Giving Thanks

November 1, 2012
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“Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD!” (1 Chron. 16:8–10).

Growing up in the United States, my favorite holiday was Thanksgiving Day. I have always been blessed by the fact that my country declared a national holiday with the purpose to give thanks! On this one special Thursday in November, American families from shore to shore gather together to enjoy the blessings of family, food, and fellowship. My family always viewed it as a wonderful opportunity to thank God for His goodness. I was born on Thanksgiving Day, so that also made it an extra special time for me.

In Israel last month, we celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles, another holiday that reminds us of the goodness of God. The Jewish people build huts called sukkot (booths) and eat their meals under these flimsy structures. Many sleep in their sukkah with its roof of palm fronds providing scant protection from the elements. Doing so is a reminder that God is our provider today just as He was for the Children of Israel as they wandered for 40 years in the wilderness.

No matter where we live, we can always thank God for His goodness!

Threats of War

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Today in Israel, tension has increased, as the threat of war seems to be growing. In fact, the population has been advised to prepare for difficult times. Long lists of supplies have been circulated, telling us how to provide for our families in case of disruption in normal services. We are advised to have 14–30 days supply of food and water for each person in the home.

How thankful I am that we are able to afford to buy these additional supplies. But, my heart goes out to the many in Israel who are unable to provide for their basic needs in normal times and who undoubtedly will not be able to afford such a stockpile of food and water. Many of them are immigrants. Some are elderly, living on very small incomes. At Bridges for Peace, we are providing food for 28,000 needy people each month. How will they manage to prepare for a crisis?

One Couple We Assist

Isak and his wife Svetlana both attained academic degrees and experienced lengthy professional careers in Europe. When the Russian government finally opened the borders of the former USSR, allowing Jewish people to leave for Israel, they made aliyah (immigrated) in 1991 from Odessa, Ukraine, with the dream of “This year in Jerusalem.”

They studied Hebrew and tried to integrate with life in Israel, taking unskilled jobs at an employment agency. The pay was very low. With nothing to fall back on, everything they earned went for very basic living expenses. They became sick, needing doctors and expensive medicine. The family needed help, and thankfully, they were able to find assistance through one of the organizations Bridges for Peace supplies with food.

In their own words, the family said: “The help to pension-aged people given by Bridges for Peace is priceless. Once a month we get milk, oil, sugar, flour, and other food, sufficient for the next month. We would like to express our sincere gratitude on behalf of all the pensioners, for all the support and generosity from Bridges for Peace. We feel not only the material help, but also great moral support, care and warmth from your hearts.” 

We are thankful that we can help Isak and Svetlana and many other Jewish people in similar situations throughout 52 communities in Israel.

Preparing for Crisis

We don’t know when war will break out. But, it is clear that Israel will have future conflict. As I write this, 30 missiles landed in southern Israel from combatants in Gaza. War is on everyone’s mind and the subject of many conversations. In fact, many of our Israeli friends have been talking about the likelihood of the battle of Gog and Magog (Ezek. 38–39) coming soon.

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Many Christians are aware that world conditions are similar to the “signs of the times” spoken of by Yeshua (Jesus) in Matthew 24:3–7. We believe that Bridges for Peace was raised up for this specific time in history. With the present tension, we have decided we must increase the amount of food we are storing in our Karmiel bulk storage facility. We need to be ready to help people like Isak and Svetlana the next time Israel faces war and there are possible disruptions in food supply.

Thankful for God’s Presence

I praise God for His faithfulness. Yeshua said “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). I am thankful for God’s watchful care, for His presence especially during difficult times. Paul and Silas praised God from their prison cell. I am also committed to praising God in all situations. I thank God for the many friends of Bridges for Peace! I thank God for His protection and provision. I thank God that He allows us to be part of His provision for the people of Israel.

I encourage you to reflect on the many blessings of God. I also urge you to share your blessings with the people of Israel who are facing uncertain times. Your gift for food will help us to feed the people of Israel today and prepare for crisis times yet to come. I pray that you will experience the blessing of God as you bless His people (Gen. 12:3).

In His service from Israel,

Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO