“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth change”
Psalm 46:2-3 (TLV).
I want to acknowledge that right now is a dark hour. Many of us have friends or even family members who are battling COVID-19. And the death toll from this pandemic continues to climb across the globe. It’s a time of struggle.
I find it interesting that, earlier this week, we observed what is probably the darkest hour in the history of the Jewish people. On Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, we remember the six million who perished during World War II.
I believe the present situation gives us a small taste of what the Jewish people went through in their dark time. We are isolated in our homes, away from friends, church family and even loved ones, fearful of an outside force.
To put it in perspective, though, 40,000 people have died in the United States in three months. There were days in the death camps when more than 40,000 Jewish people were exterminated in a single day.
But here’s the good news – for all of us. The Jewish people survived that and every other dark time in their history. They survived because God is faithful! He is our refuge and strength. And He’s going to be faithful to see you through this dark hour. In fact, what I am sharing in this update today are two examples of how God is working through difficult times to accomplish His will.
First, a couple of news stories about how the tide appears to be starting to turn in Israel in relation to COVID-19. And then, I have a special interview with two of our staff members about what happened during our most recent Medical Outreach in Enewari, Ethiopia. You’ll hear how God was at work in mighty and amazing ways during the persecution and violence our team experienced.
Israel ranked “safest country” in terms of COVID-19 response and treatment
When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, Israel remains the safest country on Earth, according to a new investigation by the Deep Knowledge Group.
Israel also made the list of top ten countries with the best treatment efficiency and scored best in the field of rapid emergency mobilization.
Experts have noted that Israel’s experience with emergencies is helping to get the population through the pandemic without the number of deaths in other modern countries like Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, according to Israel Today.
Israel was one of the first countries to halt international flights and enforce a lockdown to help contain the virus outbreak. In addition, in times of crisis, the country is able to quickly put their best minds to work to come up with creative and out-of-the-box solutions to problems.
Netanyahu okays plan to gradually ease restrictions, but protests still carried out
Late last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talked of a general plan to gradually reopen parts of the economy and ease “stay home” orders. No specific timeline was given.
Netanyahu said new guidelines would include the reopening of certain stores and a return to work for some employees in the manufacturing and service industries. There will continue to be various restrictions that must be followed.
“Until today we took measures to restrict movement… to reduce the number of people at work… to track confirmed cases,” Netanyahu said, according to The Times of Israel. “These measures have proven themselves… these positive results enable us to ease the restrictions gradually.”
The situation will be reassessed in two weeks, and if improvement continues, there will be a further easing of restrictions. But if another outbreak occurs, restrictions will be put in place again, according to Netanyahu.
Even with these announcements, protests against the restrictions took place last weekend. On Sunday, 2,000 Israelis gathered at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to protest anti-democratic measures passed during the COVID-19 crisis and the policies of Netanyahu. Protestors maintained social distancing while wearing protective face masks.
Last Thursday, two other protests took place, one involving hundreds of ultra-Orthodox residents in Jerusalem protesting the lockdown imposed on them for not heeding directives the rest of the country has been forced to follow.
Exclusive interview update on Enewari persecution, fire
By now, you have probably heard about the shocking events that took place at our Medical Outreach in Enewari, Ethiopia. Just a couple days in, a large group of agitators stormed into our prayer tent to try to stop the amazing spiritual work that was taking place. Later that same day, they set fire to the camp compound, burning it to the ground.
Join Jewish staff members Ezra Benjamin and Carly Berna as they interview Theo Steinhauer and Eric Pires about their experience and how God’s presence and protection was evident through it all. They will share why they believe this violent attack happened at the exact time it did. And how instead of fear and anger, the response from our team was overwhelming grace and peace.
Also, Theo and Eric offer their insights on how to apply what they learned through the challenges in Enewari to what we are all experiencing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. You will be encouraged!
Let us pray together
Join me in thanking God that He is “our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46). Please pray with me for:
- The easing of restrictions in Israel to be successful in stimulating the economy and for the virus to be contained
- Continued advancements in treatment of the virus and development of a vaccine
- Those who carried out the persecution and attack in Enewari – that they would come to know Jesus
- The new Believers in Enewari who came to faith just before the attack was carried out – that they would grow in their relationship with Jesus and each other
- Jewish people to turn to their Messiah Jesus as their refuge and strength in the midst of this difficult time
To the Jew first and also to the Nations,
Jewish Voice Ministries International