2022 has been a year of changes, uncertainty and great difficulty. The invasion of Ukraine has devastated lives and infrastructure in the country. Many people have become refugees with uncertain futures. Worldwide insecurity caused by the pandemic deepened because of the war with supply chains interrupted, inflation, soaring fuel costs and threats to the food chain. Rockets were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip. Iran and her allies are rattling their swords. The changes we see have caused fear to rise in hearts. That fear is often compounded because of our uncertainty about the future.
As believers, we find great solace in knowing that no matter what happens, nothing takes God by surprise. We have courage to face an uncertain future because He has promised to be with us no matter what transpires. Repeatedly at Bridges for Peace, we have had to adjust to unexpected changes. We have had reason to seek Him for direction, and He has never forsaken us. We have been blessed by His presence, and by the support and prayers of our many friends around the world.
When suddenly Jewish communities in Ukraine, Ethiopia and Russia were at risk, God equipped us to help rescue thousands. This is an ongoing situation. Even though we didn’t anticipate the chaotic circumstances, together with our Christian partners throughout eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, we never wavered. Working with Jewish partners in Israel, we helped thousands return home to Israel.
Once they arrived in Israel, we began intensive measures to help the newest Jewish refugees get settled. Partnering with municipalities in several towns and Jewish organizations, we started meeting needs. For years we have told you that immigrants have a difficult adjustment period; that they come to Israel with very little. This newest group of immigrants came with even less, if that is possible. Literally, they came with the clothes on their backs, and most of them were elderly or women and children.
We have partnered with Yad Le’Olim (“hand to the immigrants”) to open a storefront in a Jerusalem shopping center. Together we are helping hundreds. The new immigrants shop for free. We are providing blankets, towels, sheets, pillows, dishes, silverware, pots and pans, and more for each family. There seems to be a never-ending demand for these items.
With the monetary gift from a generous Japanese donor, we were able to significantly help one family. Natalia fled with her two sons after being held at gunpoint by Russian soldiers. Suffering severe PTSD, Natalia has lost her health, is separated from her husband who was forced at gunpoint to remain behind, and arrived in Israel with nothing. Her 17-year-old son had to grow up quickly. With a designated budget of US $10,000 we were able to provide beds, appliances, a table and chairs, a computer, phones and even bicycles for the boys. Go to our YouTube channel and see the video titled “Building Hope in a New Home.”
We have been operating with a great shortage of staff. This forced us to seek new ways of meeting needs. We did not have enough staff to operate our two assistance centers. After much prayer and research, our board made the decision to close the Karmiel center. We only had two volunteers in Karmiel—not enough to continue operations. We were able to continue meeting our commitments to every northern outlet. Not one person stopped receiving aid from us. We are now servicing all of Israel from our Jerusalem center, and since we saved a significant amount of money, we are able to extend our reach to others in need.
Thank you for standing with the God of Israel, the people of Israel and Bridges for Peace during these changing times. Your gifts to our New Immigrant Fund allow us to meet many needs. Your gifts to Project Rescue keep our network vital as they continue to help people escape from untenable situations. If you want to help outfit an apartment like we did for Natalia, a gift of US $10,000 to our Immigrant Welcome Gifts fund will help their fragile hopes bloom. Let’s partner with God to help the “least of the brothers of the Lord.”
Blessings from Israel,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO
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