UPDATED: The Joshua Fund is moving quickly to bless Israeli caught in the crossfire of this escalating war between Israel and Hamas.
On Friday, TJF helped fund a project to care for 150 elderly Israeli Jews trapped in the city of Sderot, right on the border with Gaza, which is receiving a seemingly never-ending barrage of rocket attacks. TJF paid for hot meals that were delivered personally by dozens of volunteers to these elderly shut-ins. [UPDATE: the meals included “fresh bread rolls; four different kinds of fresh salads; a rich dish of Mediterranean fish with a generous amount of baked potatoes; and a choice of roasted chicken/beef casserole with rice.”] The project was organized and run by Eeki Elner and Calev Myers, co-founders of AFFI, the Alliance for the Future of Israel. Several other allies provided logistical assistance as well.
Here is an email we just received from Calev on how the project went:
“We have just returned from the project in Sderot. It went very well. Eeki Elner…was able to bring between 50-60 volunteers from Tel-Aviv and the North. I brought about 11 volunteers from the Jerusalem Institute of Justice in Jerusalem. Eeki received from the Mayor of Sderot the names and address of about 150 elderly people in Sderot who can not leave their homes. Many of them suffer from health problems and all of them suffer from poverty. Through the generous donation of the Joshua Fund we were able to give a hot meal to each individual, together with a brand-new down blanket (provided by JIJ).
“All of the volunteers split up into about 14 teams with a list of names and homes, and we were able to distribute all of the gifts within about 2.5 hours. The volunteers were instructed to enter peoples home and to take their time asking if everything is okay and trying to encourage the recipients as much as possible — to give them the feeling that they are not alone. This was a little challenging at times. Most of the recipients were Russian or Ethiopian new immigrants. Out of six homes that my team covered, we only found one Hebrew speaker. However we heard a lot of hearty ‘thank you’s’ in Russian and the tears and smiles on the faces of the recipients clearly expressed their appreciation regardless of language limitations.
“As we were going from home to home it was hard to ignore the Israeli fighter jets flying over our heads and the artillery fire in the background. It is inconceivable to me what must be going through the mind of an elderly new immigrant who does not speak Hebrew, lives in abject poverty and listens all day to the sound of war about a mile from his/her house (not to mention the Kassam rockets which frequently fall in the vicinity).
“Eeki was also able to procure a donation of tens of boxes of brand new educative toys and games, from a toys and games factory in Israel. After we finished the distribution to the elderly, each team of volunteers filled up their cars with educative games and toys and we went door to door asking if the homes had children, and distributing the games and toys to the ones that do. This really meant a lot to the recipients because the children of Sderot do not have school due to the war, and the kids need to need to interesting games, etc, to occupy them (as they try to ignore the bombings and gunfire which they hear throughout the day).
“We want to thank you so much for helping us bring a ray of light and encouragement into the darkness and fear of the residents of Sderot today.”
Please pray for all of these elderly shut-ins, as well as all of the people of Sderot, that the Lord would protect them as rockets keep raining down on their homes and communities.
Meanwhile, I just got off the phone with John Moser, our executive director, just a few hours ago. I gave him authorization to fund another project to care for Israelis in the war zone. The Joshua Fund, working closely with our Jewish allies on the ground, will begin helping Israeli families who live near the border of Gaza to move out of their homes and to a safer city for the next week or so. We are paying for the buses, the accommodations and the food for these families. Lord willing, these families will start moving out of harm’s way within the next 24 hours. I will update you as soon as I possibly can.
Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” The Lord commanded us to love our neighbors. He commanded us to bless the people of Israel in real and practical ways, including to feed those who have no food. We are seeking to obey in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I have also spent this afternoon praying with an Arab ministry leader, discussing how we can especially help Palestinian followers of Jesus trapped in Gaza. An estimated 400-plus Palestinians have died in the conflict so far, and more than 2,000 are believed to be injured. That said, it is not yet clear how outsiders can help yet given how tightly Hamas controls the situation and how violent the situation is at the moment. For now, we will keep assisting Jewish Israelis since we have clear access to them. When an opportunity presents itself to bless our brothers and sisters in Gaza, we will move as the Lord leads us. Let us not forget: God loves both the Israelis and the Palestinians and He does not wish for any of them to perish.
* Please continue praying for real peace — not just the absence of conflict but the presence of true justice and true security on both sides of the fence.
* Please also continue praying for the scores of children on both sides who are being traumatized by all the rockets and bombs — pray for the Lord to comfort and care for them in a supernatural way.
* Please pray for the followers of Jesus in Israel and Gaza, that they will have courage and hope from the Lord, that they will hear from the Holy Spirit how best to love their neighbors and their enemies, and that by their words and actions they can communicate the good news of God’s great love and plan for Israel and her neighbors.
* Please continue praying for wisdom and discernment for The Joshua Fund leadership team, as well. We are in contact with our allies on the ground in Israel and moving relief supplies to help them care for those in severe need. Please also pray that we find the right opportunities to get humanitarian relief supplies to Palestinians in harm’s way.