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The Father’s Everlasting Love

July 26, 2005
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As Sherri Mandell—who lost her 13-year-old son Koby, when he was murdered by terrorists—shared her story at our institute, I was struck by the irreplaceable place each child has in a parent’s heart. No matter how many more children you have and how much you love each of them, nothing can take the place of the child you lost.

So is God’s heart for each of His children. When talking of the Jewish people, God said, “…‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness…See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return…Hear the word of the Lord, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: “He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over His flock like a shepherd”’” (Jeremiah 31:3, 31:8, 31:10).

These are the days when God is fulfilling His promises to bring the Jewish people home to Israel. He is searching for each one, as a shepherd searches for one missing sheep and lovingly restores him to the flock. At Bridges for Peace, we see the Father’s heart for His people repeatedly as we minister to new immigrants, first in the former Soviet Union through Project Rescue (which helps the Jewish people return to Israel) and then in Israel through our Adoption Program, which helps establish them in their new home.

To the Remote Parts of the Earth

Golda made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) with her four nephews and one niece from the mountaintop village of Harok, Pamir. Known as the “Roof of the World,” Pamir is a large mountain system on the border of Afghanistan and Tadzhikistan and boasts of peaks 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) high. Separated from Russia by the boundless Kazakhstan steppes, the Communists were never able significantly to influence the local people. Golda quips, “There was never a Communist in Pamir; the mountains were too high for them to climb.” The locals are a nomadic people living mostly in tents, with very little in the way of luxuries common to the Western style of life.

Golda’s father, a veterinarian in the Russian army, was stationed in Harok in the 1920s. Polish-born, with the name Avraham, he and his family were amazingly never suspected as Jewish by the surrounding Muslim culture. In 1930, Golda was born and then raised in this remote village as part of the only Jewish family ever to live there. They spoke Yiddish among themselves and practiced their religion in secret. They never had any access to anything Jewish. Due to their education, the family was greatly respected by the surrounding community.

Living in what she describes as a cabin made of clay, she had no running water, no electricity, no indoor plumbing, and no access to a synagogue or any type of Jewish community. A trained medical doctor, Golda practiced medicine using all natural methods. Even though she was educated in the use of modern medicine, she believes that God gave us everything we need.

After her sister and brother-in-law, doctors in Afghanistan, were killed in the Afghanistan-Russian war, Golda took in their children and was suddenly a mother and father to five children.

When Mikhail Gorbachev opened Russia to allow Jews to immigrate to Israel, Golda knew that she must go, but there was no Jewish Agency office in her remote area to process her papers and no roads or train in or out of Pamir. Through a series of miracles, Golda and the children were brought out of Pamir by military helicopters and eventually made their way to Israel.

How great is the Father’s love for the Jewish people! He is willing to go to great lengths to find each one and bring them home to Israel, even if they are only one family stuck on top of a remote mountain in an all-Muslim village. “‘Then they will know that I am the Lord their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind’” (Ezekiel 39:28).

Our Adoption Program—God’s Love in Action

Once a Jewish family has made aliyah, they enter into a period known as klitah, which is the process of acclimation or rooting in the Land of Israel. There are many difficult adjustments to make when you pull up your family and move to a new country, and during that time of adjustment, the Bridges for Peace Adoption Program is there to help with food, bus passes, financial assistance, and, most importantly, large doses of care and loving-kindness. Golda and her family are just one example of the over 2,600 families who have been assisted through this program.

In addition to new immigrants, we also offer assistance to sabras (native-born Israelis) who are suffering temporary setbacks due to economic crisis, terrorism, or health issues. We provide students with short-term assistance to help them become contributing members of society.

Tom Cooper, Ezra Immigrant Programs Director, who himself made aliyah to Israel several years ago, knows what he is talking about when he says, “Israel is a very tough place to survive, and the Adoption Program is a tremendous way to build relationships and to demonstrate Christian love in action. The Adoption Program really is the perfect example of building bridges between Christians and Jews.”

Our program, a year in duration, provides biweekly or weekly (depending upon family size) food baskets loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables; dry goods such as flour, sugar, and oil; as well as toilet paper and paper towels. We also give a monthly bus pass to the primary provider, enabling that person to attend ulpan (Hebrew-language school), travel to job interviews, and to work. All school-age children receive punch cards, which cover their daily bus trips to and from school. Many say they could not afford to send their children to school or go to work without this assistance.

Many times, adopted families fall into economic crisis, needing help to pay electric or water bills, dental bills, or other unforeseen expenses. The Bridges for Peace Adoption Program is a literal lifeline during stressful times and is often the difference between sinking and swimming.

It is this personal touch—listening to their problems, helping without any conditions, caring when no one else will encourage them—that sets us apart and shows Jewish people a different side of Christianity. Many tell us that it is the first positive experience they have ever had with Christians and are moved to tears, as they marvel at such a demonstration of selfless love from Christians whom they do not even know.

You Can Sponsor an Israeli

Adoption Program sponsors make a one-year commitment to support an Israeli by contributing US $50 per month. Whether sponsoring a family of new immigrants, Israelis in crisis, a university student, or an elderly Holocaust survivor, our sponsors are blessed by the ensuing relationship. They receive a biographical sketch and picture of each adoptee. We encourage relationships through letters, which our staff members translate. The letters build bonds between the Christian community worldwide and the Jewish community here in Israel. To date, we have served over 2,600 families in the Adoption Program.

Please pray about sponsoring an Israeli in this program and help show the Father’s love to the Jewish people. We know God will smile as you help His children through their difficult days. Many are waiting for sponsors, so they can be added to the Adoption Program. Don’t delay; share your love today.

Blessings from Jerusalem,

Rebecca J. Brimmer, International Executive Director (CEO) Jerusalem

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