We’ve all heard the horrific news coming out of Israel. The violence and destruction have spared no one: men, women, and children. We’ve seen entire neighborhoods, schools, and even a hospital completely destroyed. Like you, all of us at LiveBeyond are devastated by the daily reports. Despite the obstacles, we stand firm in our resolve to continue serving LiveBeyond’s West Bank community to the best of our ability.
It is a nightmare as old as time, with the initial conflict beginning when the State of Israel was created in 1948, triggering the first Arab-Israeli War. According to Global Conflict Tracker,
“The war ended in 1949 with Israel’s victory, but 750,000 Palestinians were displaced, and the territory was divided into 3 parts: the State of Israel, the West Bank (of the Jordan River), and the Gaza Strip.”
In 2006, the Islamic Resistance Movement known as Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip and has been ruling it since that time. The Associated Press states Hamas has vowed to “annihilate Israel.” On Oct. 7, they moved forward with that plan by brutally attacking Israel. With a declaration of war, Israel retaliated.
Our LiveBeyond community sits on Israel’s West Bank, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The people we serve, with support from our donors, are just trying to survive. Life was a daily hardship even before the war. Now it is abominable. Most have nowhere to run, hide, or get food and water. Thousands on both sides of the conflict have died, been critically injured, and kidnapped, with no imminent end in sight. We want to say we can protect our precious LiveBeyond community. We cannot. But with God’s grace and funding from our kind-hearted donors, we will persevere in supporting LiveBeyond’s West Bank community.
First, it’s important to understand the culture in this impoverished area where people are struggling to survive. Pregnant women have little or no access to healthcare, resulting in a high infant and maternal mortality rate. Many babies are born with disabilities. Due to extreme poverty, children with disabilities are often viewed as a hindrance and therefore ostracized by society. There is no money for treatment or therapy; no time to attend to their special needs. Many go without education or even simple physical therapy that could improve their quality of life.
Handicap International targeted this issue in an article titled “Disability-Inclusive Education in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Citing data from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the article shows that boys and children without disabilities are far more likely to have access to education. “About 46% of children with disabilities aged 6-17 years are not enrolled in education (51% in West Bank and 43% in Gaza).”
At LiveBeyond, we believe those statistics are unacceptable.
In 2022, LiveBeyond expanded its Johnny’s Kids program into the West Bank at the request of both Israeli and Palestinian authorities. Funded by donations, we provide:
– Physical, occupational, and speech therapy, along with education, to children with disabilities.
– Free eyesight screening clinic for all of the Johnny’s Kids Israel students and anyone in the community.
– Summer camp for Johnny’s Kids children.
And for parents:
– A mothers day out for moms of children in the Johnny’s Kids program.
– Bible studies and support groups for parents.
As our Arab-Christian staff provides faith-based care to members of this community, LiveBeyond has witnessed remarkable results. With physical therapy and assistive devices, children who have been unable to walk have increased mobility. This is life-changing! They can move about their homes, go outside, and attend school. Their newfound abilities have the added benefit of positively impacting their mental and emotional health.
LiveBeyond staff have also noted remarkable shifts among the parents of the children we serve. Mothers and fathers are coming to know the Lord through Bible studies and support groups. Even more remarkable, some of our parents and children have invited the Lord into their hearts, resulting in baptism!
Our work in this fragile community has become far more challenging since the war began. We hope you will join us in prayer and by donating to support LiveBeyond’s end-of-year goals. These include:
– Expanding LiveBeyond Child Health Programs.
– Broadening child health and disability services in underserved communities.
– Medical care and physical therapy.
– Food and nutrition provisions for mothers, children, and their families.
Our commitment to the West Bank LiveBeyond community is stronger than ever. Many of you share our heartache as well as our resolve. As Christians, we believe there is no enemy God can’t defeat; no situation too big for Him to handle. We are called to help those in need, and we will do so with prayer and steadfast determination.
Will you join us? Your donation will pay for food, supplements, and healthcare desperately needed by mothers and children in this war-torn nation. Your prayers will do what only prayers can do: speak to our all-powerful, loving God who is still in the business of performing miracles.
Peace may seem inconceivable amidst the chaos and horror taking place today, but we resolutely believe Jesus who said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
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