I was praying and asking the Lord for direction for the coming year, when the words “stay the course” resounded in my heart and mind. Being a child of the Internet generation, I immediately went to my computer to find out more about this phrase and discovered that it is a phrase used in the context of a war or battle, meaning “to pursue a goal, persist in an action or policy, or remain with a plan despite criticism, obstacles, or setbacks.” It may also have a connection with ships. As I continued to seek the Lord on this issue, I realized that if Bridges for Peace is going to stay the course, then there are a few things we must do.
We must understand the seasons. Yeshua spoke of the day when there would be wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, famine, pestilence, offence, hatred, false prophets, and apathy (Matthew 24). In our world today, we see war, turmoil in nature, political uncertainty, and potential financial crisis. As I write this, missiles are flying into the Israeli towns of Ashkelon and Sderot from neighboring Gaza. Twenty-five percent of Israel’s population lives in poverty, and fear is on every side. There has also been an increase in earthquake activity in the region, and the tyrant in Iran continues to threaten Israel with annihilation.
Karmiel Assistance Center Opens
On February 28, the entire Bridges for Peace staff and our International Board members gathered for the dedication of our new Karmiel Assistance Center in northern Israel. It was a time of amazing unity and joy as we saw the dream of a year ago become a reality. The new truck is already in service. In a staff experiment, we discovered that nearly 60 volunteers can fit in the cargo area! Tons of food arrives every week. With over 300 tons [270 metric tons] currently in place, we have now determined that we can fit over 400 tons [360 metric tons] of food in the warehouse. With such increased capacity, we continue to pray that our food budget will increase so that more people can be blessed. Sadly, the cost of food has escalated by 25%.
Feed a Child Program Grows
Nearly 200 children are now sponsored on the Feed a Child Program. With emotion-laden voices, teachers and head masters alike speak of the difference this program is making in their schools, and communities. Children now are well fed, have books to study from, tutoring if they need it, summer enrichment programs, and new backpacks and uniforms.
We were invited into a fourth-grade art class where the children were all drawing pictures for us. Then, one by one, they stood in the front of the class and thanked us for helping them. Christians around the world are making it possible for these children to have a chance of a good education and a future filled with hope. I visited in the home of one of the families we help. The beautiful Ethiopian Jewish mom is only 25 years old. Married at 14, her first child was born when she was only 16. When she was 22, she and her husband and their two children left for Israel. On the way, her husband passed away, leaving this young woman pregnant and with two young children in a new land. Her parents are with her and try to help when they can, but life is tough. The help she receives for her two school-age children through the Feed a Child Program gives hope to this little family.
Rockets Fly―Fear Increases
With the increase in rocket attacks by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza against Sderot and other places in Israel, Bridges for Peace went to the frontlines to experience for ourselves what the people there live with daily. In just a little over an hour of driving from Jerusalem, we came within range of the rockets from the Gaza Strip. In all, we spent five hours in the Sderot area and experienced six “Color Red” alerts because of rocket attacks. That same day, a total of 24 rockets fell in the Sderot, Ashkelon, and the western Negev area.
According to the Sderot Media Center, some 2,053 Kassam rockets have been fired at Israel since the Israeli Disengagement from Gaza in August 2005. An Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman recently told us that since the Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in June 2006, a rocket or mortar has been fired at Israel on an average of once every three hours. Bridges for Peace has delivered 15 cheer baskets to those wounded in the attacks. We are in constant contact with the city to assess needs and help in as many ways as we can. Christians who want to help those affected by war or terror can contribute to our Victims of War Fund.
Bridges for Peace Will Stay the Course!
God has called us to faithfully fulfill His call, and we have decided to follow His leading. He has promised to give food in season to those who are faithful. We are claiming this promise on behalf of the people God has told us to love. “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods” (Matthew 24:45–47).
God is always faithful to fulfill His Word. We must be careful not to lose heart, to endure, and to stay the course! “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58).
Will you join us? More children are waiting for sponsors in the Feed a Child Program (US $50 per month for one year), and Victims of War need our assistance in their time of trouble. The Lord has called us to feed the people of Israel. Can you give a gift to feed the needy of Israel? Please pray about how God wants you to show His love to Israel and her people.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Rebecca J. Brimmer
International President and CEO
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