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Tears and Smiles Touch our Hearts

December 1, 2011
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You have heard the statistics—25% of the Israeli population lives under the poverty line, among them over 800,000 children. You have heard that Bridges for Peace is giving 70 US tons (63 metric tons) of food every month to 27,000 people in 52 communities across Israel. But it is the every day encounters that our team has with those we help that touch our hearts. As we see the responses of the people to our acts of unconditional love, our hearts are deeply moved by what God is doing through us. I want to share a couple of stories with you.

A Smile Can Change a Life!

Pieter Marais

Pieter Marais, our Israel Operations Director has reached out with kindness to Abraham his neighbor for the past several years. Pieter tells the story, “I met Abraham five years ago when I moved into the same neighborhood where he lived with his mother. They live on the top floor of our apartment building. Every time I ran into him in the neighborhood; there was one thing I could count on, that he would ask me for some money to help him out with food. After giving him some money a few times I decided that I would help him out by putting him to work around my house. I offered to pay him some money to clean up the stairway in our building and to help out in the garden.

After a while I learned that Abraham and his mother were struggling financially to make ends meet on a 2100 NIS (US $570) monthly disability check from the government. One day I was in his apartment and found that he did not have any food to eat and only saw 2 bottles of water in his refrigerator; so I arranged to bring him parcels of food. I cannot express the joy and appreciation I saw in Abraham’s eyes when I brought him that first parcel.

Abraham’s new smile

From the first time I met Abraham I knew he needed dental care because his smile had three teeth; two teeth on top and one on the bottom. Recently I asked Abraham to go to the dentist and get a quote for the cost of his dental care. We were able to cover much of the costs out of our dental and medical fund. Last Wednesday on my way to work Abraham came running to meet me; he was waiting to show me his new teeth. His smile was worth a million blessings to my heart just to see the joy Abraham had with his new teeth. I immediately pulled out my cell phone to take a photo of Abraham and his “PRICELESS” smile. The Bible tells us to …. “Love your neighbor as yourself” I say ‘thank you Lord for another example of making it real for me.’”

Tears Flow

Vera and one of our Canadian volunteers, Eda Bosgra

Hundreds of immigrant families and individuals have been helped through our Adoption Program which sponsors families for a year. They are provided with food, bus transportation, gifts on the holidays and on birthdays. They receive lots of advice and encouragement from our team members who speak their language. Recently our Canadian Director, John Howson, invited a family on the program to meet with his tour group. Cathy, a Canadian volunteer wrote about that occasion. “This past week, our Canadian volunteers had dinner with a Bridges tour group from Canada. Special guests were members of a Jewish family from Georgia (the country) who had immigrated to Israel one year ago, and who were being supported by Bridges for Peace. The parents could not speak English but their 17-year-old daughter Vera spoke English well, and thanked Bridges for helping them when they were in desperate need. After our Director for International Development, Cheryl Hauer, described the heart of Bridges for the Jewish people, Vera wept in gratitude when she understood the extent to which Bridges for Peace is committed to helping Israelis, unconditionally. Vera’s tears made me realize once again why I am here, doing what I’m doing.”

Special Needs Met with Christian Love

We received the following request for funds from a family who receives food from Bridges for Peace in Eilat, Israel’s southern most city.

Family on our Adoption Program

“Liel, our four-year-old daughter was born with a rare genetic disease called Nimen-pik Type A. Liel has had a bone marrow transplant, which is considered as an experimental treatment. For now, there is no known cure for her illness.

At this time, Liel is unable to walk, stand, sit on her own or even roll over from side to side as healthy children are able to do. Because of her illness, which has caused this motor-skill dysfunction, she needs a special baby “trolley” with special body support to keep her stabilized. A wheel-chair such as this can be custom-made in Germany according to specifications by doctors and a physical therapist to suit Liel’s special needs.

Family on our Adoption Program

After many months of waiting, we finally got the permit for the wheel-chair and it arrived in Israel from Germany. The Ministry of Health paid 9000 NIS (US $2,454) of the total cost. But we had to raise funds privately to pay the balance ourselves.

As parents of a child with special needs, we often find ourselves overwhelmed with the financial costs of all the medical care and treatments (to say nothing of the physical, mental and emotional costs)! We hope and pray that the Bridges for Peace Organization would be so kind as to assist us in this area however much they possibly can at this time.

With deep gratitude and God bless you,
Ora and Shahar

Because of the generosity of Christians around the world we were able to assist this family and Liel is now cradled in her own specially fitted wheel chair.

You Can Be Part of this Picture

Family on our Adoption Program

Many Israelis, though grateful for our help, do not understand why Gentiles would leave their home nations to come to Israel just to help them. In the natural, it often doesn’t make much sense. But as believers in Yeshua (Jesus), we come here from many nations as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Isaiah 60 and 61 state that it will be people from other nations that will build up Israel in practical ways.

It is a privilege to be part of that prophecy, to love the people who God calls the apple of His eye, and to work towards building a bridge of reconciliation between Christians and Jews after centuries of enmity. Please pray with us that God will send more volunteers because the needs are great, and we are short-staffed in several areas.

Family on our Adoption Program

Your gifts make this outreach of love possible. In this letter, we have highlighted the Dental/Medical Aid fund and the Adoption Program. I hope your hearts were touched as you read these three accounts. All our programs are designed to assist those in need, while communicating Christian love for Israel and the Jewish people. God is using our efforts to change hearts—both ours and theirs.

We greatly appreciate you and your support and thank you in advance for giving this month. Please choose from the list of projects and give generously as the Lord leads you. You can put a smile on a face and brings tears of joy to a Jewish heart.

Blessings from Israel,

Rebecca J. Brimmer