Open Gates by Tina Danilevski
We have started a new season in the project “Open Gates”.
For about 35 years CFI has been giving clothes to new immigrants. The numbers of visitors and staff members have changed during this time but the distribution center was always there to help with clothing.
Now our place looks different. There are tables and shelves instead of racks. Instead of clothes we see brand new electric devices and other household items. New immigrants can visit us one time and receive from us a so called “welcome basket”. It means that they can shop in our store, choose items they like for an amount that we tell them. We have certain rules to determine the amount of “money” for each visitor.
The new immigrants come to our Store by an appointment. We have a little talk with them before they shop. We explain to them who we are and why we want to give them a gift. They should know that there are Christians from all over the world who are praying for Israel and who want to bless the Jewish nation in different ways. We also ask some questions about their Aliyah Process and about their new life in the Land. Some of our visitors are more than willing to share their stories.
Sometimes we host a group from an absorption center, where new immigrants are living after making Aliyah. We make a little event for them including shopping in our store. Social workers of those centers take care of choosing the families who come. We prefer to give our gifts to those who need them most.
There have been immigrants from different backgrounds at our place. Our “welcome baskets” have been received with gratefulness. Here are some words that our visitors have written in our guest book:
“Thank you so much for your wonderful gifts! It is difficult indeed for the new citizens in Israel to start their life all over again, especially if you are not by yourself but you have children. Your support warms our hearts and helps us to believe that we will have a wonderful life here in the Holy Land.” Olga
“May Adonai bless all the people who are working to help Jewish people and us “olim hadashim”. Thanks for your support and for your precious time of life that you spend doing it.” Taliah
“It was unexpected and so pleasant to receive love and care through Christian Friends of Israel! We thank you for loving the nation of Israel!” Marat and Tatiana
“I greatly thank your organization for caring for the immigrants who have just arrived to the Land. It is invaluable, when somebody is holding your hands during the most difficult period. I wish that you always will have such an opportunity to help people. Be healthy and successful!” Irina
Project Open Gates April Report: By Tiina Danilevski
Our CFI distribution center is open and new immigrants are coming in week after week. Yesterday we had one young family from Northern Israel here. Denis and Mariana made Aliyah about three years ago and now are expecting their first child to be born in June. They were in great need of baby clothing. Their friends told them about CFI, and not in vain. We found a lot of good quality things for the baby. Mariana was amazed as she did not expect to get so many beautiful items at once. It is always so special, when a couple is choosing clothes for their first child. You can feel the happiness and excitement in the air, when a husband and a wife are looking at the beautiful little items and imagining their own child in it. Our distribution center has plenty of baby clothing, and our clients can take from that abundance “as much as they can carry”. Mariana told me that she and her husband were worried, because they did not have enough money to buy everything they needed for the baby’s arrival. When they left our building, they were totally released from those “dark clouds”. It was a blessed moment for us all.
Today we had a single mother with a teenager daughter. They were picking out clothes for about an hour and a half. I could see that this family was also in need. They really enjoyed shopping and found good clothes for the coming summer. The mother told me that her daughter has been growing very fast this year and almost everything she wears has become too short. You need a lot of money to buy new clothes here in Israel and so again the distribution center was a great help and blessing to another family.
There are so many different and interesting people that visit us every day. Some of them are musicians. This week we found a suit for a new immigrant who plays in an orchestra. Last week another client, after he had chosen some colorful shirts and other interesting items for himself, sang and played the guitar for us.
Thank you for being part of this ministry.
God bless you and keep you in Yeshua’s name!
Tiina Danilevski Project Supervisor
Project Open Gates March Report: By Tiina Danilevski
Greetings from the CFI distribution center!
I am excited to tell you that the lockdown is over and we are able to receive people again here in our place. The restrictions allow only one person to be served at a time. So the amount of the clients is not a lot for one day. But I am happy that we are open, as well as for the different individuals that came in this week. Everybody has found something good for himself or herself.
We had a family who made Aliyah from Colombia – religious Jews. It was a pleasure to give them both clothes and bedding; especially the 5 and 6 year-old daughters got a lot of warm and beautiful things for themselves.
Another family was from Peru. They live in Beersheva at the moment. The little twin boys did not come in, but both of the parents took care of them very well. The mother found clothes for the boys and the father took a huge rabbit to make his sons happy. This family doesn’t speaks any Hebrew yet, only Spanish. I managed to communicate with the mother without a common language, and one of our Spanish speaking volunteers came just in time to the DC and helped the father with shopping. God is good!
Today it was snowing in Jerusalem. One Russian speaking family was not afraid of the difficulties on the road. They came in the morning and found a lot of good quality items for themselves. You could see that they didn’t have too many clothes although they have been already two years in the Land.
I can feel the gratefulness of these people when they leave our building. Thank God that we as Christians have this opportunity to bless new immigrants in Jerusalem. Next week’s calendar is already full of appointments. Some of the clients who come have just arrived to Israel. Isn’t it exciting! God is on the move!
”…Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.” Ezekiel 11:17
Let’s keep going in this good work!
Project Open Gates February Report: By Tiina Danilevski
Greetings from the CFI distribution center!
This year in Israel started with another lockdown. We are not allowed to have any visitors at our place at the moment so the appointments have been canceled. It is sad, because there is a need for clothing in many families. People are calling and asking, when they can come. I hope we can start to serve people in February, if not earlier.
Despite everything we have a lot of things to do at our place. There are still hundreds of boxes to be sorted. I am very thankful for the container that we got in November. We have found a lot of good items for the new immigrants already. Sometimes it feels like Christmas, when you are opening the boxes.
I had an interview with a young immigrant, who visited us just before the lockdown. She is a good example of a quick decision to start a new life in Israel.
Where do you come from? What is your family background?
I come from Brazil. My family traces way back to Germany, Conservative/Reform background
Were you always aware or your Jewishness? Did it play a big role in your life, when you were growing up?
Yes, and yes.
Did you have any family members in Israel before you came here?
When did you start to think about moving to Israel? What was the main reason for you to make Aliyah?
It was a rather impulsive decision. I finished college, didn’t know exactly what to do next and came for a semester of yeshiva. Covid struck right then and I stayed.
Was is easy or was is very difficult to come to the Land?
It’s always difficult to emigrate to a new country.
How about your family members and relatives? Are they thinking about coming here?
What is the best thing in Israel? What is the worst?
Jerusalem is the best thing in Israel. Managing politics and conflict are the worst.
What are you doing now? What plans do you have for your future in the Land?
I’m just living, working, studying etc. I plan on starting my M.A. degree this year, and who knows what’s next…
What are you afraid of?
Never learning Hebrew!
This lady was in need of warm clothes. Thank God that
we were there to be a blessing for her. Thank you so much
for the participation in this good work! Let us pray that the
doors of the CFI distribution center can be open again for
God’s people, whom He is bringing back to the Promised
Land. Tiina Danilevski
Open Gates January 2021 Report - by Tina Karkkainen
Greetings from Jerusalem!
The life is busy at our distribution center. People are coming to get clothing every morning. We still work with one person or a family at one time. In the afternoon we are opening the boxes. I am very thankful for the good quality clothes that we received from the States.
You usually don’t have heating in your apartment in Israel. So, in winter our clients are seeking mostly something warm to wear for themselves and for their families.
On Friday there were two young emigrants from Brazil at our place. One of them made Aliyah only a month ago. “I am desperate!” she said. She couldn’t bring many suitcases with her from her previous homeland, so she was cold. Adva found sweaters and a lot of other things to make her life a little warmer. We gave a fleece blanket to both of the girls. Tatiana was also happy to get good and warm items for herself. It is a great feeling to be a hand of God by giving practical help to the emigrants at this time. We are doing it together with you, my friends in the nations.
Today there was a couple who visited us for the last time. They came from the Ukraine exactly three years ago, and this was their fourth visit to our distribution center. I asked the husband what is his opinion about Israel. “At least it’s not boring here.” He said with a smile on his face. For the both of them the first year in Israel was the most difficult. Now they are working in their home as physiotherapists. Evgeniy used to work in a hospital for 20 years before they made Aliyah. “There is a great need of therapeutic physiotherapy here in Israel.” He says. Svetlana likes her new homeland a lot. Only the corona virus is making things difficult again. “When you are not allowed to visit other countries, you start to suffer somehow.” She says. It is understandable, because their children do not live in Israel. I took their contact information in case, if somebody over here needs some physiotherapy J.
I am thankful for your prayers and support. “Let us be a light at this dark season”
Open Gates: December Project Report - by Tiina Danilevski
Shalom from Jerusalem!
The winter season has started here in Israel. It has been raining already several times. Nature is happy and fresh. The ground has become green. Recently there was a huge rain of blessings here at our CFI distribution center. We received a container full of clothing from our friends and supporters from Colorado, USA. This was an answer to my prayers. Now we are able to receive and bless many new emigrants and other people, who are already calling and asking for an appointment.
We saw God’s hand on the day that the container arrived. While we were unloading the truck the weather was cloudy. When we started to bring a huge amount of boxes into the building, the weather got worse. After the last boxes were inside and we started to eat lunch together it started to rain. God is so Good and Faithful!
It is a pleasure to see different faces here after the month of the corona lockdown. People still come in one by one. Yesterday I served a couple that made Aliyah from the United States. They were not young anymore. The husband had been a widower for a while after the death of his spouse. He knows Spanish very well and was able and willing to help one lady to make Aliyah. Katya is originally from Costa Rica and her English is not very strong. It happened, that during the process with all the documents, they got married. So, they came to the Land together as a newly married couple.
When Katya saw the Tanach that we usually give to our first time visitors as a present, she was very excited. She took the Spanish-Hebrew version for herself with “a joyful noise” and recommended her husband to take the English-Hebrew one. She found a couple of good looking skirts and other nice items that made her even more happy. The husband was pleased with some shirts.
My life is very busy at the moment. In the morning I serve people and in the afternoon I do sorting and organizing at the DC shop. Next month I will have a helper over here. One sister in the Lord is coming, as an angel from the Lord, to do the work with me. People need clothes, and it is great to give to our Jewish friends some good gifts from the nations. It is a practical way to say: “We care for you.”
Thank you for your prayers for us. May the Lord bless you all!
Tiina Danilevski Project Supervisor