Serving Local Families in a Bomb Shelter
On May 13, 2011, I boarded a plane and headed to Israel, something I have desired to do for 20 years. The deciding factor for making this epic journey was having the privilege and opportunity to travel with Mr. and Mrs. Rosenberg and The Joshua Fund staff. Words cannot express how this journey has forever changed my spiritual life. There were so many highlights, but one that stood out for me was the trip to Sderot. This small little town has been the recipient of thousands of missile strikes from Gaza. Many of the citizens that had the financial resources have left the area, but many less fortunate people have been left behind. They live day in and day out in fear of injury or death from an exploding bomb. When I first took in the sights of Sderot, I saw what I thought were bus stops, but later learned they were bomb shelters. A sad and sobering reality as to what the daily life is for this community.
I, along with about 45 other tour participants, had the rare privilege of serving some of these local families during our project day. Due to the constant threat of danger, the provisions were given out in a building that could withstand a missile attack - another reminder of danger that not only the citizens face, but so do the volunteers. On this particular day, we set up a food distribution line. The first item they received was a small hand cart with wheels. As they proceeded forward, they went to several food stations where they received flour, salt, sugar, coffee, canned vegetables, and other varieties of food. They also received some plastic bowls and other small kitchen necessities. All these items were placed in the hand cart so the community members could easily walk back to their homes. Despite the fact I could not communicate with the men and women who walked down the food line, I smiled so big I thought my heart would burst. Some women allowed me to give them a hug or hold their hand. The touch and smile broke through all language barriers. I believe they knew how much I genuinely cared for them. The Lord can touch their hearts with His love in all circumstances!
Just before we left the city, my tour bus stopped at a local fast food restaurant. As God would have it, a quiet Jewish man named Simon was sitting at a table with three open seats. He allowed my two friends and me to sit down with him. After a brief introduction, Simon learned we were Christians from the United States who love Israel and the epicenter region. He was deeply touched and had no idea there were people like us. We told Simon there were millions of Christians that love Israel and are praying for their peace. He had no idea and actually started to tear up. I have no doubt that the Lord will multiply our conversation when Simon shares with other local citizens about how much we support them!