In Paris, branch leader Joshua Turnil reports, “Three of the attacks were within 15-20 minutes of our office but we are all well. We ask not for protection, but for opportunities to minister and to be available to our people and to all people that need the peace that passes all understanding.
“Today when I wished someone on the street Shabbat shalom, she replied, ‘Shhh! Not so loud!’ (implying that we should not be so overt about our Jewishness in public.) Today, I admit, the traditional salutation seemed strangely inappropriate. Just a few minutes before, the local Kosher market had been attacked. Customers and employees alike taken hostage. The media reported a blood-stained tallis (prayer shawl) on the ground. It took me about 10 minutes to get to the market from our Juifs pour Jésus office. I knew the way, since it’s my custom to buy challah (bread traditionally served with Sabbath dinner). It was impossible to get closer than the police barricades, except for those directly involved in the hostage negotiations or from the armed forces.
“I said a prayer and went back to the office. All the Jewish shops and places of worship were closed out of security measures and riot police armed to the teeth were walking back and forth in our neighborhood. Yes, our office has been a target in the past. Many of our friends and supporters asked us to close down the office, they are worried about us. One observed, ‘Of all the Jewish shops and buildings, you guys are the only ones that have the word ‘JEWS’ printed in big letters over your window.’ Notwithstanding the situation, one of our core values is "stepping out in courageous faith and taking risks for God." I felt that if ever we needed to remain open, it was now.
“We put up a sign: "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." Two people walking by with their toddler read the sign out loud and the little girl asked, ‘Daddy, what does that mean?’ I wished them ‘Shabbat shalom.’ Maybe it’s not so inappropriate after all.”
In addition to prayers for the safety of the hostages, for the families of those who’ve been killed and for justice to be served, please pray, as Josh asks, for opportunities to minister God’s peace in Paris through Yeshua (Jesus), the Prince of Peace.