Open Doors has spoken to Christians on the ground in wartorn Gaza.
Open Doors is calling upon Christians worldwide to pray for the people of both Israel and Palestine, and for peace to descend upon the war-torn region, as violence escalates in the Holy Land.
The Christian organisation said the scale and brutality of the attack on Israel by Hamas on Saturday October 7 has left families in shock in both the Israel and Palestine regions.
On Monday morning, October 9, Open Doors partners in Gaza reached out to a Christian resident amidst the ongoing crisis, who painted a harrowing picture of the plight faced by Christians in the region.
He said, “My family and I feel fear and anxiety due to the heavy bombardments… we feel that the house will fall. It is a permanent earthquake. We try to hug our children and relieve them of fear and terror, and many times we cannot [comfort them] from the force of the strikes.”
“Currently, we live in a difficult situation in Gaza that is incomprehensible, as we do not know what is coming… all we see, hear, and feel is war… explosions and destruction everywhere and the screaming of children from the intensity of the bombing. There is a strong fear of what is coming as there is no safe place in Gaza.
“For a moment, it seemed as if the gates of heaven were closed in the face of this miserable and poor city… in Gaza, everything seems gloomy.”
He added, “We pray that love and peace will prevail in our country, and I ask for a prayer for God's protection over my family and our home, that the war will end quickly, and that the Lord will meet all needs, especially at this time, and that we are can be the light in the middle of this total darkness and reflect the light and love of Christ in Gaza.”
The Church in the Midst of Chaos
The Christian man is one of around 800 Palestinian Christians of different denominations living in Gaza. Due to the current war and the bombings by the Israeli air force, churches in Gaza cancelled all their services last weekend. Open Doors stands in solidarity with these churches, providing support to help Christians with essential necessities like food and medicine.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Christians in the West Bank continued to hold their church services, offering prayers for peace and justice in the Holy Land.
Al Jazeera reports that “the churches of Gaza are among the very few places left where Palestinians can seek refuge”.
Gaza: The Backdrop to the Conflict
Gaza, a small strip of land approximately 41 kilometres long and 6 to 12 kilometres wide, is home to a population of about 2 million people. It has been under the control of Hamas since 2006. Open Doors explains that the Israeli government has imposed a land, sea, and air blockade on the area, rendering it an "open-air prison," as it is often described.
Only individuals with permits from the Israeli government are allowed to travel out of Gaza. Together with the larger West Bank, Gaza constitutes the State of Palestine.
Open Doors Involvement in the Region
Open Doors operates in the West Bank and Israel, collaborating with local partners in Gaza to support the isolated Christians there.
The ongoing war has disrupted Open Doors' work in the region, including the cancellation of planned training for women and meetings.
In conjunction with local partners and churches, Open Doors remains committed to supporting the church in Israel and Palestine through various activities, including training, Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership development, advocacy and presence ministry, research, and prayer ministry.
About Open Doors
Open Doors is a global non-profit organization that supports and advocates for persecuted Christians in over 70 countries, providing aid and resources to those facing religious persecution.
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