By Nina, volunteer from Ashdod

    Praying near the table

    Restrictions are gradually being removed, and more and more volunteer groups are returning to serve in Aviv Center. They stand and feed the visitors not in the Center itself, which is still prohibited, but at the entrance to it.

    They also recall the most "restricted" times when they could come only in pairs and distribute the food on the streets. One day they stood at the checkpoint for an hour and a half in a line of those who wanted to enter the city. The police did not allow many cars to enter. But when the volunteers said they were going to feed the homeless and showed an official paper from Aviv Ministry, they police immediately let them pass! There was also a period (during the strictest quarantine) when no one was able to come for three days. The volunteers who finally managed to break through, saw that the street people simply threw themselves on the food, so hungry they were!

    Today everything was organized according to the new rules, in disposable tableware: a nourishing meal with salad, hummus and a warm large pita bread. The volunteers prepared the lunch boxes themselves in the early morning and came to Tel Aviv at 9 am. Coffee and water were poured into disposable cups and distributed. People took the food and set on a bench or parapet to have lunch, although many just set on the sidewalk.

    The volunteers also walked through the streets, distributing the boxes. While a person was eating, they had time to tell him about their lives, about salvation and about God's love: “After all, He sent us to you, please understand and accept!” Today many pairs of socks were distributed, and the street guys and girls rejoiced to receive such a simple gift…

    The pita bread that remained in the end of the shift was brought to the overnight shelter nearby. "Please, enough with this life!" - Igor said to the guys in the semigloom of the dingy rooms of the shelter. And then told us: "It is so painful to look at them… Keep praying..."

    Evening pic

    By Nina, volunteer from Ashdod

    On Monday nights, when Aviv Center, as always, welcomes and feeds its visitors, a separate team comes from Jerusalem specifically to walk the nearby streets. This is like an evening round in a hospital – to see the patients and find out how they are doing.

    This Monday we met Yan. He stood against a wall and, as soon as he had seen us, spoke excitedly:

    - I was in a Christian center, but left it. I thought that everything was already ok with me. But the addiction quickly returned. Knowing the Lord, I can’t stay here, please help me!

    - We have one seat in the car, come on!

    - I'll just take my bag, one moment.

    But Yan disappeared for a long time, so we had to move on. We talked and prayed with a guy who was sitting right on the sidewalk, and then went to a homeless shelter nearby. In the evenings you can always find people there. We shared about God's love and salvation and invited them to Aviv Center.

    Finishing the round, we unexpectedly met Ella, the mother of an addict whom we helped once. She said that her son had been clean for eight months already.

    - How can I help him stay that way?

    - Only the Lord can help, tell him to turn to Christ. We will pray for him. And you need God just as much!

    Ella thanked us and promised to keep in touch. The round was over. It was time to go home - with Yan who showed up just in time! And we already though he had changed his mind… Pray for him – and for another guy, Sasha, who was taken to a rehab this week for the seventh (!) time. Previous falls and failures greatly undermine the hope of such rehabilitants for deliverance. But nothing is impossible for our God!

    Woman wall

    Ora came with her head bowed, embarrassed to look into our eyes. She quietly shared that more than anything else she dreamed about having a baby, but this will never happen in her street life. We turned on a song about a woman forgiven by Christ (“She was a sinner... I forgave her, now she is a saint...”). Ora listened, hanging on every word. The song touched her and gave her hope.

    “Do you want to take a Bible?”

    She pointed to a large old bag on her shoulder:

    “Here are all my belongings, I have to carry them all the time.”

    “And if we find a small and light book?”

    “I will take the Bible in any case!” Ora said firmly and smiled openly for the first time.

    Please pray for Ora.

    In Aviv Center

    One of our volunteers, Leonid, shared what happened once during his shift in Aviv Center.

    His group was feeding the visitors, as usual. Then Leonid sat down with them and tried to preach (sadly, due to the effects of drugs, it is difficult for many visitors to focus on the Word). He took the topic of prayer.

    “I look around,” says Leonid, “and see that nobody is listening to me. Well, not even one! Should I stop? But something in me prompts: ‘Speak!’ And I kept talking on how important prayer is for us, for our relationship with the Lord... And again, I see the same: no one is listening. And I am still urged – ‘Continue! So I did...

    And suddenly a guy’s head rises from the table (I thought he was fast asleep beside his plate) and I hear:

    ‘Leonid, I am actually listening to you...’

    ‘Thank God!’ I said. ‘One person has heard me.’

    And from that day on, the visitors themselves have been asking: ‘Will we have a Bible lesson today?’”

    Let us pray that the Lord would give us boldness in the most hopeless (in our opinion) circumstances to share His Word!

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