Penina

One of God's heroes in His kingdom is a dear woman by the name of Penina. She is a native-born Israeli of Yemenite descent. Penina runs her own small business a bakery and coffee shop, by the name of “Penina Pies.” In this difficult economy she is often putting in 15-hour days of manual labor to keep the shop open. She is a woman of strong personal faith, but not one who goes around “publicizing” herself.

Recently some ultra-orthodox in her town decided to attack her for her faith. They put up posters all over the town, accusing her of being a “missionary” (God forbid!?) - the equivalent in modern Hebrew of being a spiritual Nazi and stealing the souls of unsuspecting Jewish children. An “anti-missionary” organization stated that they had heard reports that Penina had “talked” to some people about her faith and had invited them for personal “conversations.”

The story raised interest in the town to the point that the local newspaper came to investigate. In the article that they printed, Penina was quoted as “confirming her faith as a Messianic Jew,” by saying, “ I am a Jewess who believes in God and that the Tenach (Hebrew Bible) is the word of God and that the New Covenant is a fulfilment of the promises written in the Tenach.”

The posters attacking her were designed to cause damage to her pastry shop. Penina further responded in the newspaper article that, “They have accused me of hiding behind my pastry shop. That is totally untrue as all those who have known me for the past ten years already know about my faith. I do not hide anything. With me every thing is open to anyone who asks.”

She went on to say, “The only ones who are hiding are those in the 'anti-missionary' organization, who are bothered by the fact that I am simply making a living in an honorable way.” The advertisements of these ultra-Orthodox warned everyone to “stay away from her, keep far away, don't go in to see her.”

Betty and I drove down to visit Penina right after this happened. She is a bright eyed, dark haired woman, with a warm broad smile. She exudes a certain relaxed and quiet confidence. She is also the mother of four children, one of whom is an officer in the Israeli army, serving in a very dangerous front line position.

“Has this campaign against you hurt your business?” we asked her. She answered, “Some of my clients have left because of it, but actually there have been others who have stopped by out of curiosity.”

“Has the spirit of intimidation that has been directed against you caused you fear or distress?” “No, not at all. It's certainly not comfortable, but I know the Lord is with me. I am not afraid. In some ways, I am even relieved. I am happy that now everything is out in the open, and that everyone knows who I am and what I believe in.”

Would you please keep this dear woman, her family, her business and her testimony in your prayers?


By Asher Intrater