“My dream is not to go to bed hungry, to stop hearing my mother cry, and to stop being destroyed daily by pain.”
The little girl was picking up food supplied by Bridges for Peace when she spoke these words. She lives in Dimona, a southern Israeli desert town where many are economically depressed. I wish that she was unique, but unfortunately in the midst of Israel, a country which is prospering in many sectors, 25% of the population live in poverty, and nearly half a million are in dire poverty like this little girl and her family.
Michael survived the Holocaust. Now he is old and needs help. He comes into our Jerusalem center to receive food. As he was leaving recently, he said this: “When I was young, my family had to flee from the terror of the Nazis; we found shelter from a Christian family. And once again, now that I am old, I am receiving aid from Christians! Thank you, thank you!”
The immigrants have many struggles as they establish themselves in their new homeland. A young mother on our Adoption Program came to Israel with her eight-year-old daughter. She is working two jobs to make ends meet, and it is still not enough. The food we provide makes it possible for them to envisage a future. For now, she works hard, studies Hebrew, cares for her little girl, and falls asleep totally exhausted each night. Yet, when I met her, her face glowed with hope for a better future. She couldn’t stop thanking us for being Christians who care!
Another immigrant family we help tells how their young son has had difficulty in adjusting to a new language and school, and how they pray that he will adjust soon. Currently 27,000 people receive food from our Christian team each month. They live in large cities like Jerusalem and in small towns like Yavniel (in the north). They are old; they are young; they are Holocaust survivors; they are immigrants; they are single moms; they are widows; they are orphans. They are all loved by God. They are all receiving assistance in their time of need from Christians who are showing them God’s love by their actions, hugs, and caring words.
It is our hope that we will be able to continue to assist all 27,000 on our programs and to give food to more in need. We are resting on the Lord. This is His ministry. He said, “Blessed is he who considers the poor; the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. The LORD will preserve him and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on the earth. You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. The LORD will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed” (Psalm 41:1–3).
If we look at the circumstances we face in the world today, we would no doubt be quite worried. Since last year, the US dollar has decreased in value against the shekel by 5%, and food prices on average have increased by 5%. In addition, donations towards our food programs are 4% less than the same period last year. Gasoline prices have also gone up; in fact, we pay about US $8 per gallon ($2.11 per liter). As fuel prices rise, so do the costs of everything else. So it is no surprise that our expenses have gone up by 4%.
Today the average food parcel costs us 50 shekels (about US $15). If a family were to buy the same products in the supermarket, the cost would be around 90 shekels (US $26.50). This is because we buy such large quantities. So far, the hikes in food costs have not impacted the program because we are using food purchased when the prices were lower. The food price hike will only have its full affect as our stock purchased at lower prices is depleted and replaced by the more expensive stock.
It is very clear to me that God cares deeply about the needs of the poor. So, we go to Him in prayer. We pray for God to bring increase to Bridges for Peace, so we are able to show His love to more people in need. One of our team members is praying about digging new wells—that God would bring new sources of income to us. We pray that God would bless those who give to Israel and enable them to continue to give.
We pray that God will provide, so that we can continue to heal the ancient wounds in the soul of the Jewish people by our actions in their times of need. In the past, their experience was that Christians turned away when they were in need. Today, we come in the opposite spirit. When there is danger, we go to minister to the people even when the rockets are flying. When there is hunger, we come with food. When there is sadness, we come with encouragement. When there is death, we come with love and shivabaskets (food for the seven days of mourning).
We are so thankful for you and your faithfulness to God, Israel, and Bridges for Peace. My prayer for you is that you will experience increase even in the midst of difficult financial times. The psalm quoted earlier is full of promises which we are claiming for you because you consider the poor. You will be delivered in time of trouble! You will be preserved and kept alive! You will be blessed on the earth! You will be delivered from your enemies! You will be strengthened and sustained in time of sickness!
One thing I have learned is that you can’t out-give God. When I give more, He provides more. Would you consider trying to out-give Him? Why not increase your gift by 10%! If each of our partners in ministry would make this small increase, we could continue to help those currently on the list without any interruptions.
Now, I have a second request. Would you tell someone about Bridges for Peace and our projects? Perhaps you would like to pass this letter on to someone you know (or print out a copy from our Web site: www.bridgesforpeace.com). You can help the people of Israel by letting more people know about these life-giving projects. Thank you for helping our Christian staff be ambassadors of God’s love to the people of Israel.
Blessings from Israel,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO
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