Opportunities Amidst Combat

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As I am writing this letter, news is coming out of a tragic event that occurred last night (January 22), which claimed the lives of 21 soldiers and many more injured. A tank was hit by an RPG, which claimed 2 lives and injured 2 others (there are 4 soldiers in a tank), and the others were injured as a result of an RPG that hit a building that was being prepared for demolition, igniting the explosives and dropping 2 buildings on the forces that were inside. It’s a heavy morning here in Israel, with a state of mourning and sadness for our soldiers.

I did what everyone does when something like this happens – I went online to see the names and photos and see if I recognized anyone. I didn’t. But the pain of loss is still there. That’s the reality for many of us here – we have friends or family who were either in Gaza until recently or are currently there. I have quite a few friends who are still inside Gaza.

I Finished 69 days of reserve duty on January 11. Most of the other guys in my tank regiment served almost 100 days. That’s a long time. Most of these men have families, have jobs, careers, or are small business owners. Currently, we are on break. We go back in March for another 5 weeks of reserve duty. We may go again later in the year. But if a war with Lebanon broke out, we would all get called back immediately. So, 2024 will be a year of war in Israel. It will impact every part of our lives, our families, and jobs more than anything.

Opportunities Amidst Combat 

I was blessed to finish my service healthy, physically and emotionally. I was also blessed to serve most of that time with another believer who was my tank team member. I managed to have lots of conversations about my faith, God, and life with my tank team members but also many people in my unit who had never met Messianic Jews. I’m looking forward to continuing to sow seeds and build relationships with the people in my unit.

Thanks to your generosity, I was also a blessing to my unit in helping provide vital equipment that they were lacking and also in bringing food and other personal items that really helped lift the unit’s morale while we were inside Gaza. One example was providing a Friday evening Shabbat meal. One of the soldiers came to me afterward and told me he had come back from his break at home pretty down, and the great meal we provided really lifted his spirit. It was our last week there, and people were at the end of themselves. Small things like that really helped people push through down times.

Challenging Adjustment Being Back Home 

Now, many soldiers are being released back to civilian life. They will face a challenging re-adjustment. The biggest challenge is uncertainty. Not knowing what could happen tomorrow or a week from now. Things change fast based on developments around us. At first, we were supposed to go back for another round of reserve duty in May. Last week, we got notice it was changed to March. The uncertainty impacts your ability to go back to “normal.” Another challenge is going back to families who have built a routine without you. And for the person returning, it takes time to re-adjust and re-integrate into the family dynamics. 

Lastly, a big challenge is coming off the “high” of being in a high-intensity situation for an extended period of time. Your body is full of adrenaline all the time. Coming home, things can seem boring and mundane. Your body isn’t on adrenaline all day, so physically and emotionally, you have to give yourself time to re-adjust. And then there is PTSD. Many soldiers will be carrying home multiple scars, memories, and emotional wounds. It will take time to process and to heal.

Thank you for all your prayers and generosity during this time. Without you, we could not have accomplished so much and blessed so many people over the last 3 months. We still have a long road ahead of us. This year will be full of challenges, uncertainty, and need. Please pray for the Lord to give us wisdom on how to best serve the body here during this season—and where the Lord wants us to put our focus, time, and resources throughout this year.

With much appreciation,
Joel Jelski 

Your prayers are a vital part of this heavy conflict.

Please pray into these areas:

  • Moment by moment, angelic protection for each soldier and guidance from Heaven in their movements, location, and awareness of the enemy and their fellow fighters.
  • Rescue of the 136 hostages remaining in severe conditions of deprivation and abuse.
  • Divinely sourced wisdom and courage for our political and military leaders to make the decisions that will prevent October 7 from ever happening again and will rebuild Gaza with zero tolerance for the terror-infused aim of destroying Israel.
  • Pushing back and de-fanging the powers of darkness ruling over Hizbollah just over our northern border. This, despite all signs pointing to their “itching to get into the action” in an all-out attack. (BTW, they have ten times the trained forces and long-distance weaponry that Hamas has). Yet, the battle is the LORD’s—”Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S, and He will give you into our hands” 1Samuel 17:47)
  • Unprecedented anointing of loving and effective boldness for Yeshua’s disciples in Israel to share our faith with our countrymen in such an unsettling time.

Helping us Help Them!

The need remains urgent, and we want to be transparent about the financial aspect of this mission. We have successfully provided for many soldiers, but numerous believing members in the IDF are still awaiting assistance.

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