by: Rebecca J. Brimmer, International President and CEO
Bridges for Peace continues to fulfill the mandate God has given us to support Israel and build relationships between Christians and Jews in Israel and around the world. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued to deliver food to over 22,000 each month all over the Land of Israel. This year we are increasing the numbers we assist! For many years we have supported 18 towns on our Adopt an Israeli Town program. That is increasing to 22 towns. We continue to help Holocaust survivors, new immigrants (both before they arrive and after), children from families in economic distress, widows and orphans, and victims of terror. We recently provided bomb shelter protection for a school in Kiryat Ekron.
We continue to stand strong with Israel against anti-Semitism as it again rears its ugly head. Our prayer network is earnestly lifting Israel to the Lord in prayer during these stressful times. Our education emphasis remains strong through the written word, social media, books, seminars and teaching videos.
When I became international president and CEO in 2005, I made it a priority to empower others in the nations and on our team in Israel. I realized that a strong team was the key to future growth. Since then, the world experienced a financial collapse in 2008 and a worldwide pandemic in 2020–21. Yet, our network has remained strong, and we have experienced growth from US $6.3 million in 2005 to US $11 million in 2020. We have extended our reach in Israel, adding programs like the Feed a Child program, Holocaust Survivors fund and the Widows and Orphans fund.
We initiated the Zealous8:2 program for young adults, and the intensive Zealous Israel Project. Through discipleship and service-based volunteerism, coupled with adventure, we have seen young adults’ hearts ignited with love for God and understanding of His commitment and love for Israel. We began mentoring young adults for leadership. Today there is a healthy age span in our directors in Israel and around the world with the youngest director being 34. We have young adults in deputy director and management positions.
My husband and I have now realized that a season of change is coming for us. I am talking with the international board about a transition toward full retirement in 2025 at age 70. During the first phase in 2022, we will divide our time between Israel, the USA and the nations. We have purchased a home in Springfield, Missouri, where we will live part-time in 2022. In essence nearly half the year will be spent in Israel with the other half traveling while we establish our new home base. In June of 2023 I will step back from my role as CEO but will continue as international president until the end of 2025. I am excited for the future of Bridges for Peace. Just as God equipped, inspired and anointed me for the role, I am confident that my successor will also be led by the Lord in every way.
Peter is currently the national director with Bridges for Peace Canada, one of our largest offices. In a year of pandemic, Peter initiated robust methods of keeping communication lines open, utilizing Zoom, telephone calls, video and teaching over the Internet. As a result of his activities, the Canadian operation became stronger than ever, surpassing their budget.
Peter first came to Bridges for Peace as a young adult volunteer and intern for eight months. He worked on our Home Repair team and was mentored by BFP leaders. I remember well his enthusiasm and love for Israel. Two years later he married Deanna and they chose to honeymoon in Israel. During the next four years, they worked in Canada, but, in Peter’s words, “During this time my heart was firmly set on Israel and being faithful to that call of the Lord.”
After much prayer and conversation with the international leadership of Bridges for Peace, Peter and Deanna moved to Israel in September 2010. Peter became the Zealous8:2 coordinator, the head of the Group and Guest Relations department and oversaw the Land of the Bible Experience while Deanna worked in the Staff Development department (she became the manager in 2012).
Peter and Deanna built deep relationships with the leadership team in Israel, national directors and team members in the nations. Peter led six Zealous8:2 tours, published articles in the Dispatch from Jerusalem and a Teaching Letter, preached numerous times at the Bridges for Peace joint devotions, and spoke to thousands of Christian tourists visiting Israel. Peter also built relationships in the Jewish and Arab communities. In 2011 Peter and Deanna attended and completed the Bridges for Peace Institute of Israel Studies. In 2013 they moved to Canada and became part of BFP Canada. Peter was mentored by the Canadian director and in 2019 became our youngest national director.
When the international board was praying about asking Peter to accept the role of CEO, Dr. Dennis Frey, president of Masters International University of Divinity (MIUD), told us, “Peter is a real scholar.” Peter holds two BA degrees from Prairie College in Biblical Studies and in Intercultural Studies. He completed his MA in Judeo–Christian Studies from MIUD and is currently enrolled in a doctoral program of Biblical Studies in Biblical History from MIUD.
In 2019 Peter and Deanna were awarded the Distinguished Alumni award from Prairie College, recognizing their dedication and work in creating understanding between Israel and the Church.
Peter was ordained in 2010 by the Fellowship of Evangelical Bible Churches and is highly respected in both the Christian and Jewish communities in Canada.
Peter and Deanna are proud parents of three children: Judah (2014), Naomi (2017) and Meira (2021).
The international board has recognized the call of God on Peter’s life. He is the man that God is preparing for the next phase of Bridges for Peace. Please join us in rejoicing as we enthusiastically look forward to a strong future with Peter Fast in leadership.
Blessings from Israel
International President and CEO
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