Katherine Snyder talks about the work of Anchor Of Hope and the role God plays in counselling.

Katherine Snyder
Katherine Snyder

Paul: What is Anchor Of Hope?

Katherine: Anchor Of Hope is a Messianic counselling centre in Jerusalem and is under the covering of King Of Kings Ministry.

Paul: When and where did you start and why did you start?

Katherine: We officially opened in 2014. We were also training counsellors and we had a class in 2013 to train counsellors that would ultimately become the staff for the Anchor Of Hope Counselling Centre. We started because there is a great need in the country for people who are suffering, and by suffering I mean whatever life throws at you. Whether it is bereavement and loss, relationship issues, family issues, difficult diagnosis. There was nothing here for believers, very little, I shouldn't say nothing, but very little serving the Messianic community.

Paul: How did the vision for the centre start?

Katherine: The vision actually started in the 80's when a friend of mine, she had marital problems and there was absolutely no-one to go to talk to who was a believer. Israel has many psychologists, but they wanted to see a believer. Then in the 90's some of us prayed. We saw more and more in the need for a counselling centre and we didn't want people leaving the country. So the vision was kind of birthed, to see also a safety net of counsellors in all the congregations and that is why we are counselling, but we are also training.

Paul: How did this office start, what is the history of the office? It's a beautiful office.

Katherine: The history of the office is one big miracle. It was once a pornography shop and it was directly across from the sanctuary of King Of Kings. After the team fasted and prayed the owner finally agreed to sell the pornography shop. At that time I was in the States and had finished training and getting a higher degree. I called the pastor Wayne Hilsden at the time and I spoke with him and said "I think it's time for the counselling centre" and he said, "well we have just bought a former pornography shop and we think it should be a counselling centre." So after that we were off and running.

Paul: It must have been really amazing just to reclaim the building, something that was actually destroying people's lives is now rebuilding people's lives.

Katherine: Yes it's a totally redemptive cycle, because what was a place that was feeding corruption and degradation is now healing people. We have two recovery groups, one for men and one for women, and the men's group is both in English and Hebrew. They are both 12 step groups that are for men struggling with pornography, so the place that was selling pornography now we are helping to heal people from pornography, so that is just a wonderful thing. I will say that a very nice thing that the Lord allowed for me to do, was to be able to take down a sign that the porn shop had, telling where they were now relocated, and I put up a new sign and at the time it said "Under New Management."

Paul: Is it just believers that come or is it non-believers as well?

Katherine: At this point it is just believers. Maybe in the future when the staff grows and we are even more established, non-believers will come, but for right now it's a biblical counselling centre. We don't only see locals though, we see people who come here and they are maybe a year here or two years. We have seen people from 14 different countries and we minister in English, Hebrew and Russian. Since we have opened we have maybe over 680 sessions with people in counselling.

Paul: Do you train locals as well?

Katherine: Yes, I have a counselling class going on now, it's a year's course and many of the people are locals. Not everybody, it's open to other people who are here more long term, but that is part of the vision. We're in our fourth year of training and we have had people coming from as far away as Akko, which is near the Lebanese border and also people from Beersheba, which is an hour away from Jerusalem or more, and then from Tel Aviv. So we are seeing people come to get training from all over the country.