BY MIROSLAV PUJIC, Trans-European Division communication director
he situation in Northern Israel continues to be difficult,” reports Richard Elofer, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Israel. “Many Adventists and Jews celebrated this Sabbath in bomb shelters with frequent interruptions by blaring sirens and explosions of fired rockets.”
The area continues to be evacuated. Many Adventists and non-Adventists found shelter in buildings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the homes of its members.
Adventist leaders opened the Jerusalem Study Centre for 25-30 non-Adventist refugees. Pastor Elofer said that “even though the church facilities are not equipped to accommodate refugees, we will do our best to provide what these people need." Church buildings in Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, and Beer Sheva have also been opened.
“We hope that this difficult situation will not last for a long time and that wisdom and responsibilities will prevail among the leaders of the different parties,” Elofer said.
In Beirut, students and staff at the Middle East University (MEU) began preparing the bomb shelter, reports Middle East Union president Levon Maksoudian.
The MEU is an Adventist institution situated on a hill overlooking Beirut city. It is a considerable distance away from current target areas, and Adventists living on campus have not been in immediate danger up until now. However, since several Christian areas have recently been hit, leaders are taking necessary precautions.
People around the world are encouraging church members and students at the university through e-mail. Suhad Kharma, a staff member at the university, receives numerous e-mails of support from people who understand the intense anxiety that she and many others are enduring. Here's a portion of one of her responses:
"Thank you for your letters of support. I cried when I was reading them. I have become so emotional these days. There is so much stress on everyone."
"Beirut is very quiet these days and we continue with life as normally as possible. But every day at 5.00 am we are woken up by the sounds of bombing in the southern part of Beirut. We see the ships coming and picking up the evacuees."
"We meet on the university campus at 7.00 pm each evening to pray and socialize. It is so soothing to bond together as we walk and enjoy the peace that this place provides."
"Pray for us that we will survive this as we survived the last [18-year Lebanese civil war], and hopefully," says Suhad, "this will be the last." --TED News/AR