Like a Shepherd

January 1, 2010
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In Jeremiah, He says of this day, “‘I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking’…‘Therefore, behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD , ‘ that they will no longer say, “As the LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,” but, “As the LORD lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.” And they shall dwell in their own land’” (23:3-4, 7-8). In Psalm 23, the opening words say, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

Over the years, Bridges for Peace has had the privilege of being servants of the Shepherd, providing food and comfort to God’s returning “sheep.” Christians all over the world have heard God’s clarion call to assist His people as they come home. Will you be one of them? Let me share with you a couple of stories of families we are helping through our Adoption Program.

From Brazil to the Galilee

Returning to the homeland of his forefathers has been a lifelong dream for 30-year-old Antonio Fernandez. He, his wife, and their three children finally realized that dream in 2009 when they made aliyah (immigration) from Brazil, and they now make their home in Israel’s Galilee region.

“I had to come to Israel,” Antonio explained. “I had the need to come here—I believe in Israel.” Since celebrating his bar-mitzvah at the age of 13, Antonio has longed to move from South America to Israel. His grandfather, who survived a Nazi concentration camp in Germany during the 1940s, told Antonio that Antonio’s children should grow up in an environment where they could connect with their Jewish identity, “I want them to understand what it means before God to be a Jew,” emphasized Antonio. “And I am certain that all Jews must live in Israel.” He pointed to Ezekiel 36 as his understanding that God’s plan is for the Jewish people to return to Israel.

From the North Country 

Maxim and Svetlana Ivanov came to Israel in 2008. Both were medical professionals in their home country, and both are focusing all their attention on bringing their mastery of Hebrew up to university level so they can have their degrees validated in Israel. Their two young sons attend kindergarten, and their baby daughter was born in the family’s new homeland just a few months ago. The Ivanovs love life in their new homeland and feel that the country is the right place for them to raise their children. Although it was not easy for them to leave their home in the former Soviet Union, they know that they have made the right decision—that Israel is the place for them.

Students Succeed with Our Help 

Many immigrant students are assisted by government scholarships in obtaining a university degree. While their tuition is paid for by the scholarship, many other necessities such as books, study materials, and living expenses are not covered. Over 100 such students are receiving assistance from Bridges for Peace each month through the Adoption Program. Isaac recently wrote:

Dear Bridges for Peace supporter, 

A day like yesterday, a Yom Kippur’s day [Day of Atonement], I decided to make aliyah. Since I did it, my life has changed dramatically. I have been jumping from one dream to another. Everything that happens to me since I stepped in this holy land does not feel real. I have immigrated to a country that is very happy to receive me. I have received every kind of support from different kinds of people. They bet on me, granting me scholarships, writing recommendation letters, etc. A chain of fortunate events occurred to me, evidencing that God is happy of having me here. In the time I have spent in this land, I feel much more at home than I ever felt in Uruguay. Here, everything seems achievable. Here, I smile as never before.  

I am currently studying an MA degree in Financial Economics for outstanding students. By the end of it, I expect to join the research’s staff of the Bank of Israel, then build a family, and, with God’s grace, enable my children to grow up in this blessed land. Thank God I have peace of mind. I do not need to worry about every day’s needs, because several kind people support me unconditionally as you do it. Hopefully, in the near future, I won’t need your help; however, I don’t think I will be able to forget your warm support, right in the moment I needed it the most. 

God bless you all,

Issac 

The Hand of the Shepherd Extended

This year-long program allows BFP sponsors to come alongside new immigrants who have recently moved to Israel. Since government assistance to families making aliyah all too quickly comes to an end, the Adoption Program allows Christians to provide practical help for these families. Each family receives at least 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of food each month, including canned goods, pasta, rice, frozen meats, fruits, and vegetables. A monthly bus pass is provided to cover transportation costs for one adult in their city of residence. This help is vitally important to these newcomers, and the fact that it is given with love and constant encouragement often makes the difference between success and failure.

Please pray about becoming a sponsor on the Adoption Program. God is bringing the Jewish people back and providing for them as a shepherd. He has invited us to partner with Him in this holy work. Your gift of US $60 per month for a one-year commitment can be the hand of the Shepherd extended to those returning to Zion. Perhaps you can’t commit to give every month; your one-time gift enables us to assist immigrants as needs arise. Any gift, small or large, will bring smiles to their faces.

In His Service,

Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO