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A Season of Healing in Sderot

Let us pray for God to keep a watchful eye over His People, and bind the schemes and resources of their enemies so they can do them no harm (Zechariah 12:1-5; Psalm 91)

Fifteen seconds… Imagine you are awakened to hear a siren blaring, and must gather your family to rush to shelter from incoming rocket-fire, and this is the amount of time you have to say a quick prayer under your breath and hope that you will see another day.

Due to on-going tension along the Gaza Strip, Israelis have had to endure a barrage of attacks, from their Western border since 2001. These attacks have historically included the throwing of rocks and Molotov cocktails, large and small-scale terror tunnels for burrowing subterranean routes into Israeli territory, Qassam rocket launches, and most recently the threat of incendiary kites sent from Gaza in the hope of burning Israeli agricultural fields and setting nearby villages alight. This constant security threat is felt most by those closest to the border, and it does not get any closer than the city of Sderot, which is only 1 kilometer from the active conflict zone. This reality leaves the residents of Sderot only 15 seconds on average to rush to nearby bomb shelters when they hear the siren alerting to an incoming rocket attack. Because of this, an estimated 75% of children between the age of 4 and 18 in Sderot exhibit signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can cause severe anxiety and disturbed sleeping habits, among other symptoms. Because of this, CBN Israel has felt a strong call to assist these victims of terror through partnerships with local organizations in Sderot.

However, amidst this reality is a beacon of hope! Yir HaHaim is the local Messianic Congregation in Sderot, and despite starting their ministry in a city which is often referred to as the “bomb-shelter capital of the world”, they have named their congregation the “City of Life” as a proclamation of faith despite these adverse conditions. They have been called to be a light to their community, as they are aware that the city of Sderot houses many new immigrants, Holocaust survivors, homeless and low-income families, widows, orphans, and those affected by both direct terrorist attacks and the general threat of living in one of the world’s most conflicted zones. It is through the support and partnership with CBN Israel that this ministry is able to offer numerous programs for both Believers in Sderot and other citizens in need, making the congregation a hub for healing, support, and living the Gospel. Not only has CBN’s support allowed for community members to receive much-needed food vouchers, but there has also been an emphasis on funding holiday celebrations at the congregation. These food security efforts are vital to not only ensuring that daily needs are met, but also to create annual milestones for trauma victims to look forward to, and inspire more community involvement and outreach. Arguably though, the most impactful assistance has been CBN’s funding of therapeutic efforts for victims of terror. These efforts have taken different forms. There are one-time healing events, such as a sponsored day for elderly victims to visit a therapeutic thermal spa for restoration and relaxation following one of the most brutal nights of rocket attacks. There is also a focus on long-term support though, such as the sponsorship for over 52 families to receive vital trauma-informed therapy for overcoming PTSD. This investment in the community’s mental and spiritual health has been a large priority for CBN and Yir HaHaim to ensure Sderot residents have the opportunity to resume a normal life and seek a ‘refuge and a fortress’ (Psalm 91:2) in the protection of the God of Israel.

Please help us pray for the peace of Israel, the ‘shelter of the most High’, and the efforts that CBN has been called to fulfill in aiding victims of terror in these Southern territories. It is because of those who give selflessly to CBN Israel that these victims are finding help and hope in their time of need. Would you consider partnering with CBN Israel and helping us make a very real impact on the lives of the needy in Sderot? On behalf of our staff and the many lives we have already touched through your support we say, “Thank you!”

 

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Stabbing Attack in Adam, Israel

On Thursday July 26, three men fell victims of a terror attack in Adam, a settlement near Jerusalem where one of CBN Israel’s staff lives with his family.

The terrorist entered the neighborhood where he encountered a 31-year-old resident, and stabbed him repeatedly in the upper torso. A second resident, 58-years-old, came out of a nearby home and was also stabbed. A third resident, heard the disturbance, went outside, and realizing that an attack was occurring, shot the terrorist.

Sadly, 31-year-old Yotam was declared dead shortly after the incident, leaving behind his wife and two young children, a 2-year-old and 7-month-old boy.

The two other men were lightly wounded but survived the attack.

Our desire at CBN Israel is to assist and support families and victims of terrorism. After a terror attack. These families are left with many hardships, both physical and emotional.

Together with your help, we were able to provide direct, immediate financial assistance for these families. While we know that financial assistance does not replace a lost loved one or heal the wounds, it helps with the immediate cost of the disruption to the lives of the victims. Our prayers and tangible help is part of our mission to provide comfort to these families as they recover from the incident and try to move forward. The injured men will not be able to work and provide for their families for a few weeks and the widowed mother of two now remains the only source of income for her family.

Please pray with us for these families as they recover and as they deal with this traumatic event that has permanently changed their lives.

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Widow’s Freedom From Debt Brings Tears of Joy

The news felt like an additional weight in the backpack of a weary traveler. *Helen had just buried her husband and was caring for her three children, one of which has special needs, when she received a letter informing her of the debt that was left in her husband’s wake. The family were new immigrants in Israel and Helen had not yet learned her way around the culture, the language and the government institutions. She felt paralyzed by all the struggles that were hitting her at once and for lack of knowing what to do, she chose to do nothing.

Leaving the debt to grow interest in the bank, Helen focused her attention on her children and getting the family acclimated to their new country. During this time, she met a single mother who told her of the work of CBN Israel. Helen began attending the meetings for single mothers and over time, she felt safe to open up with the staff about her struggles. Because of the debts in the bank and the demanding needs of her son, she couldn’t afford to pay for a cognitive test to determine the needs of her child. 

Arik Peled, the financial advisor for CBN Israel, accompanied Helen to the bank to see what could be done about her debts. The bank agreed to greatly reduce her debt if she was able to come up with the money within two weeks time. When CBN Israel’s partners learned of Helen’s needs, donations began to come in. But to their surprise, not only was the needed amount for negotiations donated, but the amount needed to pay off the debt in full came through!

When the staff told Helen that her burden of debts was over, she could hardly believe it. She was so overcome with emotion, that her sentences were broken up by sobs of joy. She said, “I simply don’t have words to say to you. It was so many years I struggled with these debts and now it’s over. I can hardly believe it! I don’t have enough words to say, ‘thank you'”.

From this situation, Helen has learned a lot about how to handle her money. She has learned how to gain credit without gaining debt. She has learned a lot about the Israeli institutions and how the banking systems work differently than in her native country. And now, Helen is attending CBN Israel’s financial workshops to learn more about what job would suit her best. Regarding her son, CBN Israel paid for the cognitive test and as a result, Helen is better equipped with knowledge to get her son the help he needs. 

It is because of those who give generously to the work of CBN Israel that widows like Helen are receiving practical help, hope, care and love. Every donation makes a big difference in real lives here in Israel. When you become a monthly partner, you will receive three of our extraordinary documentaries on Israel! Find out more about it here

*Name altered for privacy.

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CBN Israel Sponsors a New Partner to Help At Risk Children and Teens

We at CBN Israel are excited to feature one of our new partners- Orr Shalom! Because of those who give generously to CBN Israel, we were able to contribute towards the sponsorship of fifty-three vulnerable and at risk youth who attended Orr Shalom’s Safe Haven Passover Camp in April. These children and teens who suffer from traumas of abandonment and rejection find safety under the care of loving and professional counselors who oversee the annual camp.

This year, fifteen counselors were on staff, twelve of which had interacted with the campers in previous years. The year after year relationship building between kids and counselors helps aid in establishing trust and a sense of family. Without the opportunity to attend Orr Shalom’s Safe Haven Camp, these children would have had no where to go during the two week Passover school vacation.

During the camp, the children engage in sports activities as well as therapeutic activities which include gardening, interaction with animals and craft making. The children even had opportunity to sell their hand made crafts to the public, adding to their confidence. Another aspect of the camp is the “big sister/big brother” program. Staff member Iris explained, “In this program, the younger children are paired up with someone who has been in their shoes and has surpassed hardships similar to their own. Both parties feel they have someone else to talk to who isn’t an authority figure or counselor who can help them”. Through this big brother/big sister program, the children work on team-building activities in beautiful locations such as the Dead Sea.

In a recent update, Orr Shalom shared one camper’s personal story from this year’s camp experience. “*Tamir, 10, attended Safe Haven for his first time this Passover. He was extremely nervous, and as he is relatively new to Orr Shalom’s Family Group Home, staff kept an extra special watch over him to ensure he was held and felt as comfortable as possible. We are so happy to report that he was able to enjoy this session, with especial thanks to a counselor who stayed with him until he fell asleep at night. We look forward to welcoming Tamir back for our upcoming Summer Safe Haven Overnight Camp!” (*Name altered for privacy.)

“Thank you to our dear friends at CBN Israel for helping to send Orr Shalom’s children to Safe Haven this Passover! Your generosity has given these children the experience of a lifetime, and the tools to build a brighter future”, said the staff of Orr Shalom.

To all who give generously to the work of CBN Israel, thank you for helping us make a difference in the lives of these children. And to show you our thanks, find out what you can receive as a monthly sponsor!

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A Change of Attitude Brings Change in Income

Several months ago, the financial counselor of CBN Israel, Arik, met a young man who was drowning in a pool of debt so big that no one knew exactly how to begin draining it. From where Arik stood, conquering a debt that size felt equivalent to climbing Mount Everest. But as he began requesting help from the Lord and from financial partners, donations slowly trickled in and the debt was reduced by one-fifth of the size. 

It was not enough, however, to only deal with the debt through the means of donations. A plan of action was created to chisel it away through hard work and a good income. Arik encouraged the young man, *Gilad, to pursue work that interested him as well as to have a secondary job to help pay off the debt. But as Gilad started working his profession, a root cause of his financial struggle was revealed. 

Gilad was a man with strong opinions and was bold in stating his thoughts and beliefs. People found him difficult to work with and his sharp tongue and judgmental attitude towards others was hindering him. He had a reputation for being unkind and no one could trust him as a representative of the company. But it wasn’t only those in the work place that suffered. It was his wife and family too. 

When Arik learned of the situation in the workplace, he requested a follow-up meeting with Gilad in order to discuss these issues at hand. “Your income is suffering because of your attitude”, said Arik. “If you will focus on improving yourself, being more kind to others instead of judging them, you will gain trust and you will do well in your work”. 

Weeks later, Arik received a phone call from a manager in Gilad’s office. “I thought you might like to know what has been happening with Gilad”, he said. “He has changed his mind. He is acting more kind and people here like to work with him. He works so hard now and it’s really paying off! I know you played a part in it”. 

God is always after the restoration of our souls. He allows the deep issues of the heart to surface, not for our shame and embarrassment, but for our healing. If we are willing to let God surgically remove those deep issues of the heart through his word and by His Spirit, we will experience freedom and more of His blessings in our lives. 

“It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, And He adds no sorrow to it.”- Proverbs 10:22

*Name altered for privacy

 

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She Made One Change And It Changed Everything

*Liya and her husband, *Aaron, moved to Israel from Africa with their four young children. Due to complications with Aaron’s status and decisions that were made, the family was soon thrown into a financial crisis. Liya tried saving money wherever she could including taking their youngest out of daycare. But the burden of the situation weighed heavily on her mind and emotions. She began to feel hopeless and in despair. Every day that passed she became less and less motivated to do anything for anyone, including herself. 

When Liya learned of the work of CBN Israel, she quickly made an appointment with Arik, the financial adviser. According to Liya, “this was the moment everything changed”. Arik shared with Liya from his own experience about the importance of taking responsibility for her life and that there was no benefit in blaming someone else. If she wanted to see change in her family, she needed to be the one to act. When Liya heard these words, depression left and hope rushed in to fill it’s place. It was as if she went from thinking from the fog of her circumstances to an elevated perspective with a broader view.

The very next day, Liya woke up with determination to make a change. She was determined to find a job. “Anything will do”, she thought to herself. “One thing will lead to another”. 

Her pursuit for work paid off as Liya found a job in caring for an elderly woman. As she applied herself in her work, word got out and more caretaker opportunities began to open up. Even at an unexpected time, she experienced yet another unexpected surprise. 

In a casual conversation with her daughter’s former daycare teacher, she expressed her hopes to put her daughter back in just as soon as she could afford it. The next thing she knew, Liya was being offered a job to become the manager of the afternoon shift! This position meant that she could not only spend time with her daughter in the daycare, but that her child’s attendance would be free. She was further granted permission for her older children to join them in the daycare after school. 

As Liya reflected on all that had happened in just three short weeks since the day her perspective changed, she remembered a question Arik had asked her during their meeting together. “If you could have a job doing anything you like, what would it be”? “Education!” she answered him. It had always been her desire to work with children. 

Recently, Liya shared with Arik, “God used you and the team of CBN Israel as a spiritual pipeline in my life. Something was blocked and you came just in time to remove what was blocking and to restore life, hope and security for me.” 

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company… a church… a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes”- Charles Swindoll.

*Names in this article have been altered for privacy

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Couple Set Free From Financial Ball and Chain

*Sasha and *Tanya are a young couple who made Aliyah, (Jewish immigration to Israel), at the turn of the twenty-first century from the Former Soviet Union. Though they came separately to Israel, their past experiences were parallel in nature. Neither one had ever had good role models in their lives and their longing for belonging lead them into the wrong crowds. Their names were known among the gangs, doing drugs and consuming alcohol and through this lifestyle, they each plummeted headlong into debt. 

But God, in His great mercy, brought messengers of hope to bring them the good news of His salvation. And in receiving Him, their lives began to change. They met, married and desired to progress in their relationship with God. Yet, in every step towards advancement, they were jerked by the reminder of their debts like a dog coming to the end of it’s leash. Sasha tried to earn money the right way, working hard for his income. But the moment his paycheck reached the bank, the money was transferred in full towards the unpaid debts. In short time, Sasha and his new wife became discouraged. There seemed to be no freedom from the ball and chain of their past mistakes. 

It was in this state that the couple began searching for help. When they learned of the work of CBN Israel, the two began to feel hope. They met with Arik, the financial adviser, and together, they formed a plan. Requests for help were sent to various organizations and slowly but surely, the donations came in. In a matter of months, what seemed impossible became a reality. Every shekel of debt that the couple had accrued was entirely paid in full. 

“We don’t know how to thank you”, the couple said as they followed-up with Arik by phone. “If you were not there to listen, to pray and to help us, we would still be in that situation.” 

Now that the debts have been paid, Tanya has begun studying and volunteering her time to help those in drug rehabilitation. Sasha is working temp jobs while searching for permanent work. And the couple will continue meeting with the staff of CBN Israel for further financial counsel.

*Names altered for privacy. 

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Elderly Woman Delivered From Depression

Month after month, *Marta came to CBN Israel’s partner, Beit Hillel, to receive the gift of a free food package.  Her face reflected the weight of the seventy years of suffering she had lived through. Not wanting to draw attention to herself, she received her food parcel and quickly disappeared back into her world of caring for her only grandchild alone.

The depression that Marta lived with day after day moved the hearts of the Beit Hillel staff with compassion. They knew of One who could help her! The next time Marta arrived to receive her package, one of the staff members approached her saying, “I am a psychologist and a family counselor. If you ever need someone to talk to, I am here for you.”

Marta opened her heart and began to share her story. Since coming to Israel many years ago, both her son and her daughter had passed away leaving one grandchild behind. She had no husband, no community and was far away from what family she had left overseas. If something were to happen to her, who would care for the needs of her grandchild?

The staff of Beit Hillel offered prayer as a means of lifting her burdens off her shoulders and onto the One who cared for her so much. As they prayed, streams of tears flowed down her face. Marta opened her eyes wide and said, “I received a specific answer! I know what I need to do!”

The following month when Marta arrived to receive her food parcel, her face was shining with joy. The staff of Beit Hillel witnessed the transformation that happened in Marta’s life; “The depression we used to see in Marta is completely gone. Now, Marta is all the time thankful!”

Beit Hillel is one out of a dozen of CBN Israel’s partners who help serve the local communities in Israel. Through these partners, people like Marta are receiving, love, care and hope! Would you consider giving a gift today?

*Name altered for privacy.

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God Resurrects Marriage From the Dead

Through word of mouth, *Andre and *Natalie *Ivanov heard of the marriage counseling course with CBN Israel’s partner, Beit Hillel, in Ashdod. Their marriage had been in rough seas for far too long. The Ivanou’s believed they had nothing left in common save parenting their children and their cultural background. They signed up for the course on the agreement that if a miracle didn’t happen in a matter of weeks, the result would be be an immediate divorce.

Andre had only just began his walk with the Lord months prior to starting the course. Natalie on the other hand, didn’t believe there was a God. Yet the pains in her heart from a broken relationship wrenched a prayer to her lips from her innermost being; “God, if you exist, please save my marriage”!

When the Ivanov’s arrived for the first session of the course, they were escorted into a romantically lit room where there were individual settings of a table and two chairs. On each table was a plate of hors d’oeuvres. Though multiple couples attended the course, the settings were arranged as such that each couple would feel as though they had gone out on a date.

During that first session, questionnaires were handed out for each individual to fill out with answers only about themselves. When complete, the questionnaires were exchanged between partners to help the spouse engage with, know and understand the heart and mind behind the person they were married to. Throughout the course, topics such as the importance of dates, expressing and receiving love languages, intimacy and much more was discussed. Things that most couples sweep beneath the carpet were brought out to air and be dealt with in this safe environment.

After only three weeks of attending the Beit Hillel Marriage Course, Natalie and Andre experienced their miracle. Their love and appreciation for one another returned in such a way, that the staff of Beit Hillel witnessed the transformation in their behavior. They said, “in the first week, the couple sat practically with their backs to one another. But by the third week, they were sitting together side by side, and were showing each other affection.” It was as though they were newly weds all over again!

As a result of the resurrection of her marriage from the dead, Natalie kept her vow to this very alive and powerful God that she would believe and follow after Him. Today, Natalie and Andre are putting into practice what they learned in the course and together with their children, are faithfully attending the Beit Hillel congregation.

*Names altered for privacy.

Does the Ivanov story sound all too similar to the struggles you are facing in your own marriage? Are you living in what seems to be a hopeless situation? Write to us at info@cbnisrael.org and let us pray with you! We have both seen and heard the great things God has done and we know He desires to do great things for you!

“In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears.”- Psalm 18:6

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God Turns the Impossible Into One Man’s Reality

The debt was so large that no one wanted to help. A gift worth thousands of shekels would be nothing but a drop in the bucket. The *Levy family were hopelessly headed for bankruptcy and the loss of what little they had left.

There are times when the declaration of bankruptcy turns out to be a blessing. Anyone who has ever received forgiveness knows the relief that comes with a clean slate and a chance to start over. But for Nathan Levy, bankruptcy would mean losing everything he had worked for including his license to work. All hope for resolve in his situation was burning out like a well used wick and there was no one he trusted to confide in. 

“In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.”- Psalm 18:6

It was then that Nathan heard of the work of CBN Israel. As he shared with the staff the weight of his situation, his burdens began to feel lighter. For so long debt and hopelessness had brought with it shame and embarrassment. But now, he had someone as determined as he was to see him through this struggle. 

With God, nothing is impossible. As the staff of CBN Israel began to ask the Lord for guidance in how to navigate through what seemed in the natural like an impossible situation, God began to move. A large, anonymous donation came in with specifications to help the Levy family reduce their debt. With this donation came a willingness from several organizations to contribute to the family as well. Altogether, the amount that was given was enough to halt bankruptcy in it’s tracks and allow the Levy family the chance to move forward with hope.

Today, Nathan is putting into practice the things he has learned through this experience and is making better choices with his money. He shared an example, “When I was about to buy something I really didn’t need, my daughter reminded me of what we’ve learned from the staff of CBN Israel and it made me ask myself, ‘do I really need this?’ Many times I don’t and now, I’m willing to walk away without it.” 

Through the work of CBN Israel, hundreds of families have received help in times of crisis and freedom through financial counseling. If you desire to help us make a difference, give a gift today! 

As always, we pray, God bless you!

*Names have been altered for privacy.

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