by Olga Gez
Here in Israel we went into coronavirus home quarantine the week after the holiday of Purim on March 18th. Now, the week after Passover, we are still in quarantine, although our government is slowly trying to ease restrictions. The same storm is hitting people all over the world, but, as a certain Facebook post I recently read pointed out, everyone is in a different boat: this crisis is hitting everyone financially, emotionally, and spiritually in different ways.
For me personally, it has been a challenging time, and the week of Passover was especially difficult. My husband and I usually host a large Passover meal for our extended family (I love to cook, especially the Tunisian and Moroccan dishes I grew up with). This year, however, because of the quarantine restrictions, I decided to cook Passover meals to bring to my elderly in-laws who live nearby, for another family member in a difficult situation, and for another elderly lady from our congregation.
As Passover drew near, we were in our third week of total quarantine, and my family and I were starting to feel the effects. I suddenly found that I couldn’t sleep at night, and my exhaustion during the day made it all the more difficult to deal with the challenging situation, not to mention all the extra work I had taken on for the holiday.
As part of the team at Tiferet Yeshua, I have a calling to be there for others: one of my daily activities, even more so now, is to call our congregation members, pray with those who need encouraging, and coordinate with our team to help those who are in immediate need. I didn’t realize it at the time, but trying to be there for everyone, including my immediate and extended family, I was reaching a breaking point.
This last week I was sharing with a sister in the Lord about the difficult time I had been having during quarantine. At one point she said to me, “Olga, even though you’re exhausted, do you realize that you have been witnessing to people right and left?”
It hadn’t occurred to me as something out of the ordinary, but actually it was! I had told her how a family member who had always been antagonistic to the gospel was suddenly open to hear about Yeshua and was even willing to take home some literature to read about the Messiah in prophetic scripture. This family member has been completely broken through the corona crisis because his wife fell into clinical depression during the quarantine and had to be hospitalized. I also had an opportunity to share with one of my neighbors who spent time in a Yeshiva (a Jewish religious school) as a young man. Now, because of this crazy situation we all find ourselves in, he is suddenly seeking and open to hear about Yeshua.
A Prophetic Dream from 20 Years Ago
When we first went into quarantine, the Lord had put on my heart a powerful dream that He gave me almost twenty years ago when I was a brand new believer—a time when I was still immature in the faith and living in compromise in many ways. However, it is amazing to me that, despite our weakness and immaturity (think of Peter the disciple), the Lord will still give us deep and amazing revelations!
In the dream, I was dressed in the clothes of Moses, and I held his staff in my hand. I was walking the streets crying out to those around me, “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand!” The sky overhead was dark and foreboding, and I saw an explosion far away to the north, like something happening somewhere else that I knew would come to Israel too. As I walked the streets, crying out to those around me, I could see that my words were going into the hearts of many, and God was touching them. There were others who did not receive my words, and I could see their hearts harden and turn away from God.
While I was sharing with my friend about my experiences during the corona quarantine, I realized that this dream the Lord gave me from so many years ago is for now! I may feel tired and broken at the moment, but God is still using me to witness to those around me who are open to the gospel like never before. And it’s not just me: during Tiferet Yeshua’s congregational Zoom meeting, Tiferet Yeshua elder David Trubeck shared how secular friends of his from the military who were never open to the gospel have suddenly started asking him questions about his faith. Elder Moti Cohen and others who witness to the poor and needy have been seeing unprecedented hunger and openness for the gospel. Other outreach ministries in Israel have been experiencing the same thing.
Pray for the Harvest
At the beginning of the quarantine, Pastor Gil shared with all of us that he felt that the Lord would use this crisis to turn the hearts of many unbelievers to seek Him, and that is exactly what is happening. Would you stand with us during this time to pray that the Lord would bring in the harvest here in Israel? There is such resistance to the gospel here—Israelis have so many hurdles to get over to be open to the gospel—and we need your prayers! God is moving, and our prayer is that what is happening here in Israel through the corona crisis will happen all around the world.