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As Christian’s, it’s our duty to care for, pray for and support God’s chosen people in His Holy Land of Israel. A victorious life is a life full of serving God with joy. So let’s combine caring for God’s people with living victoriously as I introduce you to an amazing organization and some incredible people.
Let me introduce you to the Ebenezer Senior Citizen’s Home in Haifa, Israel, the only believing senior citizen’s home in all of Israel, where both residents and staff are believers in Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).
My goal is to introduce you to this amazing senior citizens home, and to share some of the testimonials of several of the residents. Through their stories, you’ll learn how they were able to overcome some major challenges in order to live a victorious life. And then I’ll share how we all can help.
What does the Bible say about Victory?
A simple search of the Bible will yield you some great Scriptures addressing the meaning of victory according to the Word of God. We know that the Lord fights for us every single day, if we are His. But a true victorious life comes through accepting Jesus as our Savior. Jesus proved that He was victorious over death and hell. As His children, we can avoid eternal damnation and live forever with Him in Heaven. That, right there my friend, is the meaning of living victoriously.
All of the residents, as well as the staff, have made that profession of faith. When you start with their relationship with Yeshua (Jesus) and add a lifetime of living in Israel, where life as a true believer has many consequences, you will clearly see why I believe that each of the residents at the Ebenezer Home really are living victorious lives.
Deuteronomy 20:4 For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
In the name of Jesus we have victory: The founding of The Ebenezer Home, Haifa Israel
It all started when a man named Pastor Solheim, and his wife Cilgia, realized that there would be a great need for a Home to be provided for the believers coming out of the Holocaust. Many of whom had lost everything, including their entire family.
The LORD had placed it upon many people’s hearts, to pray specifically for a home for the now elderly, lonely, and sometimes sick, and frail, brothers and sisters in Yeshua. They all had suffered much in their lives, and even so, they still served the Lord. Thus, Ebenezer was founded and built in 1976.
The Ebenezer Senior Citizens Home was appropriately named after Samuel’s stone, knowing that the Lord has and would continue to help and provide for them.
1 Samuel 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.
Since that day, Ebenezer has been the home to well over 150 residents, many of whom were and are, Holocaust survivors. Right now, the Ebenezer Home in Haifa has 6 Holocaust survivors still living among them. All of the staff and residents, both Jews and Arabs, are believers in Yeshua as the Messiah (Jesus Christ).
One big special family living victoriously through Jesus Christ
It is such a testimony as to what the blood of Christ has accomplished. It is only through this peace agreement that was signed by His blood on the cross, which allows these Jews and Arab believers, to not only live together, but to be ONE FAMILY in Him! Ebenezer is just that, one big family, living victoriously together and serving God with joy! Isn’t that amazing? It’s only through the grace of God.
Many people do not understand what it costs to be a born-again believer, in Israel. For these precious elderly believers, many of them have had to pay a price, for loving and serving God with joy. Some lost their entire families; others lost their jobs.
It’s not easy being a follower of Christ in a Jewish and Arab world. But these have remained faithful against incredible odds, paving the way for the younger generations to take a stand for the truth. This is truly evidence of a victorious life!
The staff agrees that it is an absolute honor to now be able to serve and care for their parents and now grandparents, in the faith. They have given their years of living a victorious life to serve their Lord, and now the staff believes that it’s their turn to support, love, encourage, and take care of these residents…and help them finish this earthly race, and to finish it strong!Introducing the only believing senior citizen's home in all of Israel, where both residents and staff are believers in Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). #GodIsWorkingInIsrael Click To Tweet
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How The Ebenezer Home in Haifa Israel cares for their residents
The Ebenezer Home is a non-profit ministry, which does not receive financial support from the government. 70% of their support comes from the donations of our brothers and sisters in Christ, around the world. Without their prayerful and financial support, Ebenezer would not be able to do what they do.
Being the only believing senior citizen’s home in Israel run by believers, Ebenezer works with the congregations and churches around Israel. Many of the elderly would love to remain at home with their families until they are called Home. However at times, this becomes impossible, as more help and care is needed, than what the resident’s family can provide. This is where Ebenezer comes in.
Although not yet licensed as a Nursing facility, they do have doctors and nurses on staff.
Right now, Ebenezer is raising the funds to be able to build a much-needed nursing ward/nursing home, so that they will be able to upgrade their license to provide full-time nursing care.
Currently, due to Ebenezer being licensed as an assisted living facility only, they are only allowed to legally have up to 10% of their residents, requiring nursing care, even though they have all the needed staff! When they exceed this number, they must ask for special permission to continue providing the care for the residents.
If they are not granted this permission, the residents must sadly be transferred to another facility, which is EXTREMELY hard on them. They often can experience depression, when placed in facilities (sometimes only for a short time for the extra care) which do not support their faith in Yeshua.
Ebenezer is also currently unable to accept elderly believers, who find themselves already requiring nursing care. This is a huge problem, as some come to Ebenezer, not realizing that due to their current licensing, they are not allowed to accept them into the Home.
Plans for expansion of the Ebenezer Home
When Ebenezer upgrades to a nursing license, they will be able to care for the believers, regardless of if they require nursing care or not. And then they will be able to continue to care for them, once they do find themselves requiring extra nursing care. Needless to say, they are working extremely hard at trying to raise the funds needed to be able to accomplish this.
Upgrading from an assisted living facility to a nursing ward/home, would enable the residents and home to receive government subsidies and funding. This would bring the home from a “non-profit” status, to a “for-profit” status, allowing them to become more self-sufficient and not having to rely solely on the donations of the brothers and sisters around the world.
It would also allow the elderly believers who have medical issues, who cannot currently be accepted into Ebenezer, to be accepted and cared for. It would enable them to always be allowed to care for the residents, regardless as to how their medical needs progress.
The building plans and renovation plans that are needed to attain this have already been approved by the government! Therefore, the Ebenezer team continues to work towards this goal, and their residents especially pray for this day to come!
Johnny, Ebenezer’s manager, and David, the maintenance and project manager, have explored other options. But they now understand that they will just have to step into the Jordan River with faith. “This isn’t about our personal ambition–it’s a real need and a burden,” Johnny declares. “We have no choice. If we don’t do something about the situation, who will?”
Ebenezer Home is founded in the faith
Unlike many facilities in Israel, Ebenezer is founded in the faith. A day in Ebenezer begins with the staff gathering for prayer. Then there is a devotion, hymn sing, and prayer time for the residents before breakfast each day as well. After the staff’s breakfast, they too, have a time of devotion and prayer together. Their goal is to strive to maintain high, biblical standards.
Activities are provided for the residents. They learn how to basket weave, paint, draw, quilt, knit or crochet, among many other things. Music also has a special place in the life of Ebenezer, with many of the residents and volunteers gathering and playing together. You will often find residents and staff alike, praying and encouraging each other.
It’s truly a place where the elderly can continue to serve and live out their days to the praise of our Father! Many have written books while at Ebenezer, finding a quiet and restful place, after their years of living victoriously by serving God with joy.
Ebenezer’s prayer is not only to care for the aging believing community in Israel, but to also shine the light of the Messiah, in a dark and dying world. David, the home’s maintenance and project manager, points out that even external service providers notice the difference at Ebenezer.
There is a different kind of spirit here
A Muslim garbage collector recently approached David and asked him about Ebenezer. David asked why he was interested, and the man answered that it felt different to him. “Why?” David challenged, “our garbage stinks like our neighbor’s garbage.” The Muslim man laughed and replied, “There is a different kind of spirit here.”
This is an example of the daily encounters that they have in Ebenezer. This opens up the way for them to share the gospel with those they come in contact with. They praise their Father for the testimony that they have, as it is by His grace, that their victorious life light can shine!
The greatest challenge that the Ebenezer team faces, is to combine the practical, physical and spiritual challenges that they face every day. It takes incredible patience, vision, and love to minister day-in and day-out to the residents of Ebenezer.
Johnny recalls telling one government inspector, “We are not perfect, we have our shortcomings, but we also have the Word of God”.
How the Ebenezer Home meets the needs of its residents
The team seeks their Father’s wisdom, in knowing how to meet the resident’s growing needs. Because to Ebenezer, it goes way beyond just the physical needs. It also strives to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of the residents, as well.
Many come to them struggling and groping with questions, like with one Holocaust survivor who asked, “why would a loving God, allow the Holocaust and my family to be killed?” As they embrace them, love them, pray with them, seek to answer their questions as best as they can, they watch them begin to heal and to thrive.
They profess that it’s like watching a rose blossom into something so beautiful to behold. The staff can watch the residents go from depression, to shining brightly, and once again, able to press on in the race, living victoriously for their Master.
My goal in sharing this information with you is to ask that you really be in prayer with them that the Father would lead them to the exact piece of land that the Father has for the needs of the Ebenezer Senior Citizen’s Home. They have the plans. Now they need the property, as well as to find the finances to purchase it.
They are desperately trying to be able to upgrade their facility to meet the growing needs of the elderly and their families, but they need help.
Additionally, the van owned by the home, which is the only form of transportation that the residents have, is in dire need of replacement. In the current state of the world, where due to Covid, public transportation is not safe and is harmful to their health, they are now in the midst of a fundraising campaign for that as well. (Please click the link to watch a brief video.)
So many believers outside of Israel have no idea that the Ebenezer Home in Haifa even exists or the work that they are doing there. I know that I didn’t! You can read a bit more about the ministry on their website: The Ebenezer Senior Citizen’s Home. Please make sure to check out their Facebook page as well. Your support and prayers are greatly appreciated.
Living victoriously: Testimonials from some of The Ebenezer Home residents
The following are testimonials that come directly from the residents of the Ebenezer Home in Haifa, Israel who are serving God with joy. What a blessing to be able to share the victorious life stories of these beautiful brothers and sisters in Christ. My prayer is that you will get as much joy as I have in reading them.
The only believer in a religious family, he kept falling down. His family asked, “what are we going to do with you?” Quite familiar with Ebenezer Home, he suggested that he be allowed to move there. His orthodox brother, perhaps impressed by the cleanliness of the home, signed the papers to allow his entrance – despite personal objections to the faith.
Nevertheless, his first weeks in the home were difficult and he struggled terribly with depression. What helped him? His eyes light up as he shares. “There was an older Arab lady in the home, Yassa. She was quite ill and could hardly get around. She walked up to me, with her walker, looked me in the eye, and said, ‘How are you my brother,’ and it moved me so much to know that as Arabs and Jews we are one family in God.”
Naomi, an Arab believer from Nazareth, agrees with another resident. When asked about relationships with others in the Home, she shares, “If I sense that someone doesn’t want to talk to me because I’m an Arab, I just find an opportunity to talk to them and ask them if I can pray for them. Then we become friends.” Her face shines as she explains how much she loves being in the Home,” After five and a half years, I can say these are some of the best of my life, living freely, no fears, no pressure. Everyone believes in our Lord Jesus.”
Juan, originally from South America, came to Israel over 50 years ago and suffers from neuropathy in his hands and feet. Over the past three years, he has flourished, returning to activities he’d thought he’d never do again, from drawing to playing a keyboard. He once shared with Heather, the home’s activity director, that he never in his life had experienced such freedom in Yeshua as He had experienced at Ebenezer.
Juan was a professional pipe-organist, playing for a church in Jaffa/Tel-Aviv for 37 years. He is also a professional artist. With the help of the staff in Ebenezer, a special pencil and easel was provided for his artwork, and then a keyboard was provided on a stand, so that he can do it all while standing. He has relearned both, and thoroughly enjoys giving concerts for the residents and visitors of Ebenezer, as well as using his artwork to help raise the needed funds for the Home.
When asked how he can smile through the pain that he suffers from, he smiled and explained that,”When I wake in the morning, I open my eyes and I choose to sing! Even when I don’t feel like it, I choose to sing songs of praises to Yeshua! This changes my attitude to one of joy, and slowly the pain eases. After I spend some time singing, I read the Word, and let the Word minister to my heart. Then I am ready to begin my day.” You can view Juan’s art here.
One resident has benefitted spiritually and physically from Heather’s attention. Heather is Ebenezer’s activity director. At 97, she suffers from severe dementia and its accompanying restlessness. Medically, the restlessness is often treated with strong medications. Other than that, only one thing calms her–embroidery–so much, that Heather prepares special embroidery kits and gives them to the nurses. That way, as one project is completed, she can start a new one, which helps keep her medications to a minimum.
Despite her dementia, she is quite alert spiritually. Heather overheard a conversation one day between a volunteer and her. “Sometimes I just don’t understand the Lord,” the volunteer said, to which she, as she embroidered, replied, “I always understand the Lord, He loves me and He takes care of me.”
From the moment she wakes up, to the time she goes to bed, you will find her hands busily creating beautiful embroidery designs! When you meet her in the hallways or in the elevator, you will usually see her face aglow, as she affectionately pats you on the face and tells you how much she loves you and how beautiful you are.
Esther has been in the Ebenezer Home in Haifa since 2010. She didn’t want to move in at first; however, the needs of her husband Hans made it clear–she really had no other choice. During a brief holiday rest at Ebenezer, Hans suffered a serious heart attack and returning home to their fourth-floor home (83 steps) was not an option.
Fortunately, Hans was familiar with the home–he had known the people who built the home and many of the residents. He knew it was a safe place for him and his wife… and fortunately, there was room for them. Soon they both realized after being in the home for a couple of months that they did not want to leave and asked to remain on as residents of the Home.
Esther first came to a saving knowledge and faith in Yeshua as her personal Savior, at the age of 12. Coming from Switzerland, she attended a Bible School in Beatenberg from 1963-1965 where she fully surrendered her future to the Lord, asking Him to reveal where she was to serve Him.
She felt called to serve in Israel, and she was sent to Israel to serve in Beth Shalom, where she met her husband Hans. Together they had four beautiful children and served the Lord together in Beth Shalom, Beth Yedidia, Beit Eliyahu (a congregation), the Israel Bible Society, and much more.
Esther continues to use her talents for the glory of God, to bless those around her and her growing family. Her hands are never idle and she joyfully proclaims, “We can still be used by the Lord even in old age, just as the Lord desires it, and that gives new joy every day!”
“Antoinette was originally from Switzerland. After serving the Lord in Togo for 20 years, she and a friend came to Israel to pray and serve for another 28 years–miraculously receiving citizenship because of their volunteer work among the disabled. When her friend died, Antoinette found it difficult to manage everything by herself. She entered a facility in Jerusalem, but the atmosphere there was oppressive and workers didn’t hesitate to express their hatred of Yeshua. Antoinette learned about the Ebenezer Home from a friend.
“Moving to Haifa was difficult,” she shares, “but a friend helped me, and when the door opened, I understood that Jesus lives here, and He wanted me here.” Since moving to Ebenezer, Antoinette continues to write poems, play her recorder with the other residents and volunteers, and loves to pray and encourage those around her.
She believes one of her tasks as a believer who is limited in what she is able to do, is to now pray and encourage those around her. Before saying goodnight to the nurses and nurses’ aides, she will first have you sit beside her, patting the bed next to her and smiling and saying, “Let’s pray.” Never a night passes that she doesn’t pray with you, first! Only then, will she say “Laila tov! (Goodnight in Hebrew)!” View one of Antoinette’s poems here.
Quote from Resident
“I was able to move to Ebenezer in May 2012. I was so happy and felt myself younger and healthier. This is my home and I love it. Where else can you receive such love from the workers and attention, songs, and gifts from the visitors? From here, I will move only to my heavenly home.” – Resident
Bep was born and raised in Holland by amazing parents who loved to play in the theater as a hobby, to sing, compose, write poems, and play the piano. Being raised in Holland during WW2, her parents, both recognized as one of “The Righteous Among the Nations”, used their gifts and talents to help rescue the Jewish people. Her father commanded part of the Underground Nazi regime resistance group, which was a connected network with others like the Ten Boom family.
Besides being a well-known artist, she was a kindergarten teacher, studied and worked as a nurse in the labor and delivery ward, as well as caring for pre-term newborns in the NICU. Her love for people, especially children, continued throughout her life! She worked in Holland, the US, and Israel.
She would be known and remembered by many as an amazing gifted story-teller! Children (as well as adults!) would find themselves captivated by her ability to make a story come to life, begging her to tell them just one more story!! She spoke several languages, and played the piano, sitar, flute, and guitar. Bep was among the first settlers in Arad–Israel in 1962. She loved people, and her love for caring for people also found herself managing a senior citizen’s home in Holland, before moving to Israel again in 1976 and staying there until she passed away in 2018 at the age of 85.
In Israel, she worked at the Bet Shalom Hotel, before becoming a resident of the Ebenezer Senior Citizen’s Home where her son David, works as the maintenance and project manager. But, most of all, Bep learned to love her Lord, and was so grateful and thankful for all that He had done for her. She accepted Yeshua (Jesus) into her heart at the age of 37 and would live the rest of her life for Him. Many that remember her will tell you that “she was a lady of prayer”.
One of Bep’s favorite scripture passages was: “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” Psalms 139:17-18
How can you help?
Ebenezer Senior Citizen’s Home covets your prayers above all else. Awareness is critical to the success of their growth. So please share this post on your social media pages and with your email communities. I welcome your comments and questions as well.
From there, any financial support you would like to contribute would make such a difference in the lives of these special people, residents and staff as well. Contributions can be made safely right on the Ebenezer Home Donation Page. Ebenezer receives 100% of all tax-deductible donations.
Right from the start, the Home has relied on the short and long-term donations that they receive from organizations and individuals worldwide. Whether a small or large sum, each donation is another “stone of help” with which they, in honor of Him, are allowed to build, and further run, the Ebenezer Home, Haifa.
The Ebenezer Senior Citizen’s Home is making an incredible impact in Israel for the Glory of God. The victorious life testimonials of their residents and the way they are serving God with joy, have touched my heart. I hope yours was touched as well. I am so very thankful that Ebenezer reached out to me. It’s truly a blessing to be a part of getting the word out through One Exceptional Life.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this very special project with you. And a very special thank you to Samantha from Ebenezer, for considering me worthy to help them in this project.
Samantha, initially contacted me about this project and she put together most of the information regarding the Ebenezer Home. However, putting the resident’s testimonies together was the combination of a lot of people working together on their behalf. Their goal in doing that is that collectively they strive to work together and give God the glory for what He is allowing them to do.
As Samantha mentioned in an email to me, “It’s such a gift to have the blessing of helping them run this race for our King and to finish it strong in Him!” To that, I humbly say Amen!