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Simeon* and his wife, Celia,* along with their two children, aged 13 and nine, are the property managers of the team base in Israel, which means that provide hospitality and do all the upkeep for the house. Additionally, Simeon works with a church planting network to start home churches and discipleship groups around the country.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Simeon and Celia were heavily involved in helping train new team members and in reaching out around their city. One ministry that came from their outreach is a pub ministry. “Well it is not actually a pub, it is a makeshift, old bar," Simeon clarified. "We started going to that side of the city because we found many homeless people and drug addicts. Since it was very close to where we were doing outreach for the homeless, we decided to sit down and pray. And God laid it on our hearts to go every week and pray, and we wanted to develop it into a Bible study.” Every Tuesday, Simeon and other workers prayed and studied the Bible in a place seemingly devoid of hope. Simeon’s group spent time talking with people and from these relationships, they were able to share the gospel and pray for people. As lockdowns due to the virus were announced, Simeon worried about being able to continue to minister.
Simeon prayed the first week that he and his family were at home because he did not know how to reach out to the people he normally ministered to, as they were not very open to being connected or having conversations on the phone. He spent a good deal of time praying for specific people, and at least two or three of them have since called him. Simeon says that he has had had really good opportunities to share the gospel and to bring his friends comfort from the Scriptures.
One person phoned Simeon and called him: Yedidyah, which means 'a friend of God' because Simeon had been such a comfort to him.
Being from Latin America, Simeon and Celia have seen their support and spending power negatively impacted by the economic effects of the coronavirus. At this time, without any additional financial support, Simeon and his family can only continue to minister in Israel for about three more months. Simeon’s sending church raises at least 30 per cent of his support, and many of his supporters are from Latin America. As the currency in his home country has seen some of the steepest devaluation this year, Simeon does not know what will happen in the future. Simeon said: “Everyone at home is on lockdown, and we are not sure how that will be affecting us.”
The OM team searched for a long time to find managers for the base in Israel, and without Simeon and Celia, there would be no one to run the property. The family would not get to continue planting home churches in Israel if they are unable to stay. Simeon and Celia are integral to training new workers, and they share the gospel with the downtrodden and hopeless that most people usually ignore. Their firm faith in the love of Jesus compels Simeon, Celia and their children to be a light that shares the gospel to all that they meet.
Pray that God would provide the finances necessary for Simeon and Celia to continue their ministry in Israel. Pray that they would have the opportunity to connect over the phone with others from their Bible study group during the lockdown. And pray that, despite isolation, their ministry will continue to flourish.