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Editor’s Note: The following report was provided by an SGA-supported pastor in Israel.
The Story Of Salvation Continues Despite War

Another day of war. More victims. Destruction. Atrocities.

On this day, Hamas shelled the central part of Israel, while it was calmer here. The city seems more alive. Some people try to go back to work. However, no children are seen on the streets yet. Some people take their dogs for a walk. Hungry cats are roaming everywhere; they used to be fed by compassionate citizens, but now not many would risk going outdoors or to the park to give them food.

It was another day of delivering food to people in need. In these trips, I am especially interested in talking with people about God and His Word. The people I meet are different: young and old, single and married, those who have lost their jobs and those who have some savings. It seems there are many single young mothers out there; or their husbands are at war with Hamas.

The other day I was delivering groceries to one place. As I entered the apartment, I saw a few young women and many little ones playing on the floor, most likely unaware of what was going on around. The women were silent and wary, and the kids did not seem to pay attention to me at all.

The first place I went to yesterday was in the old part of the city. It took me a long time to find the place where Marina lived, as there were no street numbers. Eventually I called and an elderly woman answered that she would come down to meet me. After we met, she could not find her house, and I followed her with two heavy bags until we finally got there. It turned out that the woman had recently moved there and was not familiar with the area. I brought two packages: one for Marina and one for her acquaintance. I understood that Marina and her friend are Christians. They used to attend the church in Northern Israel, and then in nearby city, but now she was very happy to find out that there are also Christians in our city.

My next delivery point was an old multi-story building in a district on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, where a 75-year-old woman named Svetlana lived. When we met, she looked at me and called me by my name, “Oleg”, explaining that her friend that I visited with my grocery gift the other day told her about me. Indeed, I was at home of Anna, a Jewish woman originally from central Asia, where she worked as a teacher of Russian language and literature. Anna is far from Christianity, but we had an interesting conversation, also because we had something in common—we were both teachers. When I told her that Jesus was a Jew, His disciples were Jews, and the New Testament was written by Jews, and she seemed to become favorably disposed, and told me about a woman who was also a Christian. Her name was Svetlana, that very woman I had just brought groceries. Svetlana considers herself a Christian, however she follows Orthodox tradition.

After visiting Svetlana, I went to a very old area of [the city] to a man, named Oscar. As I did not know which entrance he lived in, Oscar said that his wife was going to meet me. Soon a woman with a cane appeared. She was elderly and very weak, and with some kind of angelic face. Bent over, she could barely walk around the house, but her face glowed, especially as she listened to the Gospel. I entered the apartment and saw a man. It was Oscar. The couple is originally from Belarus. I said that I was from Ukraine, but once lived in Belarus, in a city where many Jews lived. Back in the times of the Soviet Union, Jews wanted to make this city a Jewish autonomy, but the communists forbade them to do this. Oscar asked me where I lived in Ukraine, and I said that it was in southeastern Ukraine. He was very glad to hear that and said, “our neighbors in Belarus were from southeastern Ukraine”. Then he told me that when they lived in Belarus, one pastor often talked to him about Christ. “But,” Oscar continued, “I was a truck driver and I didn’t have time for God. And now I am old and sick, I’m on dialysis, as my kidneys aren’t functioning, I have cancer and other health issues”. It was a good moment to start conversation. God reminded this man of His love and power, that He can heal not only our bodies, but also our souls.

Late at night, I had to get to another address in the area of the city, which I eventually could not find. I parked my car on one of the streets and saw a man about 40 and a woman coming down. They were Jews, but the woman also spoke English. I asked them the direction to my destination, and it seemed that I was provided wrong information.

However, I am hopeful that I will still meet those people who I did not manage to find that night. God knows everything. He writes His history. Now the war is going on in Israel, but the story of salvation continues. And it will continue until God closes the book of our temporary existence, and a new, eternal history will begin.

 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Rev. 21:4).

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