Humbled. Overjoyed. So grateful! These are just some of the words I can use to sum up this day.
All set up, ready to receive our special guests.
Some of the youth in our congregation practicing their music
This afternoon we had our Purim party for the holocaust survivors. It far exceeded all my expectations. Only 9 out of the 15 on our list were able to make it, and they sat there, heard parts of Yeshua’s story – and seemed to enjoy every moment of it.
Normally, our parties last about two hours, at the end of which they are worn out and ready to head home. Today, they sat there for over two and a half hours. I was ready to start packing, but you could tell they wanted to stay.
A while ago we visited M, who told us that she never leaves her home, especially not in order to attend happy events. Her daughter died nearly 20 years ago, and she is still mourning over her. Well, there she was, beautifully dressed up, jewelry around her neck and wrist, her nails made, smiling at us and enjoying the party.
Stewart Vinograd sharing God’s love
Stewart has been serving Holocaust survivors for years. It is through his organization that my initial contact with this group was made. Stewart boldly shared with them about Yeshua, about Messianic Jews and about the price many of us have to pay for our faith. I was surprised. I never imagined that we will have a chance to share the Gospel with them so soon, and so explicitly. It seems as if his words were received with open hearts, and that he even opened the door for further discussions.
Tony, my pastor, stood up next and invited them to see HaMaayan congregation as a home, with doors wide open, to which they can come with any need they may have. They clapped their hands. They were touched.
In between food and greetings, the youth of our congregation sang some songs. This was not exactly a traditional Purim party – but it was oh, so heartwarming!
Y, one of the survivors, shared how in Purim, not only was Haman hanged. Apparently, in 1953, Stalin (a modern-day Haman), suffered a stroke and died, after issuing a decree to gather all of Russia’s Jews and send them to their death in Siberia. So as Russian Jews, this group had one more reason to celebrate.
Next was Bracha, a dear friend from Holland. Bracha, who worked as a guide at the Ten Boom Museum in Harlem, Holland shared the story of Corrie’s family. It all began over 100 years ago, when the grandfather read Ps. 126 and realized he is to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. He turned to his pastor and asked why don’t they do that. The pastor’s responded that there is no need to pray for Jerusalem anymore, for this was just a part of history and not relevant to the present. Corrie’s grandfather realized it was up to him, and so started inviting people to his home to gather for weekly prayer meetings for Jerusalem.
When WWII broke, the Ten Booms were so full of love for the Jewish people, that they were not afraid of hiding them. They were able to save more than 600 Jews, some of which stayed in their home for long duration of time. Click here for more about the Ten Boom family.
Corrie Ten Boom. A Righteous Gentile
The Ten Boom family prior to the war
Albert, Bracha’s husband, shared next, about the work they have been doing for years with a Dutch team, restoring Jewish cemeteries throughout Europe. Accompanied by a beautiful presentation he shared about the sacred, aesthetic and delicate work the team did, as they were taking care of each gravestone. The survivors listened in awe, so touched by the caring these gentiles – who are supposed to be on the persecuting side – were showing Jews. Hearing Bracha and Albert, the love they have for the Jewish people and their desire to do something to comfort and restore, was like balm poured on these precious hearts.
Working on the restoration of graves in Jewish cemeteries throughout Europe
God opened doors today, that extend far beyond my plans. I am so grateful for that! And looking back, I know there is no way this could have happened without some of you backing us in prayer. There were just too many open doors, too much peace, to explain it in human terms.
On a different note. Please stand with us in prayer for R., one of the survivors. We have not been able to get in touch with her, and this week found out that she is not allowed to be in touch with anyone. Apparently, her relatives are abusing her, taking over her home and forbidding her to have any contact. We need wisdom in how to involve the authorities in a way that can be helpful and not cause more harm than good. We plan to visit her again early next week, when she will be most likely on her own. So PLEASE remember her in your prayers.