By Bart Peacher, a Gentile believer
Donations go to IDF Soldiers
I’ve been in Israel for the past five days with a most kind, selfless, and Godly man. His name is Earl Cox and the first official Goodwill Ambassador for Israel. Earl is well known in Christian circles and is no novice to TV, radio, and politics. He served four US presidents, was close to becoming a US Ambassador (but the Lord spoke to him about another path), and possesses a gift of giving that is rarely seen. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he cheerfully gives body, soul, spirit, and mammon.
We believe with all our hearts the word of God in Genesis 12:2-3 when God spoke to Avram:
I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you, and I will make your name great; and you are to be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
Earl has shared much with me on how the Lord approached and spoke to him to become a champion of Israel and how that the above verses are all too true! Over the past 16 years, Earl has blessed Israel super abundantly but, in staying true to His word, God has blessed him so much more in return.
I am no where near the stature of Earl Cox but, since founding ‘It Is Time Israel’ I have noticed that the Lord has greatly blessed me and my wife Carolyn in the past and is currently blessing us beyond measure. The events we experienced this day are evidence of His continuing love, grace and abundant blessings. This was a trip I will never forget. We are headed toward Gaza during a war with Hamas. Earl made this all possible. Let me tell you how it went.
This morning we did our usual thing, going down to the cafeteria to where hot coffee (served with hot milk) and a typical Israeli breakfast awaited us. Israel is the only place I’ve been where I actually eat olives for breakfast. Of course they also have myriads of fruits and vegetables, cheeses, breads, pastries, cereals, eggs, fruit and chocolate spreads, yogurts, fishes, and a few others I can’t remember.
I had a very light breakfast then readied myself for the trip. A few people I had met days earlier were there in the lobby assembling. Among those was Earl of course, a volunteer assistant, an armed Israeli police officer, a cosmetic company owner, a former IDF soldier who is currently a security consultant for the government (my new buddy), and a couple of others that I would little get to know.
The small bus drove up and we loaded some water and ourselves in the very noticeably air conditioned vehicle. So far so good! I was dressed in my desert clothes so nothing was going to ruin my day! I took a single seat up front so that nothing would obstruct my view and I could soak up everything as we passed by. The first stop was a small bus stop on the highway south of Tel Aviv to pick up a team member. The team numbered seventeen people.
Our next stop is at a hospital in Ashkelon near the Gaza border. We were cheerfully greeted as we stepped off the small vehicle and led to a control/meeting room for an orientation. The hospital Director was extremely informative with respect to the existing conditions and daily life in this border town. His personal house was just feet across the Gaza line. He had to move him and his wife into the hospital due to IDF tanks firing in his back yard causing the house to shake and heave with each salvo. In addition, he was so close that rocket warnings came after the hit. He made light jokes to lessen the severity of the situation. Until the fighting is completely over there is no use moving home or trying to fix the house.
This hospital accepts both Palestinian residents and IDF soldiers. The staff includes Palestinian Arab and Israeli doctors and assistants and their politics stops at the entrance door. They maintain a high level of professionalism equally providing the same quality care to all patients.
He told us many interesting stories. One that stayed with me was that when rockets were flying and hopefully people made it to bomb shelters in seconds, the little girls are given teddy bears and instructed to comfort their bears by telling them everything will be OK. The kids, thus preoccupied are calmed by working with their bears. The hospital is very small with respect to the work load coming to it but they believe it is a miracle operation because they manage somehow to deal with every case.
Next we visited a few IDF soldiers recovering from mortar attacks and stomach virus. These guys were happy to see us and we were honored to be with them. My heart melted as I told them how proud we were of them and we blessed them. They were so glad that people from America cared.
We moved onward to the second border town of Sderot. There we met the mayor and a group of Holocaust survivors in their ‘clubhouse’. Earl had previously given all of them a free bus trip to Jerusalem where many of them had never been. They cried with joy and clapped their hands. I was again taken with a melted heart. The love of the Lord came over me and hopefully extended to them. A few in particular touched my heart. They didn’t do anything to cause my feelings but it was the Lord loving them and they responded with affection. There were discussions going on between them and the mayor in a foreign language that neither Earl nor I understood. These were also translated in languages that we didn’t understand. It was very humorous indeed. They wanted Earl to help them get a better meeting house, thus Earl being who he is, agreed to help when the finances are available. The needs are great in Israel and must be met by prayer for proper priority.
We loved on them, took some photos and loaded back on the bus. Next stop is somewhere on an IDF Army field post on the Gaza border. Earl has arranged and financed a BBQ dinner for approximately 400 soldiers.
As we approached the outpost it began to look like a combat zone but with a catering truck bringing the BBQ meats and trimmings. No pork but they char grilled beef patties, chicken kabobs, and hot dog type sausages. Served with typical Israeli vegetables and flat bread it was excellent!
The soldiers were very happy to participate. This food was high quality easily beating out military rations. These boys and girls made my heart leap with joy as I watch them enjoy themselves. Some wanted to know about me and when they found that I was an American they embraced me and waived little American flags. It was touched to say the least when these guys explained urban warfare and tunnel demolitions. The commander we spoke with is a young man but matured by battle and death of friends and comrades. He told us the problem with blowing tunnels was that you had to find both ends to deal with it effectively. Looking for that other end is when guys lose their lives as they encounter booby traps and terrorist. This was the place where they were attacked from the sea that made news.
My heart beat with compassion, love, and pride like a father as I got to meet and talk to these young soldiers. They responded in love and thankfulness. Thank you Earl and thank you Lord Jesus our Messiah for being able to support Israel in such a time as this.
It was one of the best days of my life!