Sunday, January 18, 2009

BRINGING HOPE TO SDEROT: Joshua Fund helps provide food for the needy in the heart of the missile zone in Israel, close to the Gaza border

Late last year -- before the war in Gaza began -- several Sderot residents approached The Joshua Fund and asked if we would be willing to help them open up a storefront facility where they could stock food and other commodities to be distributed to those Israelis living under the poverty level in their community. After assessing the need and their plan, we readily agreed.

On December 27th, of course, the desire to care for needy Israelis intensified dramatically as Hamas began launching 70 to 100 rockets at day at Sderot and other southern tier towns and cities.

By early January, the storefront facility had been rented, shelves had been built, some cleaning had been done, and basic improvements had been made.
On Monday, January 12th, my colleagues -- John Moser, our executive director; and Jeremy Grafman, our director of special projects -- and I had the opportunity to visit Sderot, see the storefront first hand, and meet the team and the volunteers who will run the place. It was clear they were ready to go, so we quickly authorized the purchase of food -- from monies generously donated to The Joshua Fund by faithful friends of the ministry from all over the world -- so that the "Hope For Sderot" team could get to work blessing their neighbors right way. Two days later, the truck of food and other supplies arrived and we had the privilege of helping stock those previously empty shelves. We also had the privilege of praying with this dear group of allies and volunteers that the Lord would truly use their kindness and generosity to touch hearts and lives with His love and let the people of Sderot know they are not forgotten.

What an honor to come alongside Israeli sabras and Jews from abroad and help them in their time of need. We don't deserve any credit for this. We don't want any. We just want to bless the Israelis of Sderot and the southern tier in the name of Jesus with unconditional love and unwavering support. We want them to know that millions of evangelical Christians in the U.S., Canada and around the world are praying for them. We are praying that the Lord grants them peace, that the Lord grants them true security and protection, that the Lord grants them comfort and hope no matter happens in the days and weeks ahead.
We are also praying for those innocent Palestinians caught in the crossfire, and seeking ways to bless them through Arab evangelical churches. And we are praying for Israel's enemies, too -- for the leaders and fighters of Hamas to turn from their evil ways and find the living God -- because Jesus commanded His disciples to love their neighbors and their enemies, and we want to be faithful to what Jesus taught us.

As the Lord spoke through His servant Moses:
"If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land with the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks....You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore, I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'" (Deuteronomy 15:7-11)

And as we read in the Gospel According to Mark: "In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples and said, 'I feel compassion for the people because they...have nothing to eat.'....And He directed the people to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people. They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well. And they ate and were satisfied....About four thousand were there." (Mark 8:1-9)

** If you would like to help us feed the hungry, care for the needy, and comfort victims of war and terrorism, please consider making a tax deductible contribution to The Joshua Fund through our secure on-line system. Click here to give, or to learn more about what we do, and may the Lord greatly bless you as you seek to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus. **