Arab children in Bethlehem receive Christmas presents from the ICEJ
Restoring hope at Christmas by DAVID PARSONS
Normally, Christmas is a time of year when the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is busy helping to spread some seasonal light and cheer around Israel with our traditional holiday distributions. However, this effort took on a whole new dimension in mid-December when a massive winter storm struck Israel, dumping a half-meter of snow on Jerusalem and higher elevations and wreaking havoc across the country. The storm was considered unprecedented in Israel for the record amounts of snowfall over a three-day period, which was accompanied by high winds and freezing temperatures. Damage was extensive throughout the country, as strong winds and flooding also impacted the coastal areas. The nation is not used to such severe winter weather and struggled to get back to normal. Our Embassy building itself suffered damage from fallen trees and water leaks. We also received urgent requests from several Christian ministries across the land for help in recovering in time to bring some joy back into Christmas. For instance, the Little Hearts day-care center in Jerusalem, which caters to Jewish and Arab believing families, asked for help in repairing the playground used by its children. A large canopy covering the playground was completely destroyed by the snow and wind and now needs replacing, while much of the playground equipment was crushed under the weight of snow and debris. Elsewhere, the largest Evangelical church in Bethlehem informed us that the storm caused a number of roof leaks in their church compound, with more than half the rooms in the complex affected. As a result, the electrical power in most of the building was shorted out and needs repair. Besides these types of structural damage, there were also many families in need of heaters and blankets to combat the unusually cold weather this winter. So we sent out an urgent appeal for extra funds ahead of Christmas, and want to thank all those who responded so
Storm damage to the playground of Little Hearts Day-care center
generously. This allowed us to help people recover from the massive storm just in time to restore some hope for Christmas. Of course, we were able to carry out our normal distributions of Christmas presents, with gift packages going to nearly 600 children in Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jericho and Jerusalem's Old City. This included presents for 25 disabled Arab children residing at a special home in Bethlehem.
dozens of Jewish and Arab families stuck in their homes due to the heavy snowfall. We will also help cover the costs of repairing the playground at the Little Hearts day-care and at other damaged Christian properties in Israel. Finally, earlier in December, the ICEJ helped sponsor a number of Hanukkah celebrations for Holocaust survivors, Israeli orphans, Ethiopian immigrant families and IDF 'lone soldiers'.
In addition, ICEJ AID provided warm blankets and heaters to 30 Arab families in need this Christmas.
This means your donations are always at work doing good in the land and giving the testimony of Jesus.
In storm-related outreaches, the ICEJ worked with a local storehouse to distribute food to
So give today on-line at: www.icej.org/aid/icej-aid
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Word From Jerusalem Magazine - January/February 2014