The fires in Northern Israel is said to be the worst disaster in the nation's history. Now Christian Life Missions (CLM) is partnering with Vision for Israel to respond quickly to the need.
Christian Life Missions is the non-profit partner of Charisma magazine. In 2006 it partnered with Vision for Israel, headed by Barry and Batya Segel, to raise $150,000 to help rebuild a civic center in Northern Israel. Every dollar raised will go to help in Northern Israel.
"We can spring into action to meet the need because of our relationship with Vision for Israel. They have the infrastructure and the relationships to respond to the need," said Steve Strang, president of CLM and publisher of Charisma. "We have total confidence in them and their ability to respond quickly and to use the money as it should be used."
Readers of Charisma also responded generously when the tsunami hit Southeast Asia in 2004. That time CLM partnered with the equivalent of the National Association of Evangelicals in Sri Lanka to respond to the need. And readers responded to Hurricane Katrina, also working again with local churches in Louisiana.
"American Christians are so generous when it comes to helping Israel," but most of the things people raise money for pale in comparison to the need that now exists. We are happy we can do something, and do it quickly to comfort those who mourn in Israel. As scripture says: "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." (Isaiah 61:3)
An inferno raged across the Carmel Forest for four days. Over 5 million trees were consumed. 12,300 acres of land was destroyed. 17,000 people were evacuated. Three communities were totally wiped out including a kibbutz and one of the country's oldest artist colonies. 219 people were left homeless. And 42 lost their lives in the fire.
Fire has once again defined the region of Mount Carmel in the north of Israel where Elijah once called down fire from Heaven (1 Kings 18) against the false prophets of Baal. But this time it was a man-made disaster.
On December 2nd a 14 year-old Druze boy was smoking a hookah pipe with his three friends in the Carmel forest. When they were done, he threw out the coal from the pipe into the woods. When the coal touched the bone dry trees leeched of moisture by severe drought, they immediately went up in flames. The children panicked and ran away without telling anyone. This is how Israel's worst disaster in 40 years started.
Many countries around the world sent special fire-fighting equipment and volunteers helped Israel to eventually defeat the blaze, but with the flames gone already the world's attention is shifting elsewhere. But for so many who have lost their homes, businesses or loved ones, their pain is just beginning.
Vision for Israel says it is determined to stay and help for as long as it takes to meet the needs created by this terrible disaster and see that the beauty of Mount Carmel will rise again from the ashes. Some communities have literally lost everything.
" We are working closely with a youth village populated mostly with Russian orphans. The children and staff need everything from shoes and blankets to school supplies like books and colored pencils. And Vision for Israel is also planting new trees in the region so that the once legendary beauty of the Carmel Forest will be available for the next generation ," Barry Segel said.
Steve Strang said: "Please join us in the process of comforting the people and rebuilding the land. Together we can be vessels of God's love for the people of the region and custodians of this land so rich in Biblical history.
To contribute to our emergencyÂ·Israel Fire Relief campaign,Â·go toÂ·christianlifemissions.com/israelfirerelief. Or you can send a check made payable to Christian Life Missions (marked for â€œIsrael Fire Reliefâ€) to 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FLÂ·32746.