Be Happy—Be Blessed

June 1, 2017

Photo: ESB Professional/shutterstock

We all want to enjoy a happy and blessed life! If you Google the phrase “be happy,” you will find 109 million responses. The world wants to be happy! The Bible has the recipe for being blessed and happy. One of the Hebrew words for this concept is esher (אשר). When it is found in the Bible, roughly half of the time it is translated happy (happiness) with the rest translated as “blessed.” According to the Bible we will be happy/blessed if we trust in the Lord (Ps. 34:8), have our iniquities forgiven (Ps. 32:1), fear the Lord (Ps. 112:1) and walk in His way (Ps. 128:1). Another Hebrew word for bless is barak (ברק). We find this word in Genesis 12:3 when God speaks to Abraham saying, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). In just these few verses it is apparent to me that happiness and blessing come when we act in accordance with God’s plans, His ways, and His Word and when we bless Israel and the Jewish people.

The Lord also promises to bless those who help the poor. “Blessed is he who considers the poor…” (Ps. 41:1). “If there is among you a poor man…you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother…You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand” (Deut. 15:7, 10).

When I read these Scriptures my heart swells as I realize the blessing that Bridges for Peace and all our friends around the world can expect. We are considering the needs of the poor each month as 22,000 receive life-giving food from our hands. We are significantly impacting the lives of immigrants, Holocaust survivors, old, young, those who suffer with illness, single parents, students in Israel without their parents, those without hope and those who just need a temporary boost to help them overcome the hardships of life. Every day our team of dedicated Christians reaches out to them with food, encouragement and love. Let me tell you about one immigrant family that we help.

Svetlana* was born in Ukraine in 1941. During the war, her family suffered many hardships. After the war life was better: she studied singing in the conservatory, got married, had two children and worked in a kindergarten. Then another tragedy struck when her husband passed away. Later she married Yuri*. But, life in Ukraine was very difficult. After such a hard life, as a retired couple they decided to move to Israel. In 2012, a huge change happened in Ukraine. Factories were closed. Life that was hard became harder. So, Svetlana encouraged her youngest son and his family to move to Israel. In July, 2013, they moved to Jerusalem. Their newfound hope didn’t last long. In December of 2014, as her son was leaving work to pick up his children from school, he fell on slippery stairs and hit his head. After being in a coma for three days he died. His children came to live with Svetlana and Yuri. Their granddaughter is now in the 3rd grade and their grandson in 4th grade. Yuri spends a lot of time helping them with their studies and they are both doing well in school as a result. At home they study Russian and at school they learn in Hebrew. As they overcome the sorrow of losing their father, they are also growing and developing in their new homeland. (*names changed to protect privacy)

Photo: pixabay.com

The family income level is very low. Svetlana and Yuri came to Israel as pensioners. They were not able to retain their pension from Ukraine. They had not paid into retirement funds in Israel and so their income from the State is the lowest level—barely enough for them to survive on. Yet, they have taken in their grandchildren—two more mouths to feed from meager resources. This is where Bridges for Peace came to the rescue. Every month they receive generous amounts of first-quality, healthy food that enables them to sustain their family. In every way we can, we assist them in their new life.

Svetlana finished telling us her story by saying, “Through all these difficulties, Bridges for Peace stands by us. On behalf of our whole family we are very grateful to you for giving us the opportunity to be in your program.”

Adoption Program

Photo: Ai Yamamoto/bridgesforpeace.com

It blesses our hearts to know that we are able to assist over 200 on the Adoption Program each month. Each has their own unique story. Each of them needs our assistance to succeed in their new life in Israel. Many more are asking for help and we need new sponsors to commit to give monthly for a year. Your gift, joined with other sponsors (according to the level of need in the family) allows us to provide food, help with transportation costs, holiday gifts, and encouragement. Please join us today to bless the people of Israel. We believe God’s Word is true—this is God’s pathway to happiness and blessing. If you can’t make a monthly commitment we encourage you to make an offering to our Immigrant Fund. This allows us to assist immigrants not on the Adoption Program. Thank you for your generous hearts of love for God and the people of Israel.

My prayer for you is to that you will find the great blessing of following God’s recipe for happiness.

Blessings from Israel,

Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO

Bridges for Peace is committed to blessing the people of Israel in a variety of ways.

Food Project

“If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness…” (Isa. 58:10)

The BFP food banks in Jerusalem and Karmiel together process over three tons of food every working day. The food is heading to the homes of Israel’s needy. Purchased in Israel, the food meets the kosher requirements and contributes to the GDP.

New immigrants benefit, as well as those who have been here for a longer time. Holocaust survivors, poor children—both in the Jewish and Arab sectors—orphanages, and Jewish community centers are all on our list of recipients. Let us turn your contribution into much-needed food.

Greatest Israel Need

This fund gives us the flexibility to meet needs not covered by our regular projects and to respond quickly to urgent needs.

Project Rescue

“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when men will no longer say, “As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,” but they will say, “As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where He had banished them.” For I will restore them to the land I gave their forefathers. But now I will send for many fishermen,’ declares the Lord, ‘and they will catch them’” (Jer. 16:14–16a, NIV)

Many of the neediest Jews in the countries of the former Soviet Union are unable to come to Israel because they simply cannot afford the cost of passports, exit visas, ground transportation, and lodging for their trip home. We send “fishermen” who search for hopeless Jews who long to go home to Israel. Without help, they cannot move to Israel.

With your assistance, we can literally rescue our Jewish brothers and help them fulfill God’s Word. Thus far, we have helped rescue over 50,000 Jews.

    

Crisis Assistance Fund

Crisis Assistance Fund: Your gifts enable us to respond quickly to crisis situations. These may include critical needs, such as bomb shelters, ambulances or to extend help for emergency situations such as terror arson attacks, and more.

Karmiel Center

This center was established in 2008 and is our first facility outside of Jerusalem. Food is distributed to northern Israel through our Karmiel food bank. The warehouse also contains over 500 tons of food stored for times of crisis. This means that in case of a war or natural disaster when food supplies become scarce and food prices skyrocket, we would have enough food to continue to feed our recipients for eight months, as well as respond to special requests. Great care is taken to ensure that no food reaches its expiration date before being distributed.

Feed a Child

Thousands of Israeli school children live below the poverty line and cannot afford to buy lunch, even at a subsidized cost. Your sponsorship for a one-year commitment will provide the following: a hot lunch every day at school, gifts on their birthday and holidays, help to purchase school books, a backpack filled with supplies, and funds for special needs during the summer.

    

Adoption Program

Through our Adoption Program, you have an opportunity to sponsor a Jewish family or individual in Israel for a year, helping them through a critical time in their lives. We provide much needed emotional support as well as a large food package (fruits, vegetables, chicken, milk products, canned goods, and paper products), bus tickets, and financial assistance for special needs.

Those who benefit from the program are new immigrants to Israel; native Israeli families suffering from terror attacks, major medical crises, or loss of a job; Holocaust survivors; and college students who are alone in Israel. We are friends helping friends get on their feet, so they can live productive lives.

Sponsors receive a picture and a profile about the person/s they sponsor, and close relationships are established through letters, which our staff translates for both parties. As you change a life, you too will be changed!

    

Project Tikvah (Hope)

This project reaches out to many Jewish people in the former Soviet Union who either will not or cannot immigrate to Israel. Many are elderly or in poor health. Most are destitute; many are Holocaust survivors.

Increasingly, we are finding Jewish people who are starving and don’t have heat in the winter. Some have died from exposure. We have established soup kitchens to feed them, so they receive one hot, nourishing meal each day. We also purchase heaters and meet other needs as possible.

Zealous8:2 Scholarship Fund

Are you zealous for Israel? Pass the fire to the next generation (ages 18–30)! Help them catch the vision by bringing them to Israel on tour! Each year Zealous8:2 sponsors two tours: one in January and one in June. It is a life-changing experience, and you can help make it happen.

Israel Team Member Support

Living in Israel can be very expensive. With additional funding, our team members are enabled to continue their work in Israel. We also draw from this fund to subsidize special activities from time to time for our volunteer staff. This is your opportunity to bless those who have sacrificed much to live and work far from home.

You can also support a specific team member through this fund. When you do so, your donation is passed on to that person to meet their particular needs.

Cheer Basket

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…” (Isa. 61:1)

Our cheer basket is filled with delicious cookies, candies, dried fruit, nuts, flavored teas, and several other items that are specifically selected to bring hope and encouragement to Israel’s shut-ins, elderly, and anyone else who is discouraged and needs a tangible expression of God’s love.

A cheer basket is also given to immigrants on the Adoption Program for birthdays, including special ones for the children. This is often the only birthday present many receive.

New Immigrant Fund

This fund enables us to meet needs of new immigrants as they come to the land of Israel in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Those needs vary greatly as each person has unique challenges.

Immigrant Welcome Gifts

Bless a new immigrant family and let them know that they are welcomed in Israel by Christians who believe God’s promise to bring His people back to His Land.

We give a generous gift package: a copy of the Tanach (Gen.–Mal.) in Hebrew alongside Russian or Spanish, blankets, school kits for the children, and a set of new pots and pans, utensils, and a cutting board.

This one-time gift is a great help to immigrants who most often come from their home countries with very little.

School Starter Kit

“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name, welcomes Me.”(Matthew 18:5)

This kit contains many needed school items, including pens, pencils, sharpener, glue, scissors, markers, a carrying case, and more. We not only distribute these to new immigrant children but make them a part of the school supplies we give to our Feed a Child students.

Arab Family Assistance

There are many needs in the Christian Arab community. This community is becoming smaller as many choose to reside in the West rather than being a small minority in the predominantly Muslim Arab communities. Increasingly, they face persecution from their Muslim neighbors. Your gift helps us to minister the love of the Lord as we give them food.

Victims of War

“He has sent me…to comfort all who mourn…” (Isa. 61:1–2)

We minister to anyone touched by war or terrorism, delivering special cheer baskets to the wounded in hospitals after a suicide bombing and to the bereaved. Special needs, such as wheelchairs, food vouchers, and financial assistance for medical bills are provided for those in long-term rehabilitation.

Home Repair

“Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.” (Isa. 58:12)

God has blessed us with skilled construction workers. Teams are busy renovating homes of the poor and elderly; some of them are Holocaust survivors. Many of these homes are one-room hovels in buildings over 100 years old. We fix leaky plumbing, replace broken windows, paint, plaster, rewire, repair or install cabinets, put on new roofs, and do general fix-up work.

Some of our workers have told us that this is the best job they have ever had in their lives. They get many hugs, plus a lot of tea, coffee, and cake from very appreciative Jerusalemites. Your gifts supply the raw materials to get the job done.

Adopt an Israeli Town

Bridges for Peace sponsors 18 Israeli towns—from the Galilee to the Negev—that are experiencing severe economic hardship. Working through the mayor’s office and the social welfare network, we give food to needy families, many of them new immigrants. Sponsors give a monthly donation (for a one-year commitment) and receive a frameable, full-color biographical sketch of the community they “adopt.” We arrange visits to the communities for sponsoring church groups visiting Israel.

    

Dental/Medical Aid

Israeli health insurance does not cover dental, 100% of the cost of prescription medications, or medical apparatuses such as wheelchairs. Often the needy, many of them immigrants, must choose between vital health needs and food. We can bring a smile to the faces of those who suffer.

Vehicle Fund

We have several vans to help us do our work: for home repair, for pick-up and delivery of food both in Jerusalem and Karmiel, and for postal pick up and other administrative needs. When they wear out, we draw from this fund to purchase or lease new ones, which is very expensive in Israel.

Greatest Ministry Need

Your contribution to this fund will be used to support the educational and operational costs of running Bridges for Peace.

National Office Support

Bridges for Peace has national offices in eight countries that are staffed by sincere and dedicated individuals working selflessly on behalf of Israel. By reaching out to the Church with information and educational opportunities, building relationships with local Jewish communities, advocating for the nation of Israel, and raising the funds necessary for us to continue our projects in the Land, our national offices are the hands and feet of Bridges for Peace the world over.

Often working on a shoestring, their efforts are foundational to our ongoing work of building bridges to the Jewish people through practical expressions of Christian love. Your gift to the national office of your choice helps to insure that their work of blessing Israel and the Church, at home and in the Land, can continue.

Save An Israeli Life

Our newest project partners with Magen David Adom National Blood Services to save Israelis in need, whether during surgery or hurt in a car accident, terrorist attack, or war. Your gift helps keep the hearts of this beloved nation beating. Save a life today!

Land of the Bible Experience

This developing educational center is located in Jerusalem at our International Headquarters. Our desire is to promote a Hebraic understanding of biblical culture to visiting tour groups. Our teaching room is designed to look like the inside of a first-century home, and guests are dressed up in first-century costumes. Biblical themes are taught through drama and interactivity, such as building a sukka (booth) in our garden during Feast of Tabernacles.

To learn more, read our Dispatch article, “Reconnecting Christians To Their Hebraic Roots”.

To book a reservation for you or your tour group:

landofthebible@bridgesforpeace.com or call our Jerusalem Headquarters at 972-2-624-5004 (FAX: 972-2-634-6622)

Education Program

Our educational programs enable us to fulfill our God-given mandate.  Helping the Church understand Christianity’s Hebraic roots, modern Israel’s prophetic significance, historic and current events is critical to building a worldwide network of Christians who love and support Israel. Donations will facilitate the creation and implementation of programs globally.

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