“The thief comes only to steal, slaughter, and destroy. I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly!” (John 10:10)
The fact that so many hospitals and schools all over the world – also in Israel – were founded by believers should be evidence in itself. Many charities alleviating poverty around the world today may be secular now, but many were established by people who were obeying the teachings of Jesus. Now that Jesus has ascended and given us His Spirit, we can all now be His hands and feet, serving people everywhere.
ONE FOR ISRAEL PARTNERS WITH PRO-LIFE WORKAmy-Lee Salinger heads up our Humanitarian Aid department at ONE FOR ISRAEL. For many years we have been taking aid to Holocaust survivors who live in poverty, but five years ago, God clearly put on her heart the importance of also serving other needy communities and families God brought to us. A unique door opened up through a friend from the pro-life organization, A Future and a Hope, who answers calls and counsels women considering abortion. Some of the women who had chosen to keep their children were now single mothers, and while A Future and a Hope provides everything the baby needs for the first year of life, sometimes the mothers have literally nothing else to live on. As the demands grew the staff with the pro-life organization would give out of their own pockets to help these families, even purchasing appliances and arranging for the fixing up of rundown apartments. But the need became quite overwhelming. ONE FOR ISRAEL was able to partner with the pro-life organization and is now offering regular aid to these single mothers and their children. Approximately half of the families we are helping have come to us in this way.
Initially Amy-Lee continued to serve the needy families in the same way we give aid to Holocaust survivors; buying provisions at the supermarket then packing them up and delivering the care packages. However, this was a very time consuming process which meant that there was little time to spend with the families themselves. Plus it was always guesswork which items would actually be helpful, since the families come from a variety of backgrounds representing different cultures, diets, and lifestyles. More recently and in the midst of the COVID pandemic the switch has been made to organize the deliveries online, but only after calling the individual families to ask, “What do you need? What does your child love?”
One mother exclaimed in tears, “I feel noticed! No one has ever asked me what I need!”
Another mother shared openly, “Thank you so much for your help. It is hard for me to even explain how difficult my situation is!”
There is a limited budget for every family, but this method is a much more effective use of the resources because it avoids waste on supplies they won’t use. It also buys more time with the families, so instead of just handing over a bag of supplies, our team can spend quality time with each family, getting to know them, care for them, and encourage them. Amy-Lee is so glad we’ve changed our way of working, “It’s a small way of saying, your children matter to us, you matter to us, you are noticed and loved. It’s a small package but means a great deal since it’s not automated and very personal, and it means we can keep in touch.”
These women are often in need of a friend and a mentor as much as the practical supplies. Some describe the visits as a real lifeline. Amy-Lee and the team love listening to the women, caring for them, and spend time together playing with their children. “They often call us “angels” because it’s so unusual that people do these things anymore”, Amy-Lee says. “It’s an incredible blessing to be able to do this as a ministry and to show God’s love in such a practical and tangible way.”
MIRACLES AND WONDERS
reflecting upon the story of the loaves and fishes, it dawned on me that I’d been looking at it all wrong. We focus on the miracle of the multiplication and for good reason! It is extraordinary – a bonafide miracle of the type we cannot wrap our heads around. I’ve also heard amazing stories of multiplied provisions in our time as well. But this is easy for God. He can give a virgin a child, split the sea and walk on water. He’s God.
God can create a universe from scratch. It’s not hard for Him to produce extra food. The only place in the story where someone did something difficult was when the little boy gave up his lunch.
In a similar vein, there are three wonders to be seen in the incarnation, according to Martin Luther: “God becoming a man, that a virgin should conceive, and that Mary believed. The greatest is that Mary believed”. Mary (Miriam in Hebrew) believed the impossible at her own high cost, and the little boy gave up his lunch. If you know any little boys, you will know that’s a miracle all on its own!
God can do miracles. He is God. But he loves to work with us in partnership. He fed 5,000 with one packed lunch. He brought salvation to the world through a young woman who believed He could do it. And He can do extraordinary things with our humble offerings when we are willing to step up and give what we have, trusting Him to meet the need.