by Mordechai Cohen
Every week, we prepare three hundred hot meals and distribute them in south Tel Aviv – a haven for illegal immigrants and a hotbed of drugs and crime. When Israel went into a stay-at-home quarantine in March, we immediately began seeing the devastating effects it caused here on the rough streets of south Tel Aviv.
We know the faces of those who end up here, those pushed into to a life of poverty, prostitution, homelessness and crime by drug addiction. The situation in the area grows worse every year, and the corona virus, which closed most all of the soup kitchens and halfway houses during the general quarantine in April and May, made the situation even more dire.
The New Face of Need
Since Israel eased corona restrictions at the end of May, we have been seeing new faces at our weekly meal outreaches: these people are not criminals or drug addicted. They are not even homeless. They have simply lost jobs and income due to the corona crisis and find themselves on the edge each week, having to choose between paying their bills and buying food. It is heartbreaking to see an increasing number of people in this situation, but we are thankful that God is giving us the opportunity to serve and minister to them.
More New Faces: Workers for the Harvest!
One of the most exciting things that has been happening recently is the fact that the Lord is sending workers into the harvest. For the last several weeks, more volunteers have been joining us to hand out meals on the street. In particular, a devoted group from an Ethiopian congregation in Jerusalem of on-fire, young professionals has been coming down to Tel Aviv every week to help distribute meals on the streets.
Long after the rest of us have gone to bed, this group that calls what they are doing “The Gospel of the Resurrection” is out on the streets until six in the morning, ministering to their Ethiopian brothers and sisters who have ended up on the streets (Ethiopian Jews have a harder time getting ahead in Israeli society due to persistent cultural stigmas and limitations), African migrants and anyone else who comes their way. They have been sending me pictures of people kneeling on the sidewalks in prayer. God is moving!
Please keep what we are doing in prayer! God is shaking our society and giving us the opportunity to be there to minister to those who are most dramatically affected. Thanks to your faithful support of this ministry, we are able to continue being the hands and feet of the Lord here on the streets in Tel Aviv.