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Newsletter January 2022

Katsrin, Israel, November 23-26, 2021

Greetings from Israel and the Warm Houses there! We had a possibility to visit Israel in November as the borders were open for a while. The Pastors of our team invited us, and through many arrangements and by help from God we were able to travel.

In the newsletters, we tell about our visits to three Warm Houses where we were able to stay. We start from the Warm House and congregation in Katzrin. Gennady Shaulov is Pastor and Leader of this rehabilitation home.

Katzrin is located on the Golan Heights, less than one hour’s drive from Tiberias. It is a small town with fewer than 10 thousand inhabitants. The Government of Israel is preparing a program to double the population in coming years. At the moment, Katzrin loses people because there is little work opportunities available and being far away from the city centers of the country.

Warm House

Warm House in Katzrin is one of the oldest Houses of the Living Israel congregation in Israel. Today, there is one rehabilitation home in the town. It is open for both men and women. The other Houses were closed during the Corona pandemic. Originally, there were three rehabilitation homes in the town. There are seven regular people living in this House today. In addition to that, there are other rehabilitees periodically. As an example, when picking up us to Katzrin, Gennady took from Haifa with us one woman who came to the House because of her alcohol problem.

The residents of the House pay about half of their costs of living. Some sisters of the congregation work in cleaning of the school, and this income also covers some expenses of the House. The rents and other costs of living are high in Israel. The pandemic has caused also fewer opportunities to work.

The congregation has repaired a garage to storage, from where needy people can get support, e.g. cloths. There is also a meeting room in the Warm House for church meetings and a guest room where we were staying.

Living Israel congregation Light of Golan Hills 

There are around 50 Members in the congregation. It is open for all of the people of the town. As one ministry, during the time of the pandemic was started food support to elderly people who have gone through holocaust. Sometimes, also Christian devotions have been arranged to them. On Thursday evenings, the Christian meetings have begun in the Home for elderly people of the town. We joined when Gennady directed a meeting where he told about the upcoming Hanukkah Feast and its meaning. In addition to the ministry for elders, the congregation emphases to children’s ministry.

The congregation has a new congress room for the Sabbath meetings and the other bigger meetings. It was built two years ago and is situated in the industrial area of the town. A common transport is arranged to there from the Warm House. The people from Living Israel Rishon LeZion visit Katzrin once a month. Joint prayer and worship meetings are organized together with other Churches. Worship and music play an important part in the church meetings.

Gennady has ministered for over 13 years in Katzrin as Pastor and Leader of the rehabilitation home. Many people have been helped by him and his wife Nataly. Many of them have grown to strong spiritual ministry work and gone to other places. The influence of this ministry reaches long away, also abroad. Gennady has still on his heart a burning desire to serve and reach people. May God open even more possibilities for that!

Experiences for tourists

From Katzrin, we drove to the Mount of Transfiguration (Tabor). There was a wonderful sight to the Jezreel Valley. In the Nazareth Village in Nazareth we met e.g. Abraham and Peter and we saw how olive oil was made in the times of Jesus. The visit opened in a new way to see the stories of the Bible, e.g. the parables that Jesus told. In Nazareth Village our Guide was a believer, and he told also that groups from all Israel visit them. So the Village brings the Gospel to Jews. In other destinations, Gennady was our Guide and told about the backgrounds and spiritual viewpoints of the different places that associate to stories in the Bible in addition to the modern day situations.

We delighted our bodies in the hot Sulphur springs of Hamat Gader. It is located close to the Jordanian border on east side of Lake of Gennesaret. We enjoyed delicious meals in the kosher restaurant Gilabu Ranch, in the Druze village and other places.

In Katzrin, we also visited the cosmetic factory Olea Essence, where they make first class skin lotions and olive oils. Washing hands in the lobby of the shop of the factory was a surprising and different travel experience; the wash and peel lotion made of olive raw materials cleans the hands leaving them pleasingly soft and in good perfume!

Galilee and Northern Israel is a beautiful area. The town of Katzrin is surrounded by the fields of the Valley of Galilee and mountain sceneries. There are many possibilities to e.g. nature exploration, getting to know biblical places and to relax. In a short distance, there are for example Lake Gennesaret, Capernaum, Mount of Beatitudes (mount of sermon) and the Golan Heights.

Small groups have a possibility to stay in the Warm House premises. They speak Russian and some Hebrew in the House. 

We are thankful to God for the trip.

Let’s keep on praying, blessing and supporting the ministry of Gennady and his family and the congregation and Warm House in Katzrin.

Maarit Remes and Taru Ilvonen/ Uskon tie ry