Terry, Shelli and I left the Salt Sea and the close living among the evacuees.
Tomorrow we will go to some of the places from which they were driven in horror.
Late today, the IDF gave us permission to enter Be’eri and then on to Ashdod.
Our second group arrived at the hotel just in time for the lighting of the Chanukiah (the 9-branched lampstand) on the first night of Chanukah. Known also as the Feast of Lights, Jesus observed the feast as recorded in John 10:22.
We enjoyed dinner of delicious food grown and prepared in the Holy Land.
Heart-rending Eye Witness Account
Immediately after our meal, we gathered in a room where two young Israeli soldiers were to address us. The girl serves in the press corp. The 24-year-old man shared his heart-breaking story. We are not allowed to show his face, as he will go back into duty.
It’s not his name, but I will call him Aaron. He and his brother and sister had just completed their army service (his was 5 years) and were celebrating with their parents in a family reunion on the Sabbath one week before October 7. His father collapsed and Aaron, a medic, and his brother gave him CPR and literally brought him back from death. The next week, they were thankful that, after surgery, his father had made it.
Then, early on October 7, in Aaron’s words, “Israel woke up to a nightmare.”
A phone call came. They were ordered to report for duty right away. Confusion reigned. Every soldier that got into a car and drove himself to the site was murdered. A girl soldier in his unit hit upon the idea to gather in one spot and then to be helicoptered into the terrorist war zone.
His unit fought 72 hours straight. 16 dead. 36 badly wounded. He saw friends die. One soldier fought with one arm totally useless, having been shot early on.
He said he still had not mentally processed the atrocities he saw. He had prepared a video and slide show, some of which were pictures he himself had taken. It was so difficult to watch. For him. And for us. He said he considered not showing them, but he knew he had to. As much as I’ve followed the war, I saw things I had not seen.
We were not allowed to photograph his face, but we memorized it. We promised Aaron our prayers. And he promised us he would read Psalm 91 aloud every day.
More tomorrow night…
I just wonder if I can even put into words what our eyes will see.
Pray for us.
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