Sunday, October 16, 2011

Our Tabernacle in Israel

We are currently celebrating the Festival of Sukkot in Israel, the Jewish Holiday where we build sukkot (sukkot has been translated as tabernacles, booths, tents or temporary dwellings). We are commanded in the Torah to live in our sukkot for seven days, eating and sleeping in them, to remind us that the Israelites had to live in these temporary dwellings for 40 years when God used Moses to bring His people out of Eygpt.
For one week each year, God commands us to sleep outside and eat outside, in the elements, outside of our comfort zone, outside of our air conditioning or heat, outside of our beds, with the bugs and mosquitos and whatever else you may encounter. This is much different from Passover when we are commanded to lounge on pillows and enjoy our freedom. We are basically being commanded to be uncomfortable.
Why, you may ask, would God command us to be uncomfortable for one week each year? In Matthew 19:24, Yeshua tells us that it is easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter heaven. When we have money, when we are comfortable, we tend to forget who it is that is providing for our needs. We tend to trust in our own ability to take care of ourselves, rather than our own inability to overcome all things without God.
In moving to Israel, God has taken our family out of our comfort zone. This Sukkot, as our family struggles to survive in Israel, we are reminded to trust God to provide for us just as he provided for the Israelites coming out of Eygpt. We are reminded, in the uncomfortable setting of our sukkah, to remember all of those who are less fortunate than ourselves, who live lives that are less comfortable than our own. We remove the focus from our own needs, as we give those burdens to God, and we put our efforts to providing for others.
As we work in Israel, I have constantly thought of the book of Esther. I think of how Mordecai told Esther that she was put in her position for this time, so that she could save God's people, but if she did not do it, that God would save His people another way.
We have been put in a position to help those who are suffering among God's people, and we understand that if we don't do it, that God will provide for them another way. But we chose to be a part of God's plan and take part in the blessings that God has given His people.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Catching Up

It has been a few months since we have posted anything on this blog, but that doesn't mean we haven't been busy. In fact, we have been to busy to stop and catch up on our blog.

So, what's happening with Tikvat Yakov in Israel?

All of our six compassion centers are fully operational and we continue to provide food bags for approximately 400 families a month and provide clothing to over 500 families a month.

In addition to being able to provide financial support, which is always welcome (and needed now more than ever - details below), you can now provide material support. Details about what type of items you can send are listed on the Jacob's Hope website, on the donations page. Material items can be sent to:

Jacob's Hope
Attn: Bryan May
5141 Craig Rath Blvd
Midlothian, VA 23112

We are also looking to purchase a building in Israel which will serve as a warehouse to store and distribute material goods for our compassion centers in Israel. It will also serve as a job training center to help needy people learn the skills needed to get employment in Israel. There will be apartments for volunteers to live in while on work trips to Israel, including building projects and healthcare projects. This facility may even be used for conferences and to house weekly congregational meetings.

We are also pursuing other opportunities here in Israel, but I'll save those details for another post once our plans have some more momentum behind them.

The High Holy Days are coming up fast and we are looking to bless the people of Israel in special ways. In Tel Aviv, we are distributing blankets with our partners Agape Ministries. In Akko, Kamiel and Maalot, we are preparing special meals with the help of Rivers of Living Waters.

Just a reminder, as always, none of these things can happen without your support, and we want to thank all of you who faithfully give to Jacob's Hope or support a Jacob's Hope Team member. Unfortunately, things have been happening so fast in Israel, that our compassion team (that's us) has not been able to raise the support needed for their salary, office and travel expenses. Even with a supplement coming from Jacob's Hope we are only able to cover about half of our budgeted salary after we have taken care of the necessary office and travel expenses.

Although, Michael had been working in order to cover our personal expenses, he lost his job this summer and has not been able to find work here. We are not even sure if he will have the time to work with all of the new projects we are looking to take on here in Israel. So, now more than ever, it is important for us to raise support. We spent a few weeks this summer speaking at a few places to raise funds, and were able to get some much needed donations, but very little in the way of the long term commitments we need in order to continue our work here.

Please consider making a long term commitment so that we can continue all of the work we have started here in Israel, and continue to bless the people in this land through all of the projects and plans that God has called us do. Please click here to fill out an online commitment form to support this ministry.

Friday, May 6, 2011

What Happened to Passover?

Here we are in May already, but don't worry, Passover didn't just passover us. We had a very busy month in April with Passover. From our center in Tel Aviv, in partnership with Agape Ministries, we were able to bless 91 families with special Passover bags that had food and toiletries in them. We were also able to bless between 60 and 70 people in Karmiel with a Passover Seder Meal! Many said that it was the best Seder they have been too. Also, for many, this was the first time to here about who is the Passover Lamb.

Passover is the time that everyone cleans out their stuff. A local business heard about Tikvat Yakov and opened her doors to receive donations from anyone who wants to give clothing to us. I just took a full car load of clothing to our center in Ashdod, and the bags keep on coming.

The exciting news for May is we have just joined with Love for the Needy in Kfar Saba and now have SIX compassion centers in Israel!!! This center has been opened from 1997 and needed someone to help it stay opened. We are happy to come along side them and help.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Purim Outreach in Karmiel

Tivat Yacov, together with Rivers of Living Water Congregation in Karmiel, Israel, sponsored an outreach for the less fortunate children in that community. Many of the parents and grandparents who come to our monthly food outreach, were able to bring their children and grandchildren, 140 children in all, to receive Mishloch Manot (gift bags), who most likely would not receive anything like this otherwise. These gift bags are traditionally given out in Israel during Purim because of Esther 9:19;
"This is why the Jews of the villages, those who live in unwalled towns, make the 14th day of the month of Adar, a day for celebrating, and rejoicing. A holiday and a time for sending each other portions of food."
In addition to the gift bags, the night was filled with entertainment, including performances by many of the children from the congregation and biblical messages of God's love.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Announcing Our Fifth Center in Kiryat Shmona

Jacob's Hope would like to announce our fifth compassion center in Israel, located in Kiryat Shmona. This center is being run in partnership with a small branch of Rivers of Living Water located in this city. Kiryat Shmona, with a population that is 98% Jewish, is located in Northern Israel, along the Lebanon boarder and has been a major target for missile attacks. During the 2006 Lebanon War, a total of 1,012 Katyusha rockets hit Kiryat Shmona.

The small congregation located here has dedicated itself to helping the needy people in this area and is already giving out over 600 bags of food a month in partnership with the Joshua Fund. Jacob's Hope will be providing the funds for this compassion center to pay their rent and monthly bills, so that they can continue distributing this food, along with clothing and other household items.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Orde Wingate Children's Village

by Judith

Today I had an amazing opportunity to go to Yemin Orde. Over 40% of the children's village was destroyed in the recent Carmel fire. Many of the staff houses need to be rebuilt as well as some the children's dorms. The Library and Recreational room were also completely burnt and need to be rebuilt.

Jacob’s Hope teamed up with InShiloh Ministries and Zion’s Sake Messianic Congregation in Newport News VA, to make a donation to help the children’s village rebuild and resume operations. The village receives 65% of its annual budget from the Israeli government, while the rest comes from private donors, largely in the United States and United Kingdom. Although some of the rebuilding will be paid for by insurance, this money is slow in coming and there are many additional costs that need immediate attention.

A few things really stood out for me on how God's hand was on this place during the fire. First, the fire surrounded the synagogue at the village but it was completely untouched! Unbelievable!

Second, a few months ago they dedicated a building that was donated from people in England. It was also untouched. The amazing thing about this is that this building is where the specialty doctor is going to council these children. Many of these children come from very hard backgrounds and need a psychologist or a psychiatrist to talk too, especially after the fire took what little these children had. Now they have a place where they can get the help they need.

Third, the girl’s dorms, a building named Noam, which was built by parents of a girl whom was lost in a terrorist attack a few years back. The fire did not burn it, although the boy's dorm, right next door, is gone. I am amazed how God cares so much for the parents of this girl. Her memory will live on and they won't have to go through the loss all over again.

Forth, the school was also untouched, so the children were able to return to school last week.

But the best thing of all was meeting the lady that took me around the village. She was so thankful for the donation and I believe that we will work together to rebuild Yemin Orde.

For more information on Yemin Orde, click here.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Opportunities in 2011

2011 is here, and with the New Year there are new opportunities to serve God in Israel. On December 25, 2010, Jacob's Hope held their monthly food distribution with Rivers of Living Water Congregation in Karmiel, Israel. This month we had 250 families sign up. Although, each month more and more families come for food, our funding for this project remains the same. Each bag we gave away this month (approximately $8 of food per bag) is only half the size of the bags we started giving away just over a year ago (approximately $15 per bag). Each bag comes with a card saying the food is being supplied by Christians in America who want to bless the people in Israel. Please consider donating to this project by designating your contribution to the Karmiel Food Project, so that we can truly bless these needy people.

In addition to each bag of food we gave away, Bibles and DVDs were made available for the taking. Approximately 40 of the 500 people who attended the optional service, stayed afterward to ask questions. A truly amazing work is being done in this city, despite the limited funds.

Another opportunity to give is in Ashdod, where we just moved our center to a larger, more prominent location in the country's fifth largest city. This new space will not only increase the traffic to our store, but will allow the space to have job training on computers, and language classes for new immigrants. But with this new larger space comes the need for more funds to make the necessary renovations. We need approximately $3,500 to fix the electricity and lighting, fix and paint the walls, clean up and fix the bathroom, move and install the shelves and heating/air conditioning unit from the old store. Additional funds are also need to repair the floor and purchase equipment for job training. Please consider donating to get this center up and running by designating your donation to the Ashdod Project.

Also, please don't forget to support our family in Israel, without whom none of these projects would be possible. This family moved to Israel with their own funds and is doing much of this work on a volunteer basis because we don't have the funds to pay them a full time salary. Please consider donating to keep our Israel compassion team, and therefore keep Jacob's Hope's operations in Israel.