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Sophie’s Miracle

“I couldn’t believe my mother found me after the war. I couldn’t. It is a real miracle.”

Sophie opened our meeting with a big smile on her face. She said her life is a testimony to God’s intervention.

Sophie was born in Latvia on the day that World War II began. When she was only a few months old, the Nazi’s started bombing Latvia from the Baltic sea. Over time, the bombing reached Sophie’s house and they were forced to evacuate.

Sophie’s father was recruited to join the war in the Baltic sea. He died a few days later.

A good Samaritan took Sophie’s mother in and hid her in the basement.

A week went by and, a neighbor informed the Nazis of their whereabouts.  The morning after Sophie was separated from her mother. The Nazis had taken her to an orphan home to be a part of experiments conducted by the Nazi doctors.

Sophie’s mother worked in the camps and was raped daily by the guards, but she never gave up.  She promised herself that she would survive the war and find her daughter.

Meanwhile, Sophie and other babies who were cruelly separated from their parents were injected with various shots and tested on like lab rats.

Every day babies died from the experiments, the unbelievably cold weather, hunger, and lack of human warmth and care.

At the end of the war, when the Soviet army conquered its territories back and freed the camps, Sophie’s mother started her journey of looking for her daughter, who was then a 5-year-old girl.

Thanks to the Red Cross, she found Sophie.

In the 1970s, Sophie and her husband received their documents and finally immigrated to the Land of their Forefathers.

Today, Sophie is a part of the Holocaust survivor’s center in the city Carmiel.

She is an active member who helps other survivors like herself as well as receives the necessary help that she needs.  

She says that being a Holocaust survivor, old and lonely is a burden. Not being able to buy food and medicine and live on only the ridiculous pension is not possible.

CBN Israel is an active supporter of the Holocaust survivor’s center and its ministry.

“The people who run the center are the kindest people I have ever met. For me, the love, care, and compassion they show is nowhere to be found. I could not but wonder what is this endless light that shines through them,” Sophie said with a big smile on her face.

Sophie continuously thanked CBN Israel and all its supporters for their generosity. She wishes everyone good health and, says CBN Israel is the reason she and many others like her, have hope and someone to care for them and their basic needs.

May God bless you abundantly. 

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The Alpha Course

Life as a new immigrant is not without its share of difficulties, attempting to learn a new language and attempting to integrate and become accustomed to a new culture. Yet, CBN Israel has a number of programs to help new immigrants with these challenges they face. One such program is the Alpha Course. The Alpha Course is a course where families come together to learn about the History of Israel, Israeli traditions and culture. 

 

“Being a new immigrant is very difficult, but thanks to the “Alpha course” I can now learn about the history of Israel in-depth, as well as, participate in traditional Shabbat dinner,” said one participant. 

 

Taking part in some of the traditions and customs help new immigrant families to feel they are a part of the nation and its traditions. 

Our partners in the city of Ramla began organizing these meetings, providing food, materials, and resources for what these families need to know and study to help make this transition easier. 

 

“Many of the new immigrant families are lonely and except for “Ulpan”, Hebrew language school, there are no additional programs to help the absorption process, meet new people, and form relationships. 

 

A majority of the participants in this program come from secular backgrounds in they are not connected to any religious or believing community, yet, with the Alpha Course, we are able to reach their hearts and share with them the Good News. 

 

Many of the families who have taken part in this course are now attending a local congregation and few have received Christ as their Lord and Savior. 

 

Thanks to your generous donations and support, we are able to provide monthly financial assistance to our partners in Ramla who are working hard to help new immigrants through the “Alpha course.”

 

May the Lord bless you and your family.

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Mikhail’s Story of Salvation

Through your faithful support and our partners in the south, we are able to distribute food supplies for families who have just immigrated to the country and are finding it difficult to adjust to life in Israel.

Mikhail and his family immigrated to Israel almost a year ago. And, like every family who just moves to a new country, there are difficulties with learning a new language and culture. Mikhail has been trying to provide his family with the most basic needs of food and supplies.

As a result of not being able to provide his family’s needs, he began drinking, and his family began to fall apart. Life seemed like it was going in the wrong direction.
Our partners in the south heard about Mikhail’s situation and immediately paid he and his family a visit. Bringing some food and other things his family needed.

Mikhail was amazed by how our partners cared for his situation and wanted to know more about the love he felt from them. Through the love and prayers of our follow-up workers, Mikhail received Jesus as his Lord and Savior, time went by, and Mikhail testifies to how the Lord has changed his heart and has allowed him to become a godly husband and father through his walk with Jesus.

Today his family attends a congregation in the city he lives in and continues to receive monthly support from CBN Israel.

Thank you for your generosity and faithful support of our ministry here in Israel. May your life be filled with the love of God.

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A Great Testimony, Visit with Alina

As part of our food distribution program, our team in the south meet many Holocaust survivors, and other elderly people who don’t have the ability to provide themselves with the basic need of food. 

Our partners working in the south of Israel went to visit Alina, a dear 80-year-old woman, which resulted in a powerful testimony of a divine appointment.  

Alina had undergone several surgeries throughout the years and was so debilitated that she was unable to lift more than a kilogram. Our team visited her in her apartment with food and other essentials, which touched her deeply to know people cared that much. The team spent some time with her in fellowship and getting to know her further. 

She told us how she had immigrated to Israel from the Ukraine nearly 20 years ago and that it was a dream come true for her as a Jewish woman to return to the Land of her forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

The presence of the Lord was tangible at that point that Alina couldn’t help but be touched by the Holy Spirit. She then opened up and shared how during one of her many surgeries she died clinically. She remembers that she left her body and could see her own body from above, she then remembers how she suddenly saw the world from on high, saying how she felt an incredible light all around her and a feeling of complete peace, but then in an instant she was brought back and she found herself back in her body in the recovery room after the surgery. 

This precious lady has now come into newness of life in Jesus, full of strength and hunger to know her Savior more intimately. We gifted her with an audio Bible and she is thoroughly enjoying it! 

It is truly a moment out of time, when God comes and meets one person, in their own home, not because of who they are, but because of who He is – a faithful and loving God.

We want to thank you deeply for the faithful and on-going support you provide us with. You are a great part of the biggest changes in people’s lives all over the Land of Israel. 

May you be filled with the presence and the blessings of our Father. 

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Helping the Residents in Sderot

Despite the number of missiles launched from Gaza into Israel, CBN Israel’s partners in Sderot continue their faithful ministry to the people who have suffered from significant attacks on their homes, businesses, and properties. 

 

The people of Sderot are living under constant attack and as a result, deal with various types of psychological trauma, as well as financial problems caused by the security situation. 

 

Sderot became a ghost town after many citizens fled this war zone, leaving many local businesses without workers and clients. 

 

The team working Sderot managed to provide psychological treatment and support for several people of differing ages. They supplied them with diapers which, in pursuance of their mental state, were, and still are very much needed.

 

An incredible story came to our knowledge about a family who fell apart following the security situation, and the mental weight it brought to their relationship. After receiving the proper psychological care, the family was restored and began attending the local congregation. 

 

We are beyond grateful for the support to enable us to help this local congregation in the south of Israel to serve those in their communities. Because of it,  great work that is being done here in the land of Israel.

 

May the light of our Savior shine upon you and your families.

 

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Supporting Single Mothers

School is out and we are in the middle of summer break. It is difficult for a parent to both work and take care of their child. As a result, our single mothers are struggling.

The government doesn’t provide a summer education program, and the private school’s system is unreasonably expensive.

Our “single mother’s” department is busier than usual as single mothers continue to call and ask for help with the basic need of feeding their children.

We are doing everything there is to be done, to provide these wonderful mothers with the help they need, by giving food coupons and other necessary supplies.

Thank you for standing in prayer with us, and for your commitment to our ministry, you are the ones who make it all possible. To partner with us and help these single mothers, click here.

May the Lord bless you and your families.

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The End from the Beginning

ELY Israel has had the privilege of aiding and supporting many new immigrants to Israel, especially those with unstable family situations and are facing crisis. We are privileged to act as the hands and feet of Messiah for vulnerable women and children through our Families Department. For many of these women who live in Israel, or have been through grueling circumstances to immigrate (make Aliyah), their future feels so unsure, but many find faith through the small acts that ELY can provide to know that God has a plan for them, for He “declares the end from the beginning”.

A recent testimony from one of the single mothers ELY has provided on-going assistance for was especially striking, as her whole journey was riddled with unknowns for her and her family. A few years ago, M made Aliyah to Israel with her young child. She was Jewish, but only on her paternal side, therefore her elderly mother was forced to remain in their home-country in Eastern Europe. The separation was agonizing, but everyone agreed it was necessary for M and her son to have a chance at a leading a better life. Time passed, and M received word that her mother had fallen seriously ill, and was at severe risk alone. In a panic, M made arrangements for her mother to be brought to Israel for better medical care. The stress of her condition became so heavy, as M was forced to take out loans to finance her mothers’ treatment. In the end, the financial debt she accumulated and the emotional burden was too much, so M, her mother and child made the fateful decision to return to their country of origin without future prospects to return to Israel.

Their hearts were broken to leave the land they loved, but feared that if they returned to Israel the debt M had accrued there would be crushing, and she may even be at risk of arrest if she reentered the country. However, as time passed, M realized she was willing to take the gamble, as she would rather sit in jail than never return to Israel. With only her faith propelling her forward, she knew the Lord had put Israel on her heart for a reason, and that His provision would be her solace. She thanks God that she was never arrested, but M still faced problems of finding work to pay down her debt. Once again she found herself facing the brink of no longer being able to remain in Israel when she was contacted by an ELY representative who delivered a miraculous message. ELY Israel wished to stand alongside M, to assist with her debt, help her prosper and provide for her family.

Immediate support included gift cards and vouchers for her to pay for food and necessities. It was the first month in such a long time that M did not have to worry about affording basic needs after her monthly debt portion had been paid off. Secondly, ELY Israel contracted a lawyer to advise M with her financial issues, and with the help of God, she was absolved of her debt within the year! Once she was out of crisis ELY Israel did not dissert her, instead they invested in M’s future with career counseling, which led to her receiving a scholarship for a tourism and travel agent training course. Today M is at the end of her studies, and is already working in her field of choice! She says that she feels the ultimate success was that she not only can provide for herself and her child with dignity, but she has also been liberated from emotional and financial burden. She is a living testimony of faith and liberation for at-risk women who see no realistic way of getting out of their current circumstances. M’s deepest appreciation goes to ELY Israel for “seeing my problems in all of their complexity, and helping to lift me out of my lowest point”. It is difficult to see that the Lord has a plan and a path to deliver us from our most difficult life circumstances, but with an abounding faith, and employees to show God’s love to those who are struggling, women like M have found better futures in the Holy Land.

 

(Names altered for privacy purposes)

 

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Celebrating Service – Lone Soldier Open-House

The Lord promised the Israelites in Genesis 12:2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing”. With every year that has passed since 1948, Israel has celebrated its independence as a truly great nation. Israelis have always viewed the prosperity of their modern state as God making good on His promise, dating back to the Exodus, to prosper the Israelites. Independence is something that no Israeli takes for granted, especially as this holiday is preceded by Memorial Day 24 hours beforehand. With the looming memory of those who have fallen in the line of duty defending Israel, it is of extra importance to celebrate and honor those in active duty in the IDF. For this reason, CBN Israel was proud to both celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) and host the first open-house event at the new home for Lone Soldiers in the greater-Jerusalem area. This project has been months in the planning, months of execution, organizing and cultivating both the physical home space and the community cohort that will be its first inhabitants.

The celebration was a momentous occasion for residents to proudly show off the home to their friends and families, many of whom traveled from abroad to visit and support them. Soldiers proudly gave tours of the 4-floored building, giving special attention to each room, which was decorated by each house member in their own unique style. Now that pictures have been hung, the kitchen filled, and the initial 5 bedrooms all occupied, the home is something to behold. One resident stated in a self-guided tour that, “you can really sense that it is a ‘home’ for us, and not just a house. All week we sleep on closed bases, 10 or 15 to a room, so getting to come back to a huge porch with a panoramic view, a home-cooked meal, and our own beds is something very important”.

Around 70 people attended the event! The day began with an introduction and explanation on the home’s goals and purpose by ELY’s national director, followed by prayer for the success and continuation of the home. He stated the types of support ELY is providing, including: subsidized rent and meal costs, community programming, and logistical support for acquiring lone soldier benefits. Then everyone enjoyed a catered meal together on the house’s expansive balcony. It was a joyous festivity, and an amazing opportunity to watch active and former lone soldiers, ELY staff, and friends and family from near and far, connect over their common goal of supporting these young people in their military service.

Please help us pray for the success of the home for lone soldiers! We pray for a cohesive community, who are blessed to be a blessing during their military service, and to cultivate an environment of peace and rest amidst the obstacles they may face in their time of duty. Please also help us pray for Israel; that it will continue to be a ‘great nation’, as God called it to be; and that as the hands and feet of Jesus in the Land, that we may serve lone soldiers and other communities in need with the abundant love of Yeshua. From the staff of CBN Israel, and residents, friends, and families of the home for lone soldiers, we say thank you!

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The True Meaning of ‘Home’: Idan’s Story

What is the true meaning of home? For 18-year-old Idan, this word has meant many things throughout his life. After his parents’ divorce and a series of familial difficulties, he was processed through the Israeli Welfare Ministry, facing many moves between permanent and temporary housing. He found himself living alone as a minor after being subject to many family struggles. On the eve of one of the Jewish holy days, he was invited by a local family to join their holiday meal, and from that evening forward, Idan proceeded to live under the Levy family’s care for the 3 years that followed. However, now that he has graduated from high school, he will follow his peers in his mandatory army service in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). He will serve in the navy, and live during the week on a closed base.

Because Idan was never officially adopted by his foster family and has now reached the legal age of emancipation from the foster-care system, he is considered a “lone soldier”. This status is usually reserved for new-immigrant international Jews who go through the ‘Aliyah’ or immigration process and serve in the IDF while their families remain in their country of origin, however, there are special cases such as Idan’s where this classification is granted to native-born Israelis as well. Lone soldiers are allotted certain benefits such as a living stipend, time off for family visits, and other supports to try to mitigate the difficulty of completing their service without family support. However, despite these strides to offer greater assistance to lone soldiers, often the struggles they face are still too steep, and many are forced to return to their home country, slip into depression, or in some cases have even been known to take their own lives. There is a great need for this population to find a place they can truly call “home” during their service, and CBN Israel felt called to fill this void. CBN recently rented a large home in the greater-Jerusalem area, to support lone soldiers of different life circumstances. The home will eventually house up to 10 soldiers and 2 house-parents and will give highly subsidized rates for rent, food, bills, and other expenses. The home will also be a space for structured programming to offer the soldiers a sense of community to come home to.

Idan said that he prayed to God to prosper him in the next season of his life, as he knew his emancipation date from the foster system was drawing near. When asked about his next step after high school, he would tell people that he was believing for a home for lone soldiers like himself, where he could find community and a permanent home during his service. He even thought of starting one by himself. Therefore, when Idan heard that this was exactly what CBN Israel was trying to provide, he says that he was very eager to join the project, and help build it from the ground up. “I was so happy and I knew that I was destined to go there”, he said in the early stages, even before a home had been rented, or any other soldiers had signed on to live there. When asked about why this type of program is an important option for lone soldiers, Idan stated, “People want to feel safe and understood, to seek out support from people with common challenges, even though they come from all different backgrounds. A home for lone soldiers can easily become a real family for those without”. He also added that there is a need to honor those who travel across the world, and potentially risk their lives to serve Israel – “I believe that such projects [as this one] need to operate in a wider range of areas, to help as many lone soldiers as possible. At the end of the day, lone soldiers do not normally come home to warm hugs, a listening ear, or people to reaffirm them in their faith. They also must face the struggles of adulthood alone in terms of the financial burden and home responsibilities that their families would otherwise support them in”. It is with the support of foundational participants like Idan that the home for lone soldiers is now up and running!

Idan also recently returned from a pre-army trip to an orphanage in Kenya, where he says he “took 40 children into his heart as new brothers and family”, and says he is eager to return to these children after his army service. Idan’s commitment to helping build a sense of “home” for so many people is what makes him such an inspiring presence in this program. Whether it is for soldiers who traveled across the world to serve Israel, or the children Idan hopes to cross the world for after his service, “home” is a feeling that Idan has learned to take with him, and it is something CBN hopes to provide for many more needy soldiers in the future. If you are invested in stories, such as Idan’s, and other residents of CBN’s lone soldier home, please consider partnering with us today to ensure the continuation of this project for inspiring young people. From everyone at CBN and the lone soldiers we support, we say, “thank you”!

[Name(s) have been changed for privacy purposes]

 

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A Renewal for the Spring Season – Single Mothers’ Gathering

As Spring begins to bloom across Israel, flowers peek out from behind a long winter’s frost and animals rise from their deep slumber. From biblical to modern times, Spring has always symbolized renewal and reawakening. The Jews celebrate the coming of Pesach/Passover when God liberated His chosen people from their enslavement in Egypt, and through their Exodus, they wandered for 40 years in the desert until they renewed their identity as free people. For Christian Believers, this is also a season of renewal as Jesus’ miraculous resurrection is the ultimate symbol of revitalization in both body and spirit. However, for many disadvantaged women, there are few opportunities to see themselves outside of the role that society and their life circumstances have placed them in.

Across Israel, CBN works with different congregations to bring together groups of widows, single mothers, and victims of abuse in different cities to create a space of fellowship to share their common struggles and build a community of support. This past week, CBN Israel hosted a group of Jerusalem Believers for a seasonal dinner to share a meal and connect as the Spring season approaches. There were 35 women in attendance, many of whom have been present at previous events as well. The women were gathered to sing worship together, enjoy a meal, pray in small and larger groups, receive food vouchers for the coming season to support their families, and receive teaching on the renewal of one’s identity in faith.

The teaching was based on the Old Testament book/Megillah Song of Solomon. From Chapter 1 through 8 this book follows a woman who undergoes a transformation in self-perception, and this is exactly what the CBN Israel staff tried to inspire in the attendees of this event. The woman at the beginning of the passage is described as dark due to sun exposure from tending to her brother’s vineyard and neglecting her own – Look not upon me, that I am swarthy, that the sun hath tanned me; my mother’s sons were incensed against me, they made me keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept’ (Song of Solomon 1:6). We can see that she forgoes self-prosperity for neglect, and lives into the role that was set for her. Her identity is conflicted though, as she describes herself as beautiful like ‘the tent of Solomon’, yet she knows she is viewed in contempt by her brothers and is described as dark and gloomy. In Chapter 2 we can see how the Spring season brings in transformation, as her newfound beloved calls her out of her hiding place, wishes to hear and see her, and wishes for her to be visible to all.

The teaching shows that it is easy to become this woman; A woman that sees herself through the lens of others or gets stuck in her own self-perception. However, we can choose what kind of mirror to look through, and the truest reflection is found through the lens in which God sees us. Life is a journey of balancing these different views, and at last in Chapter 3 the woman is shown as having a renewed way of describing herself. She speaks to her own strength as a border wall, and how she has become “[…] in his eyes like one bringing contentment”. Lastly, the woman states, “my own vineyard is mine to give”.

The teaching clearly had a large effect on the women of the event, as many were moved to reevaluate what lens they viewed themselves through, and how in this new season they may feel empowered to seek His lens first, how they may prosper their own fruit of transformation in their lives, and how they may seek to be a strong figure through the love of God. CBN hopes to bless more disenfranchised women throughout the country to begin a season of renewal in the Lord. It is through your support and partnership with CBN Israel that events for female empowerment such as this one can take place within the local Body of Messiah. From the CBN Israel staff and the beneficiaries we support, we say “thank you”!   

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