In Western Galilee on the Mediterranean coast, the city of Nahariya sits about 12 kilometers from Lebanon. About 65,000 residents live in relative peace and quiet there and a small river meanders through the center of town. Most of the year the cemented river bed has just a trickle of water flowing through it.
In January, however, heavy rainstorms, the worst in over 50 years, struck the city and the Ga’aton river overflowed sending flood waters cascading through the city streets. Access to the city was effectively shut off and people had to be rescued with heavy duty trucks and transport vehicles.
Nahariya had never experienced such intense flooding in a such a short time. The flooding damaged homes, major buildings and the shopping district.
News of the damage and distress of Nahariya reached a caring community of Christians in Morristown, Tennessee where were several people had developed a deep love for Israel and effective relationships with Messianic believers in Galilee over the years.
In Akko, a neighboring city, the pastor of the Harvest of Asher Congregation, Guy Cohen, developed a strategy for helping Nahariya. They immediately sent a team of eight experienced relief volunteers to see how they could come to the aid of the beleaguered city of Nahariya.
Word of this effort reached me, pastor of Nahariya’s Light of Galilee Congregation. He offered to handle logistics locally with the city officials. Together Pastor Cohen and I coordinated the efforts with the city of Nahariya and the able-bodied volunteers. For a week the group worked with people in Nahariya helping the people who suffered damage from the flooding and intense rainfall.
Nahariya’s Mayor Ronen Marelli, who had heard of the efforts of this group of well-intentioned Christians, personally thanked the volunteers on behalf of the city at a private meeting in his office.
The Nahariya relief effort was a model of cooperation between local congregations in Israel and the development of long-term relationships with international Christian communities. Practical help during a crisis such as this provides a powerful testimony of Yeshua’s love to people in Israel.