The Friends of Israel in Action Sep/Oct 2021
A Special Survivor
Polish nationalism and the place of Jewish people in Polish society have taken some troubling turns recently. Earlier this year, two Holocaust historians were ordered by the court to apologize publicly for their research into Polish-Nazi sympathizers during World War II.
Scholars researching the facts about Jewish persecution are being punished, and many Jewish authorities are concerned about increased persecution of Holocaust scholars and survivors. The government seems to be trying to downplay or erase the truth about the atrocities Jewish people suffered in Poland during the Holocaust.
Part of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry’s work in Poland is to care for Holocaust survivors. Many still live in Poland and Eastern Europe, and our team there often brings them food and medicine. Sometimes ministering to them is as simple as praying with them. These people have suffered so much, and they eagerly look forward to regular visits from our workers, who try hard to show them the love of Christ.
One Holocaust survivor to whom we minister is very special to us. Her name is Halina. Though not Jewish, Halina has had a deep, God-given love for the Jewish people since childhood. When the Nazis established the Warsaw Ghetto in 1939, Halina smuggled food inside, took care of orphans, and tried to get medical care to people. She joined the Polish Resistance in her 20s and planted bombs, sabotaged Nazi equipment, and fought on the front lines. Eventually, she was captured and sent to a concentration camp.
After the war, the Communists took over; and Halina fled to Argentina. Years later, she returned to Poland to launch a work for The Friends of Israel that will long outlive her. She not only taught God’s Word diligently, but she smuggled it to people under the noses of the Communists and started a summer camp for Jewish children that has blossomed into one of our largest annual outreaches.
Recently, Halina celebrated her 102nd birthday with members of our team in Poland. Understandably, time has taken its toll on her; and our workers faithfully care for her basic needs, counting it a privilege to do so. We’ll never forget her courage, sacrifice, and suffering and how the Lord used her to show Jewish people that God truly loves them, despite the carnage of the Holocaust. Today our workers in Poland are following in Halina’s footsteps, showing Polish Jews the deep, deep love of Jesus.
If you’d like to read Halina’s story, Halina: Faith in the Fire by Elwood McQuaid, visit our online store at store.foi.org or call us at 800-257-7843.
You can help support our Polish team and other FOI ministries like this around the world. Thank you for your prayers and financial support!
In Canada, please give here.
A Visit to the VFW
For many people, today’s world is a jumbled mess. Nothing is right. Everything is upside down and inside out.
The author of Psalm 46 must have had similar feelings because he spoke of the mountains tumbling into the depths of the sea (v. 2), the waves crashing down (v. 3), the mountains shaking (v. 3), nations raging (v. 6), and kingdoms being overthrown (v. 6).
But the writer of Psalm 46 also declared, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (v. 1). Life can seem downright depressing and hopeless if we don’t know how to trust in the shelter of His wings.
Mitch Triestman encountered this hopelessness during one of his many visits to a VFW post in Pennsylvania. Mitch has served with The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry for 31 years and has been in Jewish ministry for more than 50 years. He was born into a practicing, conservative Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York, and came to faith in Jesus after his deployment to Vietnam ended.
Mitch entered the VFW that day with joy, and one veteran sensed his cheerful demeanor the moment he walked in the door. Mitch is always upbeat, good for a laugh, and believes every interaction is a God-ordained occasion to share the Good News of Jesus the Messiah. The veteran marched right up to Mitch and confronted him about his obvious positivity.
“I’m blessed!” Mitch said.
Visibly agitated that Mitch could be “blessed” with all that’s going wrong in the world, the veteran listed one reason after another to justify his resentfulness: the rapid decline of the United States; the endless, unconstitutional lockdowns due to COVID-19; and the mask mandates, to name a few. Everyone in the room, including Mitch, had fought for America’s freedoms; and now he believed these freedoms were being impinged upon.
Soon a crowd began to gather to watch the kerfuffle. Mitch suddenly found himself front and center and had everyone’s undivided attention. The “blessed” man opened by sharing his grief about the state of America, but he didn’t linger on unfruitful topics. Instead, the Lord used him to expound on what the Scriptures teach about the last days.
Intrigued, the veterans couldn’t stop asking him questions about the end times. Mitch used the divine opportunity to share his testimony and teach about the Lord Jesus Christ. His message was clear and concise, leaving several men nodding in approval. Some even mumbled, “This makes sense.”
Then Mitch was abruptly cut off by the veteran who started the conversation. “This was the best church service I’ve ever attended, but I didn’t come to the VFW to hear sermons,” he announced. The crowd dispersed, but the Good News of eternal life was preached!
Mitch is indeed blessed, as are all who truly know the Lord. They can have joy “though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (v. 2). Even with the nations in disarray, they can trust the God who is sovereign over the chaos, the One who tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God” (v. 10).
You can help support the ministry of Mitch Triestman and others serving in North American outreach with The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. Thank you for your prayers and financial support!
In Canada, please give here.