I want to invite you to step inside the Bridges for Peace boardroom for our weekly Senior Leaders’ meeting, where our team recently had to make some difficult decisions.
First up was the news that due to the incredible spike in food prices in Israel, we simply do not have the funds available to give the customary 7-ounce (200 ml.) jar of honey as a Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) gift to the more than 24,000 needy Israelis we feed every month. We’ve blessed these precious Israelis with this sweet treat every year, and although it seems like a small item, it makes a huge difference. In Jewish tradition, honey is eaten during Rosh HaShanah to signify a sweet new year. But when you can’t afford this holiday staple, receiving it as a gift—particularly from Christians as an outpouring of their love—makes all the difference.
Over the past year, the cost of honey has skyrocketed. As a result, the funds we have available would cover honey for the 1,027 Holocaust survivors on our program, but not for the rest. We had to make a tough choice. Because our recipients cherish this gift of honey as such a special blessing, we crafted a strategy to bless everyone with the special Rosh HaShanah treat—and committed to trusting the Lord to provide the funds we need.
The bad news was not finished. The head of the Assistance Center (Food Bank) informed us that the price of vegetable oil had risen above what we could afford. As a result, we would have to reevaluate the contents of the monthly food package that the recipients on our program receive. He presented us with two options: keep the oil and discard two tins of vital food, or remove the oil and keep the food. Although vegetable oil is a basic staple, we felt that the food was more important, so the oil was removed.
We have been feeding the needy in Israel for over thirty years. It has only been possible because God has ignited the hearts of Christians from around the world who love Israel. Some 25% of Israelis live below the poverty line, but for more than three decades, believers like you have made a difference by helping them put food on empty tables and feed their families.
Since 1948, Israel has absorbed millions of immigrants as prophecy is fulfilled and the Jewish people return from around the world. Hundreds of thousands of those immigrants were Holocaust survivors, people who had lived through the death camps and lost everything. Hundreds of thousands more came as refugees with nothing. The Lord is faithful to His covenant. He is returning them home, but has also called Gentiles to be a part of this prophetic reality coming to fruition. You are called to be part of His glorious plan! And Bridges for Peace has been called to stand in the gap with you. Together, we are partnering with the word of the prophets—God’s revealed word—to live out His purposes in our time. “Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations, and set up My standard for the peoples; they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders” (Isa. 49:22).
Our world is changing and getting more difficult every day. Thankfully, God does not change (James 1:17) and remains on the throne. The God of Israel is calling Christians from the four corners of the earth to stand with Israel and feed her hungry. We have done this as your hands and feet for decades. Hearing the dire report from our Food Bank leader highlighted two agonizing realities we may face as food costs continue to rise. The first is the tragic possibility that we may have to cut the amount of food we provide to our recipients. The second is that by cutting the amount of food, it impacts all our faithful donors whose hearts’ desire for the Food Project is that impoverished Israelis would receive a nutritious and complete food package on a regular basis.
Each month, you and Bridges for Peace partner to meet the food needs of 24,240 Israelis who depend on us. That means a distribution of nearly 60 tons of food every month. The stark reality is that this vital gift of food, this blessing from Christians around the world, is being threatened. We know that God still wants us to comfort the people of this nation (Isa. 40:1), feed His earthly family and clothe the destitute (Matt. 25:37). I am appealing to you to seek the Lord, pray for Israel and consider making a generous donation to bolster our Food Project. Will you join in God’s plan to ensure that the monthly food parcels are not reduced? As we continue to serve the Lord in Israel and spread the love of God to the needy around us, I believe that together we will overcome this trial and fill the land of Israel with food for the poor! “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2–3).
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Rev. Peter Fast
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