My Visit with Avi FrankelJune 24, 2014
Today I had the privilege of going to the Frenkel house, where a couple of Fellowship staff members and I met with Avi Frenkel, father of Naftali, one of the three kidnapped Israeli teens. We were there to encourage this hurting family and to deliver prayers and blessings from hundreds of Fellowship friends.
The Frenkel’s neighbourhood is filled with homemade signs and banners expressing prayers for the quick return of the boys and support for the family. Outside the house they have set up a tent where people are studying Torah all day. There are also news cameras set up, and low-key security. Mrs. Frenkel was not home, but Mr. Frenkel (Avi) was very happy to see us, and warmly welcomed us into his house.
As we sat together, I told Avi a little bit about The Fellowship, my father, and the vision my father had of creating strategic partners in the Christian community to help strengthen Israel and the Jewish people year round, and especially during crisis situations like this. He was very happy and grateful that we came to visit him.
I also told Avi about how in Canada when the news broke about the boys being kidnapped, The Fellowship immediately began doing everything we could to alert our thousands of followers about the situation. I told him how we will keep Naftali, Eyal, and Gilad in our prayers until the boys are home safe; that we will not forget, and will not let our supporters forget.
I gave Avi the book of blessings and well wishes from Fellowship friends. He looked through it, read the intro, and said that he will show his wife the book as soon as she gets home. He was very touched and moved by this gesture, and told me his greatest wish is for everyone to continue to be unified in bringing the boys home – through prayer, vocal support, and good deeds.
As I sat in the chair that Naftali has sat in many times, saw his bike resting against the tree outside, and heard the silence in his mother's kitchen where she’s cooked him food for the past 16 years, tears rolled down my face. The faith of the Frenkels and the two other families is inspiring, and they are strengthening the entire world with their calls for prayers and good deeds with the merit of bringing back their boys.
It’s so hard to know what to say to someone in this sort of situation. As a parent myself, my heart breaks thinking about what Avi, his wife, and the other parents must be going through right now. But in that loss of words, I was proud to be able to tell Avi that our Christian and Jewish friends in Canada and around the world are praying fervently for the return of his son and the other two kidnapped boys. May God hear our prayers and bring them home soon.
With blessings from the Holy Land,