Events are moving quickly in the epicenter right now, with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad heading for the U.S. next week and direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks underway in Jerusalem today. But I had promised to give you another report from our recent trip to Israel and I wanted to keep my word.
- First and foremost, I want to thank each and every one of you who prayed for and invested in the work of The Joshua Fund (TJF). You are really making a difference in providing food, cooking supplies, medical supplies, and other aid to the poorest and neediest Jews and Arabs in the Land, including Holocaust survivors, the elderly, single mothers, homeless people, and Ethiopian and Sudanese immigrants, among others.
- As I mentioned in my last report, my wife, Lynn, and our four sons — Caleb, Jacob, Jonah, and Noah — spent two weeks traveling throughout Israel meeting with our staff (including Lance Emma, our new Chief Operating Officer; John Moser, our Director of Humanitarian Relief; Dave Olsson, our Director of Communications, and our amazing warehouse team), and with many of our key Jewish and Christian allies. We were so encouraged by how grateful and enthusiastic they were about how TJF is helping them feed thousands of Israelis every month through the warehouse you are helping us rent and the seven food distribution centers our team has helped set up around the country. We are so incredibly grateful for the Jewish and Christian leaders and volunteers in the Land who are truly unsung heroes, faithfully and tirelessly caring for those in need day after day. They’re amazing! (please come with us to Israel next May and meet some of them!)
- Among the best parts of our trip was working as a family in The Joshua Fund’s warehouse. We had the chance to pack about two and a half tons of olives, beans, honey, flour, and other products to be distributed to those in need. It was hot and sweaty but the kids loved every minute of it, as did we.
- Even better was the opportunity to actually deliver boxes of food to Jewish families who are living on welfare in very rundown apartments in a low income neighborhood in Jerusalem. We’ve taught our kids the statistics, that one in four Israelis live under the poverty line. But it was especially sobering for our sons to see what poverty really looks like, to see just how badly off so many Israelis are. And it was encouraging for them to be able to see how grateful people are when they receive a little assistance and a little love from people who truly care for them and are praying for them every day.
- We want our kids to truly understand the heart of Jesus when He fed the poor with unconditional love. We want them to understand what Jesus meant in Matthew 25 when He said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me….I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
- Another highlight of the trip was the opportunity to attend a dedication ceremony for two ambulances that The Joshua Fund purchased for “Magen David Adom,” Israel’s emergency/paramedic response organization that is the Jewish Israeli version of the American Red Cross. On the front doors of both ambulances reads the following inscription: “Presented to the people of Israel by The Joshua Fund and evangelical Christians in the U.S. and around the world, 2010.” Both ambulances went into service earlier this year but this was our first opportunity to get there to do a dedication service. In the next Joshua Fund newsletter we’ll have an article about precisely how they are being used. Suffice it to say for now that they have already been used on hundreds of emergency calls. Lives are being saved every week. The MDA leaders were very grateful for your help, and so am I. Please pray for these medical professionals as they respond to heart attacks, car accidents, suicide attempts and other traumas on an on-going basis.
- There’s much more to report, but I’ll leave it there for now.
- Thank you again for your prayers and support. Financial giving slowed a bit over the summer, but we are grateful for how the Lord is providing. If you would like to make a secure, tax deductible donation to help The Joshua Fund continue to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, please go to our website, www.joshuafund.net. God bless you!