The Threat of War: The Israel Interview Pt. 2

Israel Interview #2 – Threat of War

Welcome to Asked and Answered,” our podcast series that answers all of your missions related questions. With me in the studio today are Ron and Charis Pearce, hi guys, welcome back!

Ron, Charis- Hi, Joy!

Joy- Okay, so today I have a question about Israel, actually I think it’s a few questions. I know that they are constantly under the threat of violence of war and I think our listeners would like to know about that and maybe generally what their life is like living under that.

Ron- Well, when I was there recently I spoke with Dani and LuAnne Sayag who are pastoring at the Mount Carmel Assembly which is around the Haifa area, and those same questions I get asked all the time as well. What is life like under the constant threat of war from 1948 onwards and all the ups and downs and sideways that they live under right now. So when I was there I sat them down in a room and said listen, here are some of the questions I field all the time so it revolves around what you just said and they gave wide-ranging answers that I thought would be interesting for our folks listening right now and it would fit into the current conditions over there. It’s very, very fresh and it’s funny because I was asking them before we went on a microphone about sort of, do you find that the congregation is thriving or is it staying the same as it was under Covid or is it backing off because of the threat of war, I said, what is the mood in the messianic congregations and they said they are growing everywhere. And LuAnne jumped in and said this, she said, We even sense a new refreshing of the Holy Spirit,” and their worship is deeper, their study of the Word has grown, and when I was there for the service, this was a couple of weeks ago right now I could sense it. Then we went around and visited a lot of the other pastors in the area and they were talking about doubling and tripling their outreach in many ways because all of them were full, all of their churches were full! One brother down below in Haifa, great guy, he says, We have one overpacked congregational gathering here, we might have to start two more churches, two more outreaches!”

Joy- Wow and that is unusual for Israel? 

Ron- Oh it is! Not that they weren’t doing well before but this is on the edge of a revival you might say, in the country. I was sitting with one, I know this is off topic right now, Joy.

Joy- I love off topic!

Ron- I was sitting at lunch with a group of Arabic-speaking pastors from up in the Galilee region and we were sitting at lunch and they were laughing and were so excited about how God had blessed them and I said, So are your churches growing?” The guy across from me, wonderful man of God, he says, Ron, we don’t even know where to put them all!” He said, We would have maybe 30 percent full, 40 percent full at the best of times in our church, now we’re packed to overflowing and we are trying to find spots for all of these eager seekers who come in.” I said, But you’re close to the border with Hezbollah, there are 100200,000 missiles aimed at you,” and they say, Well, we’ve lived under that for so long it doesn’t really affect us and people are more interested now knowing the truth of the Gospel after coming out of Covid, watching the believers, the Christians and how they reacted under the pressure.” And I think there is a little bit of that too, how do we react under pressure whether it is Covid or whether it is war? And that is where we jumped sort of into this discussion with Dani and LuAnne Sayag that I would like to have the folks listen to right now.

Joy- Okay, that sounds terrific!

We have one overpacked congregational gathering here, we might have to start two more churches, two more outreaches!”

Ron- Again I’m with Dani and LuAnne Sayag on Mount Carmel, this is in Israel, and we are just answering a few questions that I have been posed over the years and one of those is this; what does it feel like for the nation of Israel to be under constant threat, and I’m going to say it, of war, or of bombardment or the rockets or the fighting? What is the general feeling in the population? How do you live this way for so many years? Because this has been, if I’m correct Dani, this has been since 1948 so we’re a few decades into this thing. So how do you handle this?

Dani- Yes, it’s kind of sad to say we got used to it and it’s just, you can sense the tension that is among the people here in the land all the time, trying to be on alert. Young people of course are going to the army so there is always, always that tension. So if you live here it is like normal but you can feel it when you get out of Israel. For example, we went to England and coming out of the tension suddenly you are like, oh, this is so calm, this is normal. So, we feel that when we live here, the citizens feel that pressure all the time, the fear all the time that something is about to happen. And it’s going from one thing to another. Inside of Israel you will hear every now and then someone stabbed at, a shooting, but around Israel there is a constant war every day, every night and it is something that we, even here in Israel, we are not hearing all the time. So in Syria, you will hear that someone bombed a base or a car in Gaza, you know, there is always that tension of rockets, tunnels and now in the West Bank, in Samaria, Israeli forces is just going every night to try and prevent terror attacks. So, it’s always happening. It’s not a moment that you can say there is a peaceful moment, a rest moment. And Lebanon, the one good thing that happened recently is the deal with the gas. I don’t know if people know about it but…

Ron- Tell us more!

Dani- So Israel discovered gas on the Mediterranean.

Ron- Ah, yes!

Dani- So they found another part that actually belongs to Lebanon, and a part is in Israel territory so there was very big tension over it because, especially the Hezbollah, they said we are going to attack your gas places if you take ours. But what happened was a deal was made, an agreement and it is actually good because Israel wanted to bless Lebanon so that their economy would be good so they just signed two days ago, a deal that is actually historical because Lebanon recognized the border, the sea border of Israel but also it can be some kind of a help to Lebanon. This is the first time that there is some kind of a deal between Israel and Lebanon. So we don’t know in the future if it will lead to other agreements that will bring some more peace with Lebanon. But this is amazing!

Ron- I know I’ve heard a number before but the number has probably grown, how many rockets are aimed at you from north of the border? 2530?

Dani- What they say is about 30,000.

Ron- 30,000, that’s amazing and obviously, they are hostile forces up there so, therefore, the people at the border must be even more concerned about their territory being under tank attack and everything of that nature.

Dani- Yeah, just a few years ago Israel discovered tunnels from Lebanon into Israel and they understood that Hezbollah had a plan that in a time of war they would come in through the tunnels and occupy one of the Kibbutz, one of the towns but Israel found it on time and actually, filled it with cement so hopefully there is nothing like this. But as you know Israel invests so much of the technology to destroy rockets and other weapons but if there is a war with Lebanon, with Israel, and Hezbollah in Israel it is going to be a massive one because Israel cannot handle so many rockets and civilians at one time. So, we pray that it will not happen.

Ron- And it will take somebody like God to come and prevent the destruction of the land, that is what it is. So the young people of Israel, when they get to a certain age and they go into the military, tell me the story so that people can understand if you could.

Dani- So in Israel when you reach the age of 18 you have to go to the army, boys and girls. Boys will go for three years service, girls two years. Girls, if they choose combat units it will be the same as boys.

Ron- Now, you have daughters, LuAnne, what was it like to have the girls go into the military?

LuAnne- One of our daughters did go into a combat unit, the other two were in police forces, the youngest one saw a whole lot of action that you don’t want to see in places like Jerusalem and Hebron and Jericho and the oldest one probably had more encounters with drug dealers. But you know just like in any situation with any parent it is prayer for your children all the time, isn’t it? And there were times when especially, the youngest one was in a very dangerous situation and we felt like other children in her army unit were saved, as well as herself, because she was in there and we were praying for her.

Ron- Do the messianic young people get a chance to verbalize their faith, live their faith in the situations, and what is the reaction within, I don’t know, society as a whole to all these messianic young people in the front lines?

Dani- Yeah, it’s amazing to see the change in our society towards the believers and Yeshua in society over the years. I remember in my time in the year 1987 and early 90s if you were a messianic believer in the Israeli army, it would be a difficult situation and I know officers that would not go high in rank just because of their faith. But if you look today it’s amazing and it seems like all of those restrictions are removed. Soldiers can go highest, I know about believers that are pilots in the Israeli army and high officers because they saw that believers have this love and they are very, very loving to their country and the best soldiers that they can be. But in Israel when they see the young people it’s different from the elderly and it seems like there is more understanding, more receiving, more wanting to hear about their faith and it has opened doors for more young people to hear about their faith.

LuAnne- I just wanted to say too that when you get inducted into the army, that day of your induction the army presents you with an Old Testament, a Tanakh, so the Israeli army still gets presented with a weapon and a Tanakh, the Old Testament. But when our youngest daughter went in they heard that she was a believer and they actually presented her with a New Testament.

Ron- Really, that is amazing! That is respect, that really is. Okay, building upon that and this last question. It’s a general question but it feeds off of it. Do you see a softening of many people regarding the Gospel in this last little while especially, in the last few years and do you see a warming up to listening to, hearing, understanding of the message of Yeshua being the messiah?

Dani- I would say there is a change and I think part of it of course is prayers and testimony of the believers but also the technology. You know Satan is using the technology in a bad way but also there is a good part in it because there are a lot of videos and testimonies and teaching that can go to so many people so quickly! Back then in my time, it was what the Rabbi would say or people against your faith would come and spread all these lies about the believers and there was no way to respond to that. And now, what we call anti-missionary organizations will put a video against the believers will make a video and go point by point with what they said and prove that it is a lie. But also about prophesies about the Messiah and it is something that is opening the eyes of people to the truth. So I think you can see that change and that opening and I know that in different parts of Israel there are young people who are reaching out with boldness and confronting. I think after 2000 years there is a generation that is confronting the lies of Rabbis concerning Yeshua.

LuAnne- And also, I know you know this Ron, but Israelis are probably the techiest people in the world and so this is such a great fit for Israelis just watching things on YouTube, it is perfect for Israelis.

Ron- As people realize, we follow outpourings of the Spirit, revivals, reformations, all over the world and I’ve been telling people for a while, we have never had it this good. This is really the best times that we have ever had since Jesus gave us the great commission in Matthew 28 and it is spreading around the world. I also tell them, and I want you to correct me if I’m wrong here, everybody is listening, remember that, I’ve seen something here that looks like the beginning of a revival, it looks like the beginning of an outpouring of the Spirit in this country. From the time when I started to come here and from what you have told me, there is more interest today and it’s turning. Am I correct in that evaluation?

Dani- Yeah, definitely we are seeing a move of the Spirit. I’m not sure exactly where it is going to go.

Ron- I know.

Dani- Considering last days, we know that God is going to pour His Spirit on Israel in the way of national revival but that is some time in the future. But we feel that there is an expectancy to see God moving, there is a hunger among the believers to see God moving and we are starting to see even some of the supernatural taking place among us. So we feel like God says I am ready to move, are you ready to step in? Are you ready to disciple people when they get saved. And when people are getting saved it’s an investment you know, people dealing with families and rejection and persecution, it’s going to come as part of the package with that move of the Spirit. So we feel that God is preparing us and that this is starting to happen.

Ron- This has been a good time with you folks, thank you so, so much and we will come back to you in months and years ahead and ask you for an update as to what is going on because people around the world are listening, they are hearing and they are trying to understand what you are doing here and what the situation is and you folks explained it better than anyone else I’ve ever witnessed or talked to so thank you so much.

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