First Fruits by Kim Brunson
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:10, NIV).
The concept of First Fruits was born out of the CFI Jerusalem’s founder’s long held belief in tithing. In the early years of Christian Friends of Israel, formed in December, 1985, CFI tithed on all of its undesignated income to churches and congregations which had already been formed in the Land, some who had been in Israel many years. There were times when established congregations found it hard to function for lack of funding. Others needed musical instruments, electronic equipment, transport vehicles and members had emergency situations which they could not afford to pay. CFI was there for them.
Today many are enjoying the fruit of their labors but still need emergency funding, individual care needs, equipment for services, furniture for apartments, etc. We are happy to do this from our First Fruits fund. There is no difference in our eyes whether someone is a believer from an Arab background, Jewish, Orthodox, Gentiles, a leader or a congregant. The criteria is simply one believes in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as well as Christians who believe in Jesus (Yeshua). Some live in the Old City of Jerusalem and numerous needs come to our attention from north to south in Israel.
We extend this wonderful opportunity to partner with us to strengthen believers in the Land. CFI “makes it possible” for you to personally be a blessing to the Household of Faith in Israel today.
We cannot do what we do, without you!
Contact First Fruits at: firstname.lastname@example.org
October 2020 - Project Update by Kim Brunson
“The Lord, a Provider and the One Who Rescues Me.” Psalm 34:1 (AMP)
This past month prior to the Fall Feast days, the Israeli government imposed a lockdown similar to the one that was imposed prior to Passover this year. Despite having to work from home from late September to Mid-October, the project was able to remain productive in our benevolent support for a wide range of believers in Yeshua in the land once again. Previously, we had assisted a couple in Rishon LeZion with food vouchers and an auto payment. We followed up by assisting the husband with obtaining the needed industrial tool supplies, for him to work in his own business properly and more efficiently in the community. This type of investment is also empowering to a head of household who has suffered loss due to injury, COVID and persecution for his belief in Yeshua. The family is now back on track to be completely self-sufficient. We were also able to provide rent for an Arab Orthodox family that resides in the Shurafat section of the city.
Pending a painful divorce, a lady is residing with her elderly parents and lost her main income along with others in the hotel industry, affected by the loss of incoming tourist revenue. Beyond this, based on her skillset and being fluent in both Arabic and Hebrew, we believe we have set her on a course for one or two positions that will bring future prosperity and influence in the nation as a believer. We were also able to provide supplies for the gardening vendor of a new women’s shelter house in the Beersheba region of the nation. This garden will not only have aesthetic value, but will serve as part of the inner emotional healing that many of the women residing in the home need, following spousal abandonment or physical abuse situations. Sometimes these situations occurred because the wife came to faith in Yeshua or was determined to enter the workforce, or obtain additional training or education to enhance the quality of life for their children, and were discouraged or prevented from doing so. This garden will be growing a lot more than plants or vegetables.
“And other seed fell into good soil, and as the plants grew and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundred times [as much as had been sown].”
Mark 4:8 (AMP)
As we were released from this Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur/Sukkot lockdown, while visiting a ministry family who completed Aliyah from Brazil who we will feature in our next report, we were able to catch up with the Bakkers of Tsur Hadasseh. Last year, in what was a major national news story, the mother of the family lost her father while he was trying to protect her mother from a counseling patient who apparently had a psychotic break. The grandmother resides in the family home now and has recovered from her injuries. This family, (which includes 2 of 4 special needs children) seems to have soldiered through their grief. We enjoyed a hearty Shabbat dinner and I was able to renew some of my grandfather activity with their children at the local playground! First Fruits cultivates relationships! It has been your reliability as donors, volunteers and intercessors that allows us to support and interact with this diverse set of believers from Hungary, Great Britain, the Netherlands, the former Soviet satellite nations and native born Israelis and Arabs! We are privileged to partner with the Father of all, in the care of His creation!
“Through [skilful and godly] wisdom a house [a life, a home, a family] is built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation.” Proverbs 24:3(AMP)
Mr. Kim Brunson
First Fruits Outreach Supervisor
September 2020 - Project Update by Kim Brunson
1 Kings 4:7(AMP)
“Solomon had twelve deputies over all Israel, who secured provisions for the king and his household; each man had to provide for a month in the year.”
“Adonai will order a blessing to be with you in your barns and in everything you undertake; he will bless you in the land Adonai your God is giving you.”
There continues to be challenges to Israelis as the nation tries to manage the COVID virus epidemic. These challenges have been hurdles to overcome for those of us in First Fruits and also within CFI in general. God has been faithful to provide His wisdom in navigating our assistance for those who are believing His promises concerning provision during these testing times. The nation prepares again for a lockdown limiting the ability of citizens to move to and fro beyond acquiring basic needs and essential employment operations.
We have pinpointed the most urgent needs and streamlined our operation to continue to supplement a wide variety of people in Israel’s faith community with resources that will allow them to maintain their households.
One family is headed up by a school teacher of Hungarian descent who had committed his family to relocation, to accommodate the pregnancy of his wife and enlarge the space available to them and all of the other children. We were able to help this man, heavily involved in ministry as well, with rent assistance and food vouchers to compensate for lost time in his capacity at his school.
We were also able to help another family of four that has been affected by the absence of tourist activity, as the husband and wife await word as to whether they will be able to assume roles as athletic coaches in basketball and soccer (football) respectively, once schools resume normal extracurricular activity.
In Netanya, we were pleased to lend food voucher and rent support to a Jewish believer of Moroccan ancestry by way of Belgium, who is caring for his mother who is suffering with a heart condition. He experienced a loss of employment due to a back injury in an auto accident. Before Aliyah, his mother ran two restaurants in Brussels that she closed one day a week for to feed the poor in her community, so she should reap some of the Lord’s care, that she obviously expressed during her years as a business owner. The young man has also pledged to contribute to CFI personally himself, as he will be able to return to work in coming weeks, as he is not accustomed to being a recipient of benevolent assistance and would like someone else in need to experience the generosity of our heavenly Father!
Beyond single family units, CFI was happy to partner with Streams in the Desert, a ministry based in the Beersheva region of Israel, who have really been meeting the needs of forgotten Russian speaking single mothers and “widows”. We supplemented their monthly food stipend to 7 families just in time for the High Holy Day season, where many of us will be shut-in and confined to our homes and towns.
We maintain momentum here because of your efforts in the nations and the generosity of donors who understand that others may actually have needs beyond theirs during these trying times in the earth. God is the provider of Israel. God is the great Husbandman that we can lean into as the Bride and as His partner in the earth.
“He who gives to the poor will lack nothing”
Mr Kim Brunson
First Fruits Outreach Supervisor
August 2020 - Project Update by Kim Brunson
And now I commend you to God [placing you in His protective, loving care] and [I commend you] to the word of His grace [the counsel and promises of His unmerited favor]. His grace is able to build you up and to give you the [rightful] inheritance among all those who are sanctified [that is, among those who are set apart for God’s purpose—all believers.
Helping people put their lives together based on our mutual faith in God’s Messiah Yeshua, this is our heart for individuals, families and congregations in Israel within the First Fruits project at CFI. Recently, with your generous and sacrificial financial support, we have been able to provide chairs for Beresheet Revival Congregation as they took possession of their own space to worship, pray, teach and host ministry activities in Jerusalem. It is the first Hebrew-speaking majority Ethiopian fellowship in the state of Israel. With the vision of the leaders there, it will not be the last, as their intent is to expand to other localities across the entire country.
CFI is pleased to help them at their inception. We were also able to interact with the House of Victory in Haifa, were we had previously provided the property with appliances for the apartment units, for men recovering from addiction. My wife Marcia (Hope for the Future Outreach Coordinator) and I were able to share encouraging teachings with the men that are residing there and afterwards, were able to enjoy a meal of fellowship with these gentlemen, who have committed to walk away from substance abuse into a path of biblical discipleship. One gentleman asked for specific personal prayer from us and exhibited a desire for a more intimate understanding of his value to God and His purpose in life; this was quite a profound interaction.
There were 2 other individual ladies that First Fruits was able to assist during this period of time. One is an émigré from Ukraine who is attempting to leave an abusive relationship via divorce, whose husband is actually incarcerated due to the violent episodes. She has been able to receive food assistance for her household, which includes a severely handicapped child and legal fee support to secure her status as a resident, so that she may remain in the land and prosper. The other is a young Domari girl from the Old City attending an Arab Christian college who aspires to become a human rights attorney, actually advocating for women across the earth who are experiencing a similar situation as the first lady that we are assisting, to a much more pervasive and serious degree.
We were also able to assist her household with food and support her daily transportation to and from her campus, which is just beyond the “green line,” where the commute options are limited, and where attendance is so central to success in her studies.
As diverse as the body of believers is within Israel, we are able to funnel resources that you entrust us with, in a manner, which is acceptable to the King. We will continue to look for the most effective methods to encourage followers of Messiah, whether it is with ministry, scripture, conversation or substance on your behalf because we know you love Israel as much as we do here, mostly because God is particular about Israel!
God gives them security, and they are supported; And His eyes are on their ways.
Mr. Kim Brunson
First Fruits Outreach Supervisor