Fifty years ago our founder, Dr. G. Douglas Young moved to Israel with his wife Georgina (Snook) and established an educational organization, at the same time beginning the work that later became known as Bridges for Peace. Their lives were a witness to the God they served. Everyone knew them as people who lived a life of love, as they fulfilled the commands of Yeshua (Jesus) to love God and to love your neighbor.
Today, Bridges for Peace continues this legacy of love in Israel. One of the ways that love is clearly communicated is when we stand with others in times of crisis. In 1967, the Youngs and their students proved their love for the Jewish people during the Six Day War. “Dr. Young had to dodge a few shells as a reserve ambulance driver…Snook hosted 60 neighbors in the basement bomb shelter at the school’s location on the Street of the Prophets [just a few blocks from the present location of Bridges for Peace]…Students served sandwiches to Israeli troops garrisoned outside while others filled sandbags for the hospital next door.” Israelis were shocked to discover that these Gentile Christians stayed with them through the entire war. “What? Are you still here?” they would ask (From the book, Gentile with a Heart of a Jew).
I have also had the opportunity to stand with Israel in war times. When crisis times come, I will occasionally be asked when we are sending our volunteers home. My answer is always, “If you feel that you must leave, then we will help you, but we will not be sending anyone home!” Just like the Youngs, we know that times of crisis are the best times to show our love. We choose to stand with the people of Israel, shoulder to shoulder in time of need. I have had to wear a gas mask, and run into a shelter while the sirens blare. God has protected me and other team members from terror attacks. We believe that these crisis times are the most important times for us to stand with Israel.
Israel today faces many threats, with Iran causing the greatest amount of concern. Reportedly, Israel is budgeting billions of dollars to deal with potential strikes from Iran, or the need to preemptively deal with the significant existential threat of the Iranian nuclear program.
I sat with our friend Jonathan Feldstein who represents Magen David Adom, (Red Star of David) Israel’s emergency response team. He told me that they need more than 100 ambulances to serve the current needs of Israel and to be ready to meet needs in time of crisis (war, earthquake or terror). He says, “The biggest threat facing Israel is from Iran, with its arsenal of long-range rockets and its continued plans to develop a nuclear weapon. MDA (Magen David Adom) needs to be prepared for the real possibility of a nuclear attack. But, should Israel strike Iran preemptively, MDA also needs to be prepared for conventional war, one with the potential for missiles strikes throughout Israel, and possibly involving weapons of mass destruction.” We pray for God’s protection from this very real threat; at the same time we feel that it is important to prepare for whatever situation may come.
During this 50th anniversary year of our founder’s arrival in Israel, we want to honor his memory by purchasing urgently needed ambulances. During the Six Day War, Dr. Young drove an ambulance while being shot at as he stood with Israel as a true friend. Today, we can stand as true friends with Israel by helping provide life-giving ambulances. Each person who receives assistance from one of these ambulances will know that Christians helped them when they read the dedication honoring Dr. Young and 50 years of Christians blessing Israel, which will be on the door of the ambulance. What a wonderful way to honor our ambulance-driving founder, and to remind our Israeli friends that they are not alone in their time of trouble. Christians around the world are standing with them.
Each ambulance costs $100,000. Every gift, no matter how large or small, will help. For those who are able to give large gifts—$25,000 or more, Magen David Adom will also acknowledge their special contribution in the dedication on the ambulance. Perhaps your church, or school would like to pull together to make this happen.
Now is the time to prepare, before we are in the middle of the crisis. Help us reach out with Christian love to the people of Israel, and to celebrate 50 years of blessing.
Urgently, in prayer, from Israel,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO
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