Christians to visit the Holy Land in a sign of solidarity with the suffering people of Israel. A further 15 people were reported to have been wounded Sunday in a suicide bomb attack in the northern town of Haifa, in which the terrorist was killed.
"Now with all these terrorist attacks we volunteers from the Embassy ask Christians to come," says Dutchman Wim, a coordinator at the Embassy, who was last week a few hundred meters away from the site of another bomb attack in Jerusalem. Sixteen people died in Thursday’s blast, including a Dutch Jewish family of five, and dozens were injured.
"The bomb attack In Jerusalem came as a great shock. Yet, I still feel that despite these dangers, it is important for us Christians not to abandon Israel, " he explains in an Internet interview with BosNewsLife. "We cannot guarantee the safety of people visiting the Holy Land, but our lives are in God’s hands," says Wim, who only wants his first name mentioned for security reasons.
Because of what they see as their calling from God, Wim (54), supported by his wife Petra (44), want to continue the work at the Christian Embassy, which was set up to comfort and help Jewish people in need. "The Russian Jewry Department is still very busy with the recent bomb attack in Tel Aviv," he says.
"Embassy staff has visited the bereaved family and injured survivors in that blast. We do not know yet what our response will be for the victims of the latest bomb attack, but our work is appreciated," Wim notes.
In addition to their Embassy activities, they are reaching out to handicapped children in the troubled Jewish Capital.
The couple, which has taken into their home four seriously handicapped children, says in a newsletter that "daily life continues amidst the terrorist attacks on innocent people."
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has accused Israel of provoking the violence by limiting the freedom of movement of Palestinians and postponing the peace process. But the Israeli Government in Jerusalem says the PLO should detain the extremists, before the stalled peace talks can resume.
With the fighting continuing, Wim and Petra fear their work will become more difficult as the ground is being prepared "that the whole world will turn against Israel, as the Bible tells." The couple says "Jews are being murdered on a regular basis," and notes that recently even a little baby was shot dead "while in her parents arms."
They claim Western media barely mentioned the incident "because she was only Jewish."
STEP OF FAITH
Danger is nothing new for the married couple that lives in Israel since 1989. Previously they made three Bible smuggling trips to than Communist Eastern Europe.
As they prepare for an uncertain future, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem will help them to pay part of the rent of a new home with better facilities for their handicapped children.
"This is a step in faith. When we moved in the present house we could manage the steps. But as the children grow, we see they have more and more difficulty to climb the stairs and to get in and out of the bath tub, and a normal shower would be such a help," the couple writes in their August ‘WaP Chronicle’ newsletter obtained by BosNewsLife.
After they discovered a big house with seven rooms and only a ramp leading to the front door was build near their present home, the couple saw this as an answer to their prayers. "The Lord answers even before we ask, we are going to move to that very special house." They have decided to "get Christian Arabs to do the moving, so we can bless them with work and income."
In addition to the children, they have also taken into their care Petra’s 80-year-old mother from The Netherlands, where Parkinson disease "didn’t leave her much energy for the daily household chores." The couple says that "living in Israel is very intense," and that they often feel isolated "as if we are on an island." Yet, they feel privileged to "live in God’s chosen land."
Wim and Petra can be reached at: The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, P.O. Box 1192, 91010 Jerusalem, Israel.