27 April 2013

Not Passed Over this Passover!

Gifts received at Warm Houses
Holiday times are often the hardest for those who are struggling financially.  Being fully aware of this, Helping Hand Coalition makes an extra effort to reach holocaust survivors and other needy families during these seasons in Israel.  Passover is an important celebration in the Jewish calendar, and even more so in Israel with the country having public holidays and families gathering for special meals all over the nation – a little like others do for Christmas.  For a week, to honour what God commanded in the book of Exodus concerning the Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread, the shops will cover or remove all food products from their shelves containing yeast.  Everyone is expected to have food in their cupboards designated ‘Kosher l’Pesach’ – consumables marked as kosher for Passover, guaranteed to contain no yeast products.

Food vouchers for Passover
For those already struggling to make ends meet, bringing the ingredients together for a special family meal can be an overwhelming task, let alone restocking with kosher products for a week.  This is where Helping Hand Coalition excels – in noticing the needs and helping to provide the answers.  As households around Israel started to prepare for the Jewish Passover holiday, HHC volunteers were busy delivering gifts of food vouchers to help holocaust survivors and other needy families buy their Passover groceries. 

Dried Fruit Shipment
Dried fruits are a favourite treat for many Israelis, especially during Passover when biscuits, cakes, pastries and other baked desserts are off-limits.  

20 April 2013

I Will Send Down Showers In Season

Having been born in a country with an overabundance of rain (often to the chagrin of its inhabitants), it has been hard to grasp the incredible importance of rain for a country that only sees the wet stuff for a few months a year. Israel is one of those countries and it wasn't until I spent several years living through their annual seasonal cycle that I understood the importance of rain falling during the relatively short winters to counter the long, hot rainless Israeli summers.

Water is vital for life. This precious commodity stored up during the winter months has to last through the long dry summer until the next rains the following winter. For Israel, rain is a blessing and a sign of the faithfulness of God who promised to be their Provider. In the words of the prophet Ezekiel:
"I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.  The trees will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land." Ezekiel 34:26-27
Over the past 10 years, Israel has had very low rainfall causing much concern. The Sea of Galilee, the main reservoir of fresh water for the country, has remained at dangerously low levels year after year, plundering Israel's reserves. Officials imposed various water bans and drought-related rationing measures. Believers in Israel asked brethren around the world to join with them in praying for the Lord to 'send down showers in season...'

06 April 2013

Coffee & Calm - Life Changers for Shira

It is always encouraging to hear testimonies from the ministries in Israel.  The staff of Dugit Outreach Centre have ploughed many years in the vineyard of Tel Aviv, sowing, tending, and labouring in this harvest field.  It is a vast city with diverse cultures and people, and each person that walks into Dugit is given care and respect, regardless of their condition or situation:

‘Because of the aromatic coffee and calming atmosphere, Dugit Centre has several daily visitors, often who suffer from physical or mental illness. Dan, our Outreach Director, is always there with a smile and a prayer to welcome those that the world rejects.  One lady, Shira began coming about a year ago and suffered from fits of paranoia. She would sit and stare for hours, claiming that people were after her.