Christians Blessing Israel in Times of Crisis: A Legacy Continues

May 13, 2020
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During the Six Day War of 1967, the founder of Bridges for Peace, Dr. G. Douglas Young, and his wife, Georgina (affectionately known as Snook), closed the lecture halls of the Israel–American Institute of Holy Land Studies (today Jerusalem University College) to help their Jewish neighbors beat the enemy. Young used the school van as an ambulance and ferried wounded soldiers through the frontlines while Snook turned their home into a refuge for battle-weary fighters and terrified neighbors. Their efforts sparked a legacy of Christians blessing Israel that continues to this day.

For over 50 years, volunteers for Bridges for Peace—which Young founded after the war—have come from around the world to bless Israel. Our volunteers have remained during times of war, terror and intifada (uprising) to help vulnerable Israelis weather dark days. Now, Israel—like much of the world—is again engaged in a war, this time against an invisible enemy. Like so many times in the past, our volunteers are here, working to see the vulnerable safely through to the other side.

Here is a glimpse of the gratitude of those receiving the blessings we pour out as well as a glimpse into the hearts of our volunteers who pour out these blessings with love.

A Thank You from Those We Bless

“At a time in which we are forced to practice social distancing, you have found a way to embrace us and inspire us. May you be blessed.”
—Rabbi Kenneth Brander, president of Ohr Torah Stone

“It is in times such as these that a person’s true character shines forth, and as a Jew, I am proud to be able to say that the people at Bridges are not merely friends—they are more like family.”
—Rabbi Michael Freund, chairman of Shavei Israel

“We knew you would come. You have helped us before and we knew you would again. We recognize you. You are the people who help. You are the people who bless. HaShem will bless you.”
—Tzvi Khaute, director of Menashe Aliyah & Absorption Center, Shavei Israel

“Bridges for Peace and its wonderful volunteers have always stood alongside the city and its inhabitants, helping in time of emergency and routine.”
—Moshe Koninsky, mayor of Karmiel

“To our friends and loved ones in Bridges for Peace…There is not enough time or space to cover all the blessed, important activities you are doing for the country.”
—Nissim from Dimona

“Thanks for your support and assistance. You are like angels…We love you! We will never forget your support during the difficult days!”
—Malak, an educator from the Delek School

“With everything going on…it really put my mind at ease to know a package was still going to be delivered!”

—A family on our Adoption Program

The People Who Bless

“I believe in times of crisis we see the true character of who people really are. Bridges for Peace volunteers have been diligently out on the frontlines serving the needy in Israel. I have watched people give of themselves and their time and energy so that others will not have to go without.”
—Patrick Verbeten, Israel Operations director

“I grew up knowing about Bridges for Peace. One thing that stuck out was this: during war, our volunteers didn’t leave, continuing food deliveries at the risk of their own lives. I can’t help but think of these times in a similar light. This is not a war of bullets and missiles, but against COVID-19. During these times, when we could have gone home to our families, we stayed. We’re here to give people the support they need. It is an honor to be here, doing what I’d heard about all my life: standing with Israel in their time of need.”
—Eilir-Wyn Treharne, food bank floor supervisor

“I have the opportunity to be part of something much bigger than myself, part of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and to have the privilege of being one who stands with and blesses Israel, not only in prayer, but in practical deeds. I remember receiving a call from a Holocaust survivor after we delivered a birthday cheer basket with her food delivery. ‘You remembered my birthday!’…She was so excited about it that she called to thank me.”
—Daniel Kirchhevel, deputy director of International Projects

With a lot of the country shut down, people still need the support of Bridges for Peace, and now more than ever, they are excited that we remember their needs. Even though we can’t share a handshake or a hug, they are so grateful that we’re still here. It’s a wonderful reminder that God is in control. He is working in all situations, so we should continue working with Him.”
—Tim Schoenthaler, Zealous Israel Project member

“I have been feeling so blessed, even though my life is going through difficulties. The floor team is filled with joy because we’re standing with Israel, even if this situation is tough for us as well. I’ll never forget one of the men we supported telling me with happy tears that because of us, he doesn’t feel so alone anymore.”
— Asami Tsujimoto, Zealous Israel Project member

“God has really opened my eyes to see that the Jewish people know that Christians are here for them, ready to help. The Jewish people know that they can call on us, which is amazing when you think of what has transpired over thousands of years. That speaks to actions being louder than words.”
—Sarah Balasny, executive administrative assistant

“Many of our Holocaust survivors know what it means to live in loneliness and isolation. Age and frailty mean that they rarely leave their apartments, dependent on those who come to visit for company. Now, the isolation is more intense. Many told us that the loneliness is worse than their fear of the disease. What an honor to be able to bring a little bit of sunshine into the lonely lives of these precious people!”
—Henry Strauss, International Projects assistant

“I am so grateful to help during such a time of need. It is so fulfilling to see people opening the door and seeing all the bags we’ve delivered. They ask with a delighted smile: ‘Is this all for me?’ I’m here for exactly this.”
—Amanda Pennington, Feed a Child supervisor

“I am so encouraged to experience our volunteers and managers thinking mostly about how to help the Israelis going through this time in the best manner possible. You can tell that the main driving power of all our team is love and care.”
—Eli Shai Ken, procurement manager

Photo Credit: Michio Nagata/bridgesforpeace.com

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