An Update from the Persecuted Church in Gaza
Open Doors calls Christians around the world to pray for the people of Israel and Palestine. Pray that peace will come to this part of the world and that this violence will stop.
The terrible violence that broke out on Saturday, 7 October, prompted by a massive attack from Hamas on Israel, has brought grief, pain, fear, and panic to Israeli and Palestinian families. We are shocked by the scale and brutality of the violence; we grieve for all innocent people who lost their lives.
Fear and Uncertainty Among Christians in Gaza
On Monday morning, Open Doors spoke with a Christian in Gaza.
“My family and I feel fear and anxiety due to the heavy bombardments… we feel that the house will fall. It is a permanent earthquake. We try to hug our children and relieve them of fear and terror, and many times we cannot [comfort them] from the force of the strikes,” a Christian father from Gaza says to Open Doors.
“Currently, we live in a difficult situation in Gaza that is incomprehensible, as we do not know what is coming… all we see, hear and feel is war… explosions and destruction everywhere and the screaming of children from the intensity of the bombing. There is a strong fear of what is coming as there is no safe place in Gaza,” he continues.
“For a moment, it seemed as if the gates of heaven were closed in the face of this miserable and poor city… in Gaza, everything seems gloomy.”
He says that this war seems “different from any previous escalations; we were not able to sleep for two days because the bombing is severe at night.”
He adds, “We pray that love and peace will prevail in our country, and I ask for a prayer for God’s protection over my family and our home, that the war will end quickly, and that the Lord will meet all needs, especially at this time, and that we are can be the light in the middle of this total darkness and reflect the light and love of Christ in Gaza.”
The Church in the Midst of Chaos
The man is one of the about 800 Palestinian Christians of different Christian denominations in Gaza. The churches in Gaza cancelled all their services last weekend due to the current war and the bombings of the Israeli air force. Open Doors supports the churches in Gaza so that they can help Christians with food and medicine where needed.
Palestinian Christians in the West Bank did have their church services. “We prayed for peace and justice in the Holy Land,” a Christian from Bethlehem said this morning.
Al Jazeera reports that ‘the churches of Gaza are among the very few places left where Palestinians can seek refuge.’
Pray for Israel and Palestine:
- Pray for peace and an end to all violence and injustice in Israel and Palestine.
- Pray that the church will be a beacon of hope for the people through their testimony in words and actions.
- Pray that the Lord will comfort those who lost loved ones.
- Pray also that the international community will work towards lasting peace in the Holy Land.
About Gaza: The Backdrop to this Conflict
Gaza is a small strip of land, about 41 km long and 6 to 12 km wide, and has a population of about 2 million. Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2006. When Hamas came to power, the Israeli government imposed a land, sea, and air blockade on the area, turning the densely populated area into what some have described as “an open-air prison,” as the area is often described. Only people who get a permit from the Israeli government are allowed to travel out of Gaza. Together with the much bigger West Bank, Gaza forms the state of Palestine.
Open Doors Involvement in the Region
Open Doors works in the West Bank and in Israel. In Gaza, we work through local partners. The war has an impact on Open Doors’ work in the region — training for women planned for this week is likely to be cancelled, as well as several meetings. In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors is supporting the church in Israel and Palestine through the following activities:
- Training (E.g., Biblical training, reconciliation, trauma debriefing and counselling)
- Bible and Christian Literature distribution
- Leadership development
- Advocacy and presence ministry (E.g., legal support, safe houses)
- Prayer Ministry
Stay updated with the latest prayer requests from the persecuted church.