When I am hungry, I walk into the kitchen and open my refrigerator or cupboard, and they are never bare. I have more than enough for my daily needs. In the westernized world, most of us are blessed with a surplus of food. We do not know the pangs of hunger unless we are fasting and praying. We don’t know the sinking feeling of knowing there is nothing to eat. We don’t go to bed hungry. We have more than enough! But, there are many who are not so blessed.
As I read the Bible, I am struck by how much God cares for the poor and needy. “’For the oppression of the poor: for the sighing of the needy; Now I will arise’ says the LORD; ‘I will set him in the safety for which he yearns’” (Ps. 12:5). “This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles” (Ps. 34:6). “For He will deliver the needy when he cries, the poor also, and him who has no helper. He will spare the poor and needy, and will save the souls of the needy. He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; and precious shall be their blood in His sight” (Ps. 72:12–14).
Our ears may not hear their cries; our eyes may not see their plight, but God is listening and watching. God’s heart is turned toward the poor and needy. At Bridges for Peace, God has tuned our eyes, ears, and hearts to see, hear, and care about their needs. Many come to us seeking deliverance from the hunger that gnaws at them.
Every month we give food to 27,000 Israelis who don’t have enough. We do so recognizing that the God of Israel, who beckoned to them in the countries of their exile and Diaspora—the God who brought them from the north, south, east, and west—has compassion on them in their time of need. He will be their refuge. “For You have been a strength to the poor; a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat…” (Isa. 25:4).
He has called Bridges for Peace to be a refuge. He has called us to be His hands extended to the needy in Israel, to show His love and mercy to those who don’t have enough.
“Your support was such a timely help for me. I lived for the whole year only on the food parcels that I received at Bridges for Peace. I don’t know how I would make it without your support.” Elina is a student at Hadassah College in Jerusalem. An immigrant from Azerbaijan, her only family in Israel is her beloved 76-year-old grandfather Yosef, a Holocaust survivor.
He is thrilled that his granddaughter has moved to Israel, and he dreams of being at her wedding. But first, Elina has two more years of college. Bridges for Peace plans to be a support to her through her college years. Many immigrant students with slim resources receive food from Christians through Bridges for Peace, enabling them to successfully graduate and build a good life in Israel.
We received this thank you letter from one of our long-time Jewish friends, who, like us, loves helping the needy:
“I worked as a manager of the community center Nikanor in Jerusalem during the year of 1999. It was a hard job because I was taking care of young people and their families who were in difficult financial situations. Many families came to me that year asking for help with food for the holiday of Rosh Hashanah [the Feast of Trumpets]. I had no strength and did not know who to turn to and to ask for help for those families. I was praying and praying to God with great faith.
“And finally, I came to the food bank of Bridges for Peace, an organization of Christians who love Israel. It is no coincidence that the hand of God directed me. The staff of the organization welcomed me warmly, giving every family a bag filled with groceries and brought joy to 50 families for the holiday.
“Since that day in 1999, the food bank of Bridges for Peace provides me with bags of groceries for 48 families in the southern town of Eilat and for 152 families in the towns in the North of Israel: Kiryat-Shmona, Katzrin, and Tiberias. The families in Kiryat-Shmona who get food baskets every month tell me how much it helps them and their children. They are full of joy that there is such an organization that supports them. I thank you with all my heart.”
Bridges for Peace helps Natia, a single mother suffering from diabetes. She is one of the families receiving food in the town of Dimona in the northern Negev. Because of the diabetes, Natia had to have almost all of her teeth removed and dentures made. She has almost nothing and has been unable to get anyone to help her. She feels helpless in the face of government and human indifference to her plight and doesn’t know how to deal with it. As a result, she had no hope.
Now, because Christians care, she is receiving the help she so urgently needs. If she did not receive the food sent by Bridges for Peace, she would not be able to feed her daughter and herself. She commented that even though no one else wanted to help her, she realized that real help was being provided by Christians that care.
I hope that your hearts have been moved as you read about God’s care for the needy. I hope you go to your cupboard and fill a bag with groceries for your local food program. Then I hope you go to your checkbook and write a generous gift to Bridges for Peace for the needy in Israel. When you give food to the needy, you are honoring God.
“He who oppresses the poor reproaches His maker, but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy “ (Prov. 14:31).
In His Service,
Rev. Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO
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