By Nina, volunteer from Ashdod

    Different street people come to Aviv Center. There are those we are already well acquainted with: they come to us like to old friends, waiting to hear “How are you doing today?” Others drop in for the first time and look around carefully: they have to understand what this is all about.

    Field stories1

    Some hesitate, hiding their eyes. Yesterday a beautiful girl ran in like that. Grabbing a saucer with a slice of cucumber from the table, she sat down beside the window, with her back to everyone; huddling up, she hastily ate and ran away.

    Another person tries to act cheekily to see at what point these serious guys with kind eyes are going to stop him. Interestingly, no matter how wretched the condition of a person is, having stepped into Aviv Center he starts changing right in front of our eyes. It is as if he is icing out or something... Sometimes addicts even sober up and begin to ask serious questions. Conversations on how to stop, to put an end to this destructive lifestyle are the most important ones.

    For example, one man sat with us yesterday and talked about himself quite openly.

    “I know myself, - he was saying, - I don’t have the strength to leave drugs. Once I stayed clean for five days. This is my greatest achievement, I cannot do better…”

    “But there is God's power, - we replied, - Which can save you and help you overcome everything”.

    And then one of the volunteers told him about his experience in the rehab.

    “What, by prayers? Without any medicine? – the guy asked.

    “Yes!”

    I hear this “Yes” very often. Our volunteers testify of God's love revealed to them. And it is impossible to object to this living testimony. If only Aviv Center’s visitors accepted it with their hearts! For from that moment God's work would begin in every one of them.

    Please keep praying!

    By Nina, volunteer from Ashdod

    To leave the streets and go to a rehab – this is, of course, only the beginning. But it is like a new birth, when a whole new life lies ahead. And the more you observe the path of those who got saved the more you thank the Lord for His great mercy towards them.

    But the street people who do not accept the helping hand or simply put the matter away “for tomorrow”, are in constant danger. That is why our volunteers come here every day. Most of them are former addicts who want to serve others because they were once saved the same way.

    Each of them can say that:

    Conversation on the street

    - he was that guy who was dying on a dark staircase, when a woman bent over him with a cup of water, saying that Jesus loved him and was waiting for him;

    - he was that guy whom believers visited in prison for a whole year, supported him and brought him the Bible;

    - he was that guy in hospital for whom they prayed before operation, blessing the hands of the doctors;

    - he was that guy whom they brought to their rehab, despite his huge “bouquet” of serious illnesses, and then took him to various clinics and doctors to put him back on his feet;

    - it was at his bedside that the believers stood and prayed during the first most difficult days asking God that he wouldn’t give up and run away, that he would trust in the Lord....

    And then… how much more was then! They translated documents, sat with him for hours at the lawyers’ office, drove him to different courts and authorities, helped him solve the problems of his debts, wrote letters, asked for deferrals and discounts. They called his relatives, saying that their son had changed, invited them to visit, helped restore broken relationships, reach reconciliation...

    Yes, each of these volunteers was that guy, so none of them can rest until others are safe too in the arms of the Savior.

    By Nina, volunteer from Ashdod

    IMG 20180227 WA00101

    The has winter arrived quickly and suddenly, as it always does in Israel. For those who live on the street, it is a difficult time. Even if they have got some kind of shelter for the night, during the day they roam the streets for hours, often sitting down right upon the pavement.

    When someone cannot steal and has already got no strength to work, he just becomes a beggar. In the worst case, he falls asleep in the cold. Then he looks like a person in a coma. His legs and arms are terribly twisted and pressed down by the body, but he does not even feel that. Former street girls say you can lose your limb like that, there have been cases…

    When our volunteers see such a person, they immediately approach and try to awaken him. They call him to come to Aviv Center and eat. There, while he is eating, he is warming up and can listen to us. Street people say: "It is like getting into another world".

    Clothes are also important. To keep themselves warm on the street, the addicts have got only one option: to put on several layers of clothing. Their legs, of course, still freeze. In Aviv Center we give them second hand clothes, hot tea, coffee and, of course, soup. In winter we always put a plate of peeled garlic on the table; it protects against colds and flu.

    When you are warm, when there is a roof over your head, when you have got enough food, you feel even more concerned about those who are now on the streets, unprotected, wandering in the dark. “Dear Lord, keep them until the morning, when the center opens again”, I pray, “Let them survive this night, because tomorrow will bring new hope. Tomorrow may become their day of salvation”.

    Approaching a woman on Tel Aviv street1

    By Nina, volunteer from Ashdod

    Just a small park separates Aviv Center from an abandoned alley where the addicts shoot up. It is a scary place. It is the kingdom of death. You can see it everywhere and in everything. A blank glance of a guy lying on the pavement… The twisted thin arms of a girl who has just got her fix and sunk into semiconsciousness… Rags, garbage, empty syringes…. And silence, disturbed only by occasional unintelligible exclamations...

    The volunteers I have joined today know many people here. The reason is pretty simple: some time ago they themselves dwelled in this hell. Today they come and sit down next to someone, look into his eyes, hold him by the shoulders and start talking. They talk to every person as if to a brother, understanding the depth of his suffering, still remembering this life so vividly.

    And their message is simple, and in their call life triumphs over death. They say: “Look at me! Take a good look! I was here, I was dying, like you are now. Nothing is impossible for God. He saved me, and He can save you too!”

    And in somebody’s fading eyes suddenly one can spot a glimpse of hope.

    This is the living Gospel.

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