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Christian Volunteers Donate Money, Vacation Time to Help Israelis Near Gaza Recover

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DOROT, Israel – Since the bloodiest attack on Israel in modern history on October 7th, Christians have given money to an emergency crisis war response fund established by FIRM, The Fellowship of Israel-Related Ministries. Some of those who gave are also coming to help Israel from all over the world.

One major reason led 75 Christians from 10 different nations to visit Israel in the middle of a war, risking danger and paying high travel costs. They say it's to be the hands, feet, and hearts of FIRM's relief projects, which include cleaning up evacuated homes along the Gaza border and helping the farmers in their fields.

Michael Mistretta is FIRM's CEO. He told CBN News, "We have about 300 people serving in five different sites, helping to harvest vegetables, working in the agricultural space. And we're helping to repair and rebuild some bomb shelters, paint and clean, to help these people who are about to return home."

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Imagine taking all your vacation time and your vacation money, and coming to a land at war, just to help the people who live there. Pastor Cabrera, a Guatemalan volunteer is one who did that.

"This is a great time to come and show our love in practical ways, and let them know that they are not alone," Cabrera said. "We Christians in other parts of the world are praying, and we feel so sorry, we feel their sadness."

Deborah Erne, a volunteer from Switzerland, was strongly motivated to come. "It's a responsibility that you should take," she said. "We do need to take action. You can't just say I'm standing with Israel and do nothing."

As the international volunteers are meeing Israelis, they are being asked, why have they come during a war?

U.S. volunteer Marek Keys noted, "A lot of (Israelis) are surprised that we would come now. And I think that's saying something:  that we're not just coming to tour, but we're coming because we love you." 

Mistretta explained, "We're maybe 2 kilometers from the border (with Gaza) – if that – and so people are here and we're picking oranges and lemons and pomelos. These trees are overflowing, there's fruit falling on the ground, and so I would say the work is imperative. Produce in this area makes up 60%-70% of our nation's produce."

Teenager Ruby Zimmerman,another U.S. volunteer, told us, "I am 15 years old, and when I heard that I could actually come here and help with people who are affected by the war I jumped at the chance."

The members of the community where the volunteers are working fled from the Hamas terrorists after October 7th.

Moriel Riakh, an Israeli, shared about why she came to volunteer. "I'm from Yavne, Israel, and I just finished my serving in the army. I think that the people of Dorot will really appreciate it, that a Christian group of people from all over the world come here and just help them. I think it will maybe open their hearts too."

Riakh added, "To see that non Jews from countries they've never even heard of before are coming to serve and support during this time, it changes everything for them."

By the end of the day, homes are freshly painted, bomb shelters have makeovers, kitchens are spotless, and yards are ready for the evacuees to come home.

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About The Author


About The Author


As a freelance reporter for CBN's Jerusalem bureau and during 27 years as senior correspondent in CBN's Washington bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, government, and God’s providential involvement in our world. Strand began his tenure at CBN News in 1985 as an evening assignment editor in Washington, D.C. After a year, he worked with CBN Radio News for three years, returning to the television newsroom to accept a position as a senior editor in 1990. Strand moved back to the nation's capital in 1995 and then to