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  • Eeva and Mika Pouke

Machaseh’s Ten-Year Anniversary

As the Finnish winter was slowly turning into spring, we received an invitation to visit Israel. Nine years ago, we had to leave Israel and had not gotten a chance to ever visit since leaving. We were invited by our dear friend Lena. We were asked to join the anniversary celebration of an association called Machaseh; a center committed to help people in crisis. We couldn’t help but wonder, was this our chance to visit Israel again?

It all began when Lena, Mika and Alla signed the foundation document for Machaseh. This was during the time of the Shalhevetyah congregation, where Lena was active in its diacon work. We did not know then what would happen, but God knew. He would take care of everything.

What did we see when we came to Israel after 9 years? Many things had changed. The congregation that birthed Machaseh was gone. The premises are not the same any more, but even though there had been many challenges, Machaseh had grown. It has found new supportive members, new friends and volunteers. Many congregation members have found a serving place from Machaseh. It was a great joy to see all those friends working actively in Machaseh, being God’s hands and feet, showing God’s love to those who have lost so much.

It was wonderful to see Lena receiving us at the airport. It was a moment so full of excitement meeting our dear sister in Israel! That was only the beginning. Emotions were high as we saw members of our Israeli family, one after another, whom we had missed so much. It was wonderful to get to make new friends and hear their stories and connections to Machaseh, and their love for Israel during the celebration. The amount of hospitality was overwhelming. Lena had found us wonderful accommodation, where a nice messianic lady hosted us with warmth.

The trip to Yad Ha Shmona was full of reminiscing the

wonderful memories from when we had been there as a congregation. Those moments were healing the past and building the future. We are still a family, even after having lived so far away. That is a miracle that only God can do.

While we were visiting we got to witness the joyous atmosphere of Israel when they won the Eurovision song contest. The day after was the celebration of Jerusalem-day. People were on the street dancing and singing and waving flags. We had the opportunity to visit museums and experience the long history of the Jewish people. In the citadel of David, we prayed and blessed Israel and the city of Jerusalem. We asked for Jesus to protect the land and heal her wounds. On Sunday evening, we visited the place in which the US would open its new embassy in Jerusalem. We saw what a historical moment it was, and how rare it was to get to see it up close.On our last day we made an excursion to Galilee together with holocaust survivors. It was touching to see those people and

hear some of their stories. This trip was very nostalgic as we saw all of the familiar places and sceneries, tastes and smells.

We are so grateful to God and Machaseh for giving us the opportunity to visit Israel. It is amazing to be part of this work. God is using Machaseh in great ways to show His love. May God bless you!

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