“I Saw the Angel of the Lord”

“May God preserve your health, and may there be peace upon Israel. That’s all I want,” said M’ repeatedly. And again. Her husband and son began apologizing for the dementia that started developing since her last fall, which causes her to constantly repeat herself. But Silvard and I enjoyed hearing her sweet blessing and plea to God.

M’ is one of the holocaust survivors living in my town, Kfar Saba. After the sudden passing of Rivka Shechman, who’s story I brought up several times over the last few years (A Mourning Turned into Dance – Part 1Staring death in the faceYizkor the ForgottenA Sad GoodbyeHe is Always With Me), I was hoping God will connect me with other survivors. I asked for those who live in my area, so that I can connect them with the youth group and some Russian speakers at my local congregation, and expose them to more believers than just myself.

Shortly after that I received a phone call from a minister of Reach Initiative International, who works  in Jerusalem. She told me about a group of 15 holocaust survivors from my town, that have turned to them for help. But they were unable to keep in touch with them and were wondering if I would be able to take it upon myself.

“Yes, give them to me,” I lifted my hands in the air in triumph and worship. “I want to meet each and every one of them.”

And so, we started visiting them. A couple of weeks ago we invited Y’ and B’, M’ and Y’, N’ and the rest of the group, and attended a small Hanukkah party that RII threw for them. The objection some of them had to us was palpable. They struggle with anything that has to do with believers in Yeshua, and so the party started out with some arguments and power struggles. But a simple prayer we mumbled under our breaths, and much patience, changed the atmosphere.

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Sharing a meal with the survivors and a couple of guests from the US

Two American girls came together with the Reach Initiative International team to sing to the survivors. When these two opened their mouths, we all shut ours. Their angelic voices touched everyone’s souls.

Never before have I heard the famous Hebrew song “Jerusalem of Gold” performed this way. A few songs later the girls began singing another Hebrew song, one of my favorites. It is based on the story of Jacob, who upon returning to Canaan (Gen. 32:11-12), asked God to pour out His mercy and save him. The tune was composed by a religious Jew, a grandchild of holocaust survivors. The girls began singing, and one of them moved among the survivors, looked each one straight in the eye and patted their hands. She apparently was able to invoke long forgotten, dormant emotions in them. The effect was thrilling, touching. Eyes shining with un-shed tears, hands stretched forward, wanting to be touched as well.

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The survivor sitting next to me reached his hand and asked me to keep holding it. “It is so difficult,” he said, “so very hard.” Meaning: it was hard for him to deal with the emotions that were flooding him. “But is it good?!” I asked-determined, and he just lowered his head and kept quite.

Another survivor, who was part of the power struggle at the beginning of the party, asked to speak. Everyone was quick to hush him, fearing another fight, but he insisted. “I must tell you,” he proclaimed, “that when she sang and was holding my hand, I saw the Angel of the Lord.”

That statement was my final undoing. The Angel of the Lord! He used a term so uncommon for the Jewish mind. He didn’t say he saw God, but the Angel, the Angel who is hidden from my people.

The girls started singing another song, and at that point people got out of their chairs, stood in a circle and broke out in a happy dance of Horah. Disabled, limp, hurting… but true joy filled the room.

IMG-20180104-WA0033I’m sure I will be sharing much about this group this coming year. House calls, parties, all kinds of activities I have in mind for them. But already at this point it is clear to me that alongside the touching moments, we are heading for some struggles as well. And this is where I would love to recruit your prayers:

I need much wisdom. What to say and when? How to say it? When to bring God into the picture, in a way that would not cause them to shut down or run away, but instead open up and share?

The couple of meetings we already had with the entire group took place at a local center. I so desire to move them to my congregation’s facility. Sounds simple, but not so. Some of them regard us with much suspicion. So please pray that I am able to warm their hearts, especially those of F’ and M’, the two men who seem to have a strong opinion about us, and gain their trust.

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Silvard was born in Armenia. She is a member of my congregation and speaks fluent Russian, a language I need help with with this group, as most of them do not speak Hebrew. She has been joining me on all my visits, and is thrilled at the opportunity to stay in touch with them and serve them. Please keep her in your prayers as well. I would like to be able to pay her a few hours weekly, so that she can contact each of these survivors, visit with them, listen to their stories and touch their hearts.

10 thoughts on ““I Saw the Angel of the Lord””

  1. Orna,
    God has placed you in the lives of these precious survivors for such a time as this!
    God will faithfully guide you as you spend time with Him. He wants to draw these precious souls to Himself through the vessels of you and Silvard.
    I am praying for each concern you have shared, especially for the hearts of F’ and M’ to be broken.
    Keep us updated on how the Lord works through you!
    Traci

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    1. I love the way you phrased it, how God will draw us to Himself through us, as I spend more time with Him. He had reminded me this morning of this priority, and now you have confirmed it. Thank you, Tracy.

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  2. Dear Orna; “All things that are Mine are Yours . …” (John 17:10) – This was Jesus’ prayer and this should be your sincere, true prayer.
    Then our Lord will bless you and your ministry with 2 Timothy 1:7 “God has not given us a spirit of timidity but of power and love and discipline. Use the power of the Holy Spirit with love and discipline and there will be blessed, wonderful fruit in your God-given ministry. I will continue to uphold you and your ministry in my prayers.
    Emmanuel
    Finland

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  3. What a delight to read this post, Orna!
    Our Lord has been put you and your ministries in my heart very often. I shared your post with my Torah Study group and we all prayed for you.
    May The Lord open your mouth, in such a manner that all the people assigned to you will see His Glory!
    (I’m hosana from Texas- you came here several years ago)
    In His Presence,
    Hosana

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  4. Yes, I will be praying for you as you minister to these precious people. Asking Holy Spirit to guide your heart and mouth in knowing how, what and when to share. God bless you!

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  5. I so enjoyed reading this and can sense your excitement. Truly this is a God thing.
    Careful wording and timing.
    The word we heard at the Global Aglow Conf. Was to “Walk through the door”
    I surely see a door for you.
    I will keep you in my prayers

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  6. This is a wonderful work, Orna. May God bless you and those you are ministering to. We are helping to host shalom houses here in Poriya with survivors in Tiberias. It’s such a blessing.

    With love, yonit

    >

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  7. Thank you, Orna for sharing this story. It touches my heart. I will pray for you as you connect with these dear Holocaust survivors and for their salvation. Wish I were there to share in this.

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  8. I am thrilled to hear of this new assignment the Lord has given you! It is truly Him at work for He loves them so. I see great blessing coming for all. I see victory. It is finished are the words I hear and nothing can thwart His plan here. Love you!

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