First Hand Account from Ashkelon: Living Under Rocket Fire

The following article was written by Orli Avior. Bill Rudge was able to spend time with her and her husband and holocaust survivor Moshe Shamir on his last trip to the Holy Land in February of 2018.

by Orli Avior, correspondent for the Winnipeg Jewish Review in Ashkelon November 21, 2019

Between Nov 12-Nov 14, over 450 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza. I live in Ashkelon in Southern Israel and I finally getting a whole night’s sleep now that the rockets have stopped coming in. Gaza loves to send a lot of rockets in the middle of the night when you get a rude awakening from the sirens and have to jump out of bed and run to a safe area.

But, I am one of the lucky ones who only has to go across the hall to a safe room in our apartment. Others have to go to a stairwell of a multi-story building or a small safe building outside of their apartment building or house.  I do feel sorry for parents whose children are already frightened enough from the siren and now the parents have to schlep them out of their beds to a safe area.

One of the rockets from the latest barrage hit a little too close to home on the afternoon of 13 Nov.  As my husband Ariel and I were in the safe room we heard a large boom and knew it sounded very close.  We went out on the balcony of our 7th floor apt and saw the black smoke rising from an area I know three of my friends live in.  I immediately phoned one of them to see if they were okay. My friend Shirley told me that she was fine but that the debris from the hit was all over her courtyard.  My friend Loraine was pretty shaken up as she felt the vibration in her floor and the explosion was so loud it gave her such a fright she felt her heart racing for quite a while. My friend Yoanna told me that no one in the area has a safe room and the bomb shelter was too far for most of the people get to it in time, so they normally just hide in their bathrooms. 

Within minutes of the hit I could see the emergency vehicles heading over that way.  It is impressive how the IDF and civilian authorities worked together with such efficiency.  Thankfully only one senior citizen was injured from shattered glass and shock.

After so many rockets being fired into Israel I got a little tired of reading the news about the Israeli government talking to Hamas about a cease fire that everyone knows means we cease and they fire (a least a few more rockets).  You know they always have to have the last word. 

Now the question is when will the next round of rockets will rain down on this country again.

“Who Will Go?”

The following poem was written by Bruce Miller, a childhood friend of Bill Rudge. His dramatic conversion gave him the desire to lead others to Jesus. He currently serves in a prison ministry and was able to minister in Haiti and India when Bill opened doors for him to go.

It’s called the “Great Commission,”

Just who’s supposed to go?

You’ll find the answer on your knees

If you really want to know.

The harvest has been ready,

And the fields are very ripe;

Pray to the Lord for laborers,

Willing to share the light.

It seems today, and always has,

The ones that go are few;

It’s written in the book of Luke

In chapter ten, verse two.

Some say, “I’m just too busy,”

Or, “The timing isn’t right.”

Lift your eyes; look around;

The harvest is already white.

When you see Jesus face to face,

And He asks, “What did you do?”

I hope and pray your answer is,

“I labored, Lord, for you.”

The Great Commission is, and should be, the priority of the Church and every believer in Christ. It is not an option but rather a command. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus did not ask the disciples to go; Jesus commanded they go unto the utter most parts of the earth (see Acts 1:8). In Luke 10:2, Jesus told the disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send labourers, and then in verse three, He sent them into the harvest fields.

“Who Will Go?” It is a question intended to stir your heart and mind. After reading my poem, it is my hope you, and myself as well, may respond as Isaiah the prophet did:

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. (Isaiah 6:8)

A Soldier Meets God

The following poem was found on the body of a nineteen-year-old American soldier in Vietnam.

Look God: I have never spoken to You,
But now I want to say, “How do You do.”
You see God, they told me You did not exist;
And, like a fool, I believed all of this.

Last night from a shell hole I saw Your sky;
I figured right then they had told me a lie.
Had I taken the time to see the things You made,
I would know they weren’t calling a spade a spade.

I wonder, God, if You would shake my hand;
Somehow, I feel that You will understand.
Strange, I had to come to this hellish place
Before I had time to see Your face.

Well, I guess there isn’t much more to say,
But I am sure glad, God, I met You today.
I guess the zero hour will soon be here,
But I am not afraid since I know You are near.

The signal – well, God, I will have to go;
I love You lots, this I want You to know.
Looks like this will be a horrible fight;
Who knows, I may come to Your house tonight.

Though I wasn’t friendly with You before,
I wonder, God, if You would wait at the door.

Look, I am crying, me shedding tears!
I wish I had known You these many years.
Well, I will have to go now, God. Goodbye—
Strange, since I met You, I am not afraid to die.

Reprinted from the Jesus People Newsletter, Volume 47, Issue 2, Sacramento, California.

How Should Christians Respond to Today’s Culture?

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

One of the hottest topics of discussion several months ago was the Grammy Awards. News headlines were saturated with stories about the weddings that took place, the revealing outfits worn, and a performance that had many people claiming she was promoting witchcraft, demons, magic, and Satanism. While I did not watch the Grammy’s, I believe that what went on merely reflects the mindset of a worldly culture; the declaration of independence from the God of the Bible.

This desire for independence began back in the Garden of Eden. Once Satan persuaded Adam and Eve to doubt God, he was able to plant the idea that they no longer needed to look to God to determine what was good and evil (Genesis 3:1-4). In other words, they no longer needed to live under God’s authority: Man can be free from God. This notion of living your life “free” from the God of the Bible is the very spirit that now permeates our culture.

So how do Christians respond to this? Some Christians embrace this culture, ignoring or downplaying any conflicts while being entertained by movies, television shows, and popular musicians openly endorsing and living anti-biblical lifestyles. As one Christian friend said to me, “It is just entertainment and nothing more.”

Other Christians disengage completely from the culture. They stand back awaiting the day when God will finally judge this world and destroy those whom they feel, in their own mind, are not as worthy as they to receive God’s grace and mercy. You will find these people being more preoccupied with endorsing their own political views than with spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Both of the above approaches fail to provide a biblical response to our culture. Instead of embracing our secular culture, or completely disengaging from it, we need to follow the example of Christ. What this means is that we do not conform our lives to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2) but live our lives in such a way that shows our culture how true, personal freedom is found only in the person of Jesus Christ. Remember, if we live by the standards of our culture, we really no longer have a unique message to bring to our culture.

The Grammy’s should be a reminder to all of us that this world desperately needs to hear the news that Jesus Christ has come to set the captives free. Let us live out this message in both word and action.

“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone” (Colossians 4:5, 6).

“Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world” (1 Peter 2:12).

“If someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ” (1 Peter 3:15, 16).