Blog

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!

Read more

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]

 

Read more

CBN Israel Holds Seminar for Ex-Soldiers

Many of today’s young adults are lacking one very important aspect in their upbringing: A mentor. With single parent homes becoming more common and school systems leaving out entirely the education for practical living, many of today’s youth are crying out for someone who can lead them.

On Wednesday, November 16th, CBN Israel was given that opportunity. Our staff was invited by Lech Lecha, an organization for ex-soldiers, to offer financial and spiritual counsel.  10 people came. They were very thankful, had so many questions, and voiced how much this kind of teaching really helps them!

Rarely are today’s youth taught how the banking systems work, or what kind of problems will arise if they don’t learn how to control their cravings and save for the things they want in life. This world is constantly trying to tempt us to buy everything out there. But we cannot afford to give in to this temptation. We must be wise with our spending and diligent in our work.  

img-20161120-wa0002-2We are representatives of Yeshua, not only in how we behave towards others, but how we use our money. We should not think only about giving God 10% of our increase. We should think that 100% of what we have belongs to Him because we belong to Him.  We serve Him well when we ask Him for wisdom in financial matters. We honor Him when we resist the temptation to spend our money on things that we do not need. 

 

We ought not to think that we can be irresponsible and frivolous and then expect God to bless us because He is gracious. We need to use the wisdom He has already given us in His word so that we can glorify Him. The Bible says, “Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.”– Proverbs 10:4.

Since 70% of all divorces are a result of poor financial choices, our staff warned the soldiers that now is the time to put good habits in place. Though there will be times of difficulties and struggles, those who continue to walk with God and apply the wisdom that He has given in His word will reap a good reward.

These young men and women need our prayers. Please join us in praying that God would keep them on His path of wisdom and help them to make right decisions with their lives.  May it be for His glory and their great joy! 

Thank you for standing with us and please consider supporting what we do.  

God bless you!

Read more