Out of the iron furnace

Almost 200,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel and every hour of every day some pass into an eternity without Messiah. The story of each and every one of them is both unique and moving. David Zadok reports on a work that is going on among some of the remaining survivors and updates us on HaGefen Ministries’ recent projects.

Following their release from the German death camps, many of those who survived the horrors of the Nazi regime made their way to the land of Israel. For them, Israel was the only place that could offer them the hope that they would never again have to endure the atrocities they had experienced at the hands of the Nazis. This year, many countries will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Hitler’s Third Reich. Here in Israel, where some 190,000 Holocaust survivors still live, we will celebrate the victory of the Allied Forces through a variety of different events.

Every month, around a thousand Holocaust survivors pass away. Today, the average age of the survivors is 85. Thirty six percent of survivors live on their own and more than a quarter live below the poverty line. They often have to make the hard decision between purchasing food or buying medicine, as they cannot afford both. For this reason many organizations and churches have been seeking to address not only the material needs of Holocaust survivors through the provision of aid but also, far more importantly, their spiritual needs by providing them with the most precious gift of all, the gospel. The good news of Messiah is the only thing that will enable them to survive the judgment to come.

Meeting survivors’ needs
Part of my ministry as the CWI Israel Field Director is to pastor the Grace and Truth congregation. At Grace and Truth we are ministering to Holocaust survivors who are in the final stages of life. We have contacts with survivors and the clubs they belong to in four different cities and we visit them on a regular basis. This Passover, we invited fifty of them to our congregation’s Passover Seder, during which we made it clear that that Messiah is our Passover. After opening in prayer and singing some songs, the message of God’s delivery in Egypt was tied in with the story of a far greater delivery; the story of the Messiah who has delivered us from slavery to sin and Satan. The gospel was presented in a clear and creative way.

After three hours it was time for our guests to return home. Many were grateful for the opportunity to be with us. Those I had the chance to speak to were amazed at the message and many of them accepted a Bible and other literature. Please pray that the God of Israel will deliver these, and many others with whom we have had the great privilege of sharing the gospel, from spiritual bondage once and for all. 

Please pray pray for us too as we consider more ways of bringing the good news of Messiah Jesus to Holocaust survivors in the year ahead.

Evangelistic printing goes on…
In conjunction with our work amongst the Holocaust survivors, and the upcoming 70th anniversary celebration of the defeat of the Nazis, HaGefen decided to produce Life in the Shadow of the Swastika, the story of Holocaust survivor Frieda E. Roos Van-Hessen, who found the light of Messiah amidst the deep darkness of mankind. We will be printing five thousand copies of the book for free distribution.

In addition, the Amharic version of Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Dr. Tedd Tripp has gone to print so the book is now available in Hebrew, Russian and Amharic. Also we just delivered six thousand copies of the L’Chaim (‘To Life’) booklet in Amharic to various congregations in Israel. Around 45,000 copies of this evangelistic booklet have been published in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, English and Amharic over the last three years.

As I write this, our first Persian-language evangelistic book is going to print. It is the well-known book Betrayed by Stan Telchin and we plan to deliver it to various Farsi-speaking communities in Israel, Britain, America and Germany.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers. Please pray that we will continue to find opportunities to share the gospel message in print and assist the local congregations in Israel with excellent printed and electronic evangelistic resources.

This article was first published in the Summer Herald 2015

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