“All the end of the Earth have seen the saving power of God… Sing joyfully to the LORD all you Lands;
Break into song; sing praise.”
It’s time to wish each of you and your families many Joys and Blessings for the Christmas season! This year I must add my wishes that you are free of the COVID virus and living carefully.
What a strange Christmas 2020 will be! Physically we must be distant from each other, yet may this time of restraints which separate us in one way bring us together in other ways. We still have our cell phones with these devices: skype, zoom, what’s up and viper to keep connected with each other.
In recent years I use this Christmas letter as an opportunity to bring you up-to-date on what has been happening with our programs in Gaza. When the corona hit in mid-March we tried to go on with our programs, but Sabah, our lady who runs the programs there, was detained in Turkey visiting her children and was unable to return to Gaza until September. She ran our programs through Wesel, our social worker, those months when Sabah was away. With the schools closed (they still are closed) we could only care for the sick monthly. Getting funds transferred to our account was another problem as Brother Lorenzo, who makes the monthly transfer, was in Italy on his home visit. The parish priest came to our assistance and he paid the bills at the pharmacy and Lorenzo was able through another aid organization to transfer money to reimburse him. We missed only two months of assisting the sick in receiving their needed medications. The Lord still runs our programs there. He truly loves the people!
When Sabah returned in September, she evaluated the situation. The COVID was so bad in Gaza by then that the pre-schools were not able to open. The virus has struck 35% of the population since March. People stayed at home when they contacted the corona as the hospitals hadn’t the resources to respond to their needs. Whole refugee camps or towns were under lockdown for weeks at a time to control the spread of the virus. For a long time people did not have masks to wear.
We received funds to repair some six homes before the winter rains. The rains would quickly drench families due to faulty roofs. Homes are often without doors and windows; Bathrooms and kitchens are often broken down. Many have handicapped members who sleep on mats on the floor and are soaked when it rains. Our two ladies had already identified with our team the homes which critically needed renovations. Two homes a month have been renovated. You can’t imagine the joy shared in these families now with a safe, hygienic and proper home.
In November we received funding from Al Omri of Germany to feed 100 families for six months. We are so grateful for this funding as most
few cannot find work to assure some food for themselves. We’ve never before seen so many hungry families in Gaza!
The assistance we are able to provide to the very poor is due to your generosity during this critical year and through other years as well. You have been keeping us going through wars and other disasters for many years. Together we can make a difference for many families. Still the Lord seems to come to the aid of these people caught in a very bad situation.
Know that you and your families have top priority as we raise your intentions to the Lord this Christmas. May he care for your every need and keep you healthy!
I’ll add a personal note, I have been missioned to our Hospital in Nazareth to serve the seniors in the geriatric department animating their activities. I’ve already gotten very attached to these women and men who are not so different from the sweet children and young adults with whom I worked in Haifa. Being older myself, I seem to fit right in to this funny bunch. My three sister companions have been welcoming and supportive too.
Love and prayers,
Our team: Bro.Lorenzo, Sr. Julian,
Sr. Sandra, Sr. Frantiska and
See the children’s and mother’s joy
after their home was renovated!