The dusty air of Israel bore witness to the harrowing encounter of Gelienor “Jimmy” Pacheco, a 33-year-old caregiver from Ilocos Norte, who found himself in a struggle for survival when Hamas terrorists attacked and abducted him and hundreds of others.

In an interview with Operation Blessing, Jimmy recounts his experiences and the strength that sustained him throughout the ordeal.

“I understand I may not come back alive; that’s my expectation. However, inside the tunnel, I wondered why they provided us with rice or food. So, maybe there’s still a chance I’ll survive,” he shared.

Jimmy vividly describes the shock and uncertainty when terrorists attacked his kibbutz, leading to the tragic death of his employer. As he faced the possibility of death, Jimmy’s thoughts turned to his family. In a heartfelt message to his wife, he instructed her to care for their children and use any money from his ordeal for their future.

Still emotional over all that has happened, Jimmy shared his unique connection with his Israeli employer, who treated him as more than a helper.

“I was a cherished part of their family. And unlike others who may have conflicts, we never quarrel. He readily fulfills any request I make,” Jimmy said.

Surviving a month in captivity, Jimmy shares the challenges he faced, from the scarcity of food to inventive ways to procure water. He details his daily struggle, emphasizing his commitment to survival for the sake of his children.

“When there was no water, I would get a toilet tissue because the cement of the tunnel was moist, and I would stick it until it was wet. I think it is about 40 meters deep. So until the tissue is wet, I’ll eat it too. At least my stomach will not be empty; plus, it still has water.”

After almost a month of doing the routine to survive, the turning point comes when Jimmy is unexpectedly informed of his release.

“That’s when I cried. I cried when I saw the sun and came out of the tunnel. I really knelt down and thanked the Lord because I saw the sun, I smelled the fresh air,” he said, his voice filled with excitement.

After his release, Jimmy speaks of the mental and emotional toll on him. He emphasizes drawing strength from the Lord and his children, vowing to secure their future despite the traumatic experience.

Operation Blessing’s Disaster Response Team, with the help of NAFILCO and the Embassy of the Philippines in Israel, showed psycho-social and spiritual support by ministering and praying for Jimmy. The team also had the opportunity to connect with other Filipinos affected by the Israel-Hamas war. They continue to collaborate with various partners to maximize planned efforts, bringing hope and relief to those in need.

Recent events in Israel, like Jimmy’s story, reveal the deep emotional wounds caused by violence. Every share and prayer brings us closer to providing comfort and healing. To contribute or learn more, contact us at 09399215543 or follow our journey on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @operationblessingph. #Israel #OBPhilDR #OperationBlessing