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Finding Promise in the Promised Land

28 Sep

Finding Promise in the Promised Land

resident and staff of Beersheba drug and rehab center
The residents and staff of the Beersheba drug rehab center (That’s me, second from right, with Dov standing in front of me)

Finding Promise in the Promised Land

Bob’s 2nd and final trip blog from Israel

Dear Friends,

Abraham liked to hang out in Beersheba, a southern city in Israel situated in the Negev desert. So do some recovering drug and alcohol addicts.

Israel is not quite what I expected, you may remember me saying in my first trip blog. I’ve never thought much about the worldwide drug epidemic as it relates to the land of the Bible. Let’s face it, most of us really don’t like looking for darkness, but sometimes that’s exactly the mission God has called us to if we’re to be His “lifeguards” to help “rescue the perishing.”

They’re reaping what they’ve sown. I’ve heard that line in one form or another most of my life. We often use it to excuse ourselves from getting involved, right? If we’re honest with ourselves, however, we’re all more prone to addictions of one kind or another than we’d like to admit. Many addictions, like gluttony or impulsive shopping, are more socially acceptable than compulsive gambling or pornography, which many find easier to hide, at least for a time.

But drug and alcohol addicts often live messy lives we want to stay away from. Here in Israel, where I’ve been visiting these past few days, it’s no different.

That’s why my friend Pastor Dov is working to help them with the compassion that Jesus had for “tax collectors and sinners.” It’s not about whose fault it is; it’s about Jesus’ compassion for the lost, especially for the outcasts of society.

Our first night we visited a facility in Beersheba that seeks to help addicts find recovery and new life in Jesus. For many, it’s a gradual process that begins with humility and repentance. Slava and Kirill are two young men on that path. They don’t know Jesus yet, but they’re seeking truth and hoping, in that truth, to find something stronger than the drugs and alcohol that have held them captive for many lost years of their lives. And strong men of God like Dov and his staff are showing them the way. It’s a path filled with struggle and setbacks, but Slava and Kirill have been living at the center and sober for several months, and they’re hoping they’ll succeed this time.

Two men recovering at addiction center in Israel
Slava, at left, and Kirill.

Pastor Dov knows, however, that true freedom only comes through fully submitting to Jesus, and hopes these two men finally make that commitment. Until then, he and his staff are faithfully pouring love and truth into their wounded souls until the healing comes—and the Prison & Rehab Ministry is standing with him to help Slava and Kirill, as well as many others that come through their doors, on their journey.

Thanks for standing with us, and thanks for joining me on this trip to the Promised Land. I’m so glad the promises of God are still available to hurting addicts today!

May God richly bless you,

Bob Collins
Director, Prison & Rehab Ministry

PARTING SHOTS

dinner at drub and rehab center
At left, we enjoyed a dinner of chicken and rice at the center; at right, this is Denis, where we caught him at work in a nearby coffee shop the next day (Denis is not a recovering addict, but a homeless young man the center brought in as a sort of prevention act of compassion. He’s following the Lord, and his joy was evident on his face!).

director of prison and rehab ministry at church in Israel on Sabbath
Carole and me speaking at Dov’s church on the Sabbath. Just about all the members of this body are of Russian descent.

traditional view of israel; tower in ancient city Joppa with Tel Aviv in background; southern wall of the temple mount
A more traditional look at Israel: at left, a tower in the ancient seaside city of Joppa (or Yofa, as it’s spelled today), with the modern city of Tel Aviv in the background; at right, a view of the southern wall of the temple mount (the familiar golden roof of the Muslim Dome of the Rock temple is beyond the less-famous mosque you see here)

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