of reticence at the tables. Everyone tried their best to communicate with us in broken German, Hebrew and sign language.
One could hear laughter and the merry clinking of glasses to the sounds of “Lechaim!
Cheers! Good health!” For many it was the first time in their lives that they could eat and enjoy a meal in such surroundings.
It is impossible to make amends for the harrowing and gruesome experiences that they have suffered: no money in the world can do that! Of that fact we were and are fully aware. Speeches expressing their thankfulness at our coming were made by the Mayor, and the President of “Sikaronn” and we felt that their hearts had been touched. (Our hearts as well!) I made it quite plain to them, who were responsible for this whole meeting and what their motive was. It was and is GOD’s love to HIS chosen people, to them and to us, that made it possible. And as I testified how JESUS came in my life and made me into a new person, one could see by a few of them tears falling down their cheeks, and the three young waiters clapped with enthusiastic approval.
It was a profound, unforgettable, humiliating and, at the same time, exhilarating experience for us all. We pray and believe, for everyone present including the waiters, that GOD will open their eyes and hearts for HIS love. Each of the Holocaust survivors received, besides a bar of kosher chocolate, the sum of CHF 500.- . Of course, we also paid for the meal ( a sheer, unbelievably reasonable price in comparison to Swiss terms ). The remaining money ( approximately CHF 15.000.- ) we gave to our Messianic friends on the condition that it would be used for a special distribution of packed meals. They will do it, in collaboration with the leaders of “Sikaronn”. For us it is important that the friendship between the two will flourish and grow deeper.
I would like to offer our heartfelt thanks, once again, to all of you who gave an offering, which made the whole project possible! Above all we thank GOD for HIS grace and mercy for HIS people and for the opportunity which HE gives us, to comfort HIS people and to Make HIS love to them visible.

Werner Woiwode

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