Compassion in Action: Gospel Outreach in Israel in the Wake of Hamas’ Attacks

ABWE’s Middle East Compassion Fund is opening doors for spiritual conversations with those in need of Christ

From Message magazine issue "Post-Christian? Missions in the Shadow of Christendom"

The horrific attacks of October 7, 2023, left Israelis devastated and reeling.

On what would become the deadliest day in the history of the modern state of Israel, Israelis endured an onslaught of thousands of rockets launched against the nation while Hamas terrorists brutally invaded border communities near Gaza. Within a few hours, approximately 1,200 citizens had been killed and 250 taken hostage.  

“The shock was unbearable . . . unbelievable,” recounted one Israeli pastor.  

As the crisis grew, ABWE national partners and workers in the region evaluated how to assist their congregations and communities suddenly suffering widespread unemployment, evacuation, fear, and trauma. The needs increased as 360,000 men and women were called to active military duty, leaving many young families separated and churches without pastors or deacons. 

Amid these devastating circumstances, ABWE’s Middle East Compassion Fund assisted national partners in caring for their congregations. 

“In one church plant, we offered food, childcare, and home maintenance for families whose husbands were away, whenever they needed it,” said Allen, an ABWE partner. “We donated grocery gift cards to people unable to work because of the war. In one case, we helped a family whose car was damaged by a rocket, and we’ve helped with expenses for a young soldier from a believing family who lost both legs in an explosion.” 

Even as local churches ministered to their own members as the body of Christ, they looked outward to serve the broader population. 

“We asked each other, ‘How can we do outreach; how can we serve through relief work?’” continued Allen. 

Partnering with like-minded organizations, they provided food and school supplies for some of the 200,000 civilians evacuated from regions bordering Gaza and Lebanon and supported evangelistic media productions. When reservists reported a lack of basic supplies, churches purchased coats, toiletries, and watches for the units of believing soldiers, upholding their efforts to share the gospel with those searching for hope in the chaos of combat.    

“Meeting physical needs gives us the ability to speak into people’s lives, and that starts a relationship that allows us to share more with them,” explained ABWE partner Beth. “It’s breaking down barriers to the gospel.” 

Local churches distribute food and supplies to evacuees and reservists. Photo: ABWE partners

Despite its history as the land of the Bible, Israel remains largely unreached with the biblical gospel by missiological standards. Evangelical believers comprise only 0.7 percent of the population and often face hostility or opposition. As many Israelis now realize that they cannot fully rely on their national security system, ABWE partners pray that the current situation will become a spiritual wake-up call. 

“Since that awful day, most of the people are willing to hear and speak about spiritual matters,” wrote one national pastor. “We are praying for wisdom to use each opportunity to present the gospel with the hope of seeing many more people coming to saving knowledge [of] Christ Jesus.” 

Allen added: “Pray with us that the truth of the Messiah will penetrate the hearts of both Israelis and Palestinians.” 

Editor’s Note: Names have been changed for security.