It may sound surprising, but counseling has not been readily available for believers in Israel until quite recently. The Jewish nation is known for being resilient and the people are commonly referred to as “tough”. But that label alone has kept many individuals from seeking help.

The fact is, Israel has been needing expert counselors for decades.

The Jewish people have struggled to survive for generations. Today, thousands of families live under threat of rocket fire. Such deep wounds on a national level are unparalleled to anything this world has ever seen.

At the same time, an average person in Israel may deal with the same problems as me and you. We all need guidance and encouragement. Whether we’re dealing with personal loss, relationship struggles, addiction or anxiety, pain does not discriminate.

But it takes courage to grow and to find healing in troubled times.

counseling room

First Counseling Center for Believers by Believers

When Anchor of Hope was founded in Jerusalem, it filled a great void in the messianic community of Israel. Professional counselors under the leadership of Dr. Katherine Snyder are paving the way for many to heal and grow.

Dr. Katherine Snyder is an experienced counselor by profession, and a woman of faith by conviction. A dual citizen of the USA and Israel, she learned from the best to bring light into dark places.

In the 1990s, Katherine was living in Israel and praying about pursuing a higher degree. She needed internet access, which in those days was limited.

One person that did have internet was Wayne Hilsden, co-founder of FIRM and at the time Senior Pastor of the King of Kings congregation. Thanks to his encouragement and a series of divine interventions, Katherine went on to obtain a Ph.D. in Marital and Family Therapy.

After a season of hard work and overcoming challenges, Anchor of Hope Counseling Center was established. Today, they help believers find hope and a renewed sense of God’s loving care.

Encouraging Counseling in Israel to Share Hope

King of Kings Ministries purchased a property formerly used as a sex shop. Located just across the hall from the main auditorium of the church, it drew attention, but also prayers. And this was a true victory for the intercessors.

What better way to redeem a spot like that than by turning it into a counseling center for the hurting.

Aside from much needed counseling, Anchor of Hope also trains lay counselors and hosts specialized seminars. The ministry also held a 12-step recovery group for men struggling with pornography. They cooperate with local congregations to meet their individual needs.

For a few years now, aside from the Jerusalem headquarters, Anchor of Hope has also been operating a branch in Tel Aviv. They offer counseling in Hebrew, English and Russian. It is a blessing and an accomplishment that their services are offered in the two biggest metropolitan areas of Israel.

But this year, their faith has taken them even further.

Anchor of Hope Taking New Ground

Dr. Katherine Snyder was aware that the need for counseling goes beyond the two main cities of Israel. Together with the leaders of King of Kings, they were praying for open doors in the northern part of the country. For example, near Haifa.

Haifa and its surroundings are one of Israel’s most diverse and integrated urban areas. Many places in Israel have Jewish neighborhoods or Arab neighborhoods. But in Haifa they intersect. With a large Russian-speaking population as well, there is nothing monotonous about this large port city.

Dr. Snyder and the leaders of King of Kings Ministries shared their dream to expand with supporters. Almost immediately the right person was stirred to do something about it. Through a series of miracles, Anchor of Hope was offered a place in Binyamina, just a few miles south of Haifa.

ruth and katherine

When God Makes Things Fall into Place

Once the location was confirmed, Anchor of Hope still had an important position to fill: of someone who would run the branch! They prayed for an experienced professional, and that’s not easy criteria to meet.

Again, through a series of miracles and God-given favor, Dr. Snyder met Ruth Azuz. She was skilled and experienced, and ready to take on the challenge.

Azuz made a great first impression, and it was quickly followed by successful interviews. The leadership of King of Kings had no doubt that Azuz is perfect for the job. Finally, the counseling center in northern Israel was ready to launch.

“Our heart is always for the local body,” Azuz shared. Her hope is that as people find healing, they also find God and His heart. “And His heart is for mending broken hearts,” she added.

FIRM was honored to attend the grand opening of the new Anchor of Hope Counseling Center in Binyamina on February 23. Together with other ministry leaders, FIRM representatives had the pleasure of celebrating this great success.

We pray that this bold step forward will be a blessing to the people of Israel, as they seek healing and hope.

Help Bring Good News & Transform Lives

Are you looking to make a difference in Israel, and help bring the Good News to the land? You’re invited to join in God’s plans for His people!

The Tribe is a passionate and faithful group of monthly donors on a mission to transform lives in Israel through the love of Jesus. Join the Tribe today: firmisrael.org/thetribe

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Estera Wieja
Estera Wieja is a journalist, book author and public speaker, focused on the topics of Israel, Jewish history, and Judeo-Christian culture. Born and raised in Poland, Estera is a regular contributor to "Our Inspirations" magazine in Poland. She holds a Bachelor degree in Communications and Media from Azusa Pacific University (California, USA), and a Master degree in Journalism from University of Warsaw, Poland. Estera has lived in Jerusalem, Israel for several years before joining the staff at FIRM in 2018.
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