Teens Taste "Last Days"
by Eitan Shiskoff, Executive Director, Tents of Mercy Network
By Eitan Shishkoff
"The Last Days" was the topic we
chose for our national teen summer camp. What we had no way of knowing was
that the rocket attacks from Hamas and Israel's defensive war against
them would begin on the first day of the camp. Our goal was to equip the
young people for an eventual end-times scenario. Yeshua said clearly
"You will hear of wars and rumors of war" (Matthew 24:6). How
ironic (might one say 'Spirit-led'?) that months before the camp
opened, we felt in prayer to focus on the question: "... since all these
things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy
conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of
Camp counselors' drama
One evening, midway through the week-long camp, nearly 80 young Israelis
from 30 Messianic congregations worshiped and heard a gripping message from
a sabra (native Israeli) believer. He challenged the kids boldly. "You
need to decide where you're at in life and with Yeshua, because you
have no guarantee that God will grant you another day on this earth."
Moments later the air raid siren began wailing. Immediately kids began
running for the bomb shelter. Girls screamed. Some cried. Then, before
everyone could clamber down the steps to the underground shelter we heard a
loud "boom!" and felt the ground shake from the rocket's impact. I
stood, still outside, at the ground level opening to the shelter,
shepherding our young people inside. The screams and crying increased.
Later, we learned that the explosion occurred only 1500 yards (1.5
The local bomb shelter
Below, we crowded into the concrete space, calming the kids and wondering
if the first rocket would be followed by more. In those minutes - besides
fear, disbelief, and perplexity - some youth began praying, others sang to
the Lord. Some comforted and reassured each other. It was a revealing
scene. We had felt it important to deal with the end-of-the-age in a
practical and personally relevant way. Instead of emphasizing dates and
timetables, our small group discussions dealt with questions of the heart.
Here, an unseen enemy (which turned out to be a renegade group of
Palestinians firing on Israel from the Lebanese border) accelerated the
entire "lesson" to a degree we could not have imagined.
A quiet time of worship
The next day we wrestled with whether to send everyone home, having no idea
if we would now be "under fire". Taking the decision to stay and finish
out the camp resulted in profound days of youth drawing near to God. For
the duration of the camp, young people came forward for prayer in large
numbers. Their vulnerability and sincerity was evident. They will never
forget the "Last Days" summer camp.