Praying and Mourning For the Atrocities in Israel, Update on the Missionaries We Support There, and
This past Sunday Pastor Rigo prayed for Israel and for the missionaries we support there (join that prayer here).
At the time, I only knew there had been an attack, but I was in Ocean City all day Saturday and didn't have a chance to really take in what was going on until after service on Sunday. I thought it was another exchange of fire across Gaza like in 2021.
But this was different.
To call the attacks on Israel “horrific” would be an understatement. To simply call it "more violence in the Middle East" doesn't do it justice. Families shot to death in cars and in their homes; women raped and kidnapped; babies beheaded.
Over 900 Israelis have been murdered and many other taken hostage.
What the Islamic militant group Hamas did -- and continues to do -- has rightly been called the worst attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust.
While there are political factors at play, a long history of land disputes, and violence perpetrated by both sides in the past — the intent of this attack was pure evil.
"Hamas published its official charter in 1988, calling for the destruction of Israel and raising 'the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.' Its founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, stated that 'reconciliation with the Jews is a crime' and claimed that Israel 'must disappear from the map.'" (Jim Denison in the Daily Article).
Israel has declared war on Hamas and retaliatory strikes have led to more than 800 Palestinian deaths.
For more on the background, you can click here:
THE MISSIONARIES WE SUPPORT THERE
Jeff & Kate Hoops are international workers with the Christian & Missionary Alliance. They oversee a group of missionaries who serve Muslim groups, Jewish groups and Chinese groups.
Most of our missions giving goes to the Great Commission Fund of the C&MA, a fund which supports missionaries, church plants and relief efforts around the world.
But because of our partnership with them, most of our giving to that fund has been designated for Jeff & Kate Hoops and their work in Israel. They get more of our missions money than anyone else.
This money supports their family but also overflows onto various projects. Undoubtedly, our giving will be used to care for victims of their atrocity.
Coincidentally, Pam Hess and I were supposed to be on a zoom call with Jeff Hoops this morning to discuss a possible upcoming trip in July. This is a trip we've tried to do three years in a row, but for various reasons, including Covid in 2021 and 2022, we couldn't make it happen.
Our hope was to try again for this year. The purpose of the trip is to put on an English camp for Muslim children using bible stories. Families send their children to this camp every year with the purpose of learning English, and then our missionaries are able to build a relationship with those families.
We heard back from Jeff this morning: "Hey guys, I need to cancel for today. There are a number of things related to the situation that I need to deal with. In all honesty, the plans for the summer camp are on hold right now. We don't know what the situation will be after the dust settles. We'll keep in touch, Jeff."
I would encourage everyone to pray for the following (some of this was taken from this article).
- Protection for Jeff & Kate Hoops, their three kids, and the other missionaries over there.
- The evil intentions of Hamas (and anyone else behind the attacks) to be crushed and their strategies dismantled (Psalm 3:7).
- Wisdom for Israel’s leaders, that they would respond in ways that bring justice without committing their own war crimes (James 1:5).
- Protection for Israel’s soldiers, that they would defeat their enemy without loss of life to themselves or innocent civilians (Psalm 46:1).
- Security for Israeli and Palestinian civilians caught in this conflict, remembering that God loves each of us, Jews and Gentiles (cf. Galatians 3:28).
- Our hatred of evil to not lead to any kind of prejudice against Palestinians or Muslim groups.
- Those who have been kidnapped - especially children — to be protected and released.
- Comfort for all who have lost mothers and fathers and sons and daughters and grandparents and siblings and cousins and spouses and friends.
- Spiritual awakening for all involved in this conflict, that Jews and Muslims would turn to the one true Messiah and find the “abundant” life he alone provides (John 10:10).
- The return of Jesus, who will usher in a perfect kingdom of peace and righteousness on a new Earth with a new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-4).
“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.” (Revelation 1:7).
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