The new Israeli government, passed by the majority of one vote only in the Knesset, has not got an easy position and we are waiting to see how these representatives of various parties will manage to move the country forward, especially since the only stated goal of the opposition is the removal of this government. Even bills that stem from the old opposition government are now categorically rejected. It’s not about the cause, it’s just about power. It is precisely this high-handed thinking that has paralyzed the country for many years and we hope that the promise of the new government: “We came to work” will soon bear visible fruit and people will regain confidence in politics. The urgently needed budget, two years overdue, will be the first real touchstone for the new government. In the past, friendship ended all too quickly when the funds were distributed. May it succeed this time.
The situation with the Gaza Strip and the relationship between Arab and Jewish people within Israel remain tense. It is the radical groups on both sides that keep heating up the mood and rioting entire cities and villages. The often extremely tough Israeli police and border police do not make friends either.
Fortunately, there are a lot of people who speak out in public for a respectful coexistence and work together and who are given the space that is so important for this in the media.
After only two weeks (after a year) we were able to look into the unmasked face again, we are now hearing about the „Indian delta virus”, a highly contagious version of the Corona, according to the media, which mainly school children in two small Israeli towns fell ill with but also spreads from there. New Corona measures are now being discussed and the masks must be worn again inside closed rooms. The airport, where many people arrive and now also want to fly away during the holidays, is mentioned again and again as one of the places where corona mutations can be introduced too easily from abroad. Strict security measures should be put back into force and a binding quarantine period for arriving travelers could be part of this again. Together with many people, we also hope that the vaccinations also offer protection against the mutations and that we do not face any new large wave of infection in the country.
The summer holidays in Israel, which will soon begin, will probably help ensure that no further school children are directly affected.
An intensive month of support work without a single person suffering from corona at Lifegate is behind us and we are relieved and grateful. All team members received both vaccinations. Preparations for the opening of the new classes have begun, the equipment for the severely disabled class has arrived and is now being set up in the rooms. New employees in the school and therapy area visited us in June to get to know the work, team members who are leaving (wedding and departure, as well as change of job) have to be replaced and more staff is required for three new support classes.
At the end of a school year, the children are ceremoniously bid farewell in mainstream schools and receive their certificates. We don’t have any traditional certificates (just monthly funding reports), but we didn’t want to cancel the festive farewell to a school year. In this way, the Lifegate children in kindergarten and special needs school also experienced their very own personal end-of-school year with “photoshoots”.
Angela Köster, who supports our school work with supervision, was able to move into the newly rented apartment with her husband Fred, which is right next to our center. Short distances, maybe also to the many Lifegate flowers that have to be watered in summer.
Our aids department worked with students from Bethlehem University to dispense and adjust aids at Lifegate. Eleven children were provided with wheelchairs, buggies and other aids, which were specially tailored in our workshops to suit each child.
The Bethlehem Bible Society used our courtyard during the school holidays of the mainstream schools, which had already begun, to offer a ceramics course for children and young people followed by lunch. Everyone involved felt very comfortable.
Our main worries
The 6‑year-old Rashid from the severely disabled class and the 5‑year-old Rinat from the kindergarten were our special problem children this month. Rashid suffers from recurring dangerous pneumonia because food keeps getting into his windpipe. Only tube feeding could remedy this. After relocating the probe during an operation, the little boy got a gastrointestinal infection and then meningitis. An urgent call for prayer from our nurse reached our team on Sunday evening that Rashid was in very poor condition. In an emergency operation, the pressure on Rashid’s brain was relieved and today the relieved mother told us the boy was out of danger.
Rinat (below left) suffers from epileptic seizures and again we had to take her to the Caritas baby hospital near us during a severe seizure, where she could be helped immediately. In the new group of severely disabled children there are several seizure patients and we are preparing for these „emergency trips”. We thank God that both children are doing well and will be with us again in the next few days.
Jeries is a young man, with a learning delay and with a visual impairment, who has held a protective job in the olive wood workshop for years. His father died in his childhood years and the young man lives with his mother and a brother who has now returned after studying abroad. He has not been doing well for a month, his eyesight has deteriorated and he has lost his self-confidence, the young man often cries. We try to get to the causes in talks with him, also with professional support, and hope to continue to encourage him and give him confidence. Christin, a young woman from the textile department, suffers from severe panic attacks. We also assist her every day. We ask for prayer support!
From the workshops
This year’s delivery of Lifegate gift products to our point of sale in Germany should leave our warehouse by September at the latest. Therefore, almost hectic activity is required before the summer holidays. In the olive wood workshop in particular, we work very concentrated to produce and then pack all the hearts, cribs, Christmas tree pendants, tea lights, salad servers and bowls on our order lists. The ceramics workshop also received a larger order at the last minute. The knitting and embroidery department as well as the sewing workshop have already stowed their products in the boxes.
As already reported, our orthopedic mechanic Simon Rössler returned to Germany after two years at Lifegate and our heartfelt thanks should stay with him for a long time. We had waited two years until this motivated young man applied and the “Orthopedic Mechanics Workshop” project, supported by the GIZ initiative, could finally start. So it is a miracle for us that Jonas Weinholz, another young specialist from Germany, agreed in just two months to continue the work that Simon had started as part of the GIZ project. Jonas already knows Lifegate from a previous volunteer assignment.
Further items of equipment have arrived at the Lifegate bakery and are now being installed. Due to the corona pandemic, the import of the ordered devices, which are delivered from Italy, Turkey and Spain, is delayed. Nevertheless, we can now foresee how the room is taking on more and more shape and we will probably soon experience the smell of freshly baked goods in our workshop rooms. We are also looking forward to messages from German bakers who support us in this work! Please report!
Go on holidays
In June we were able to welcome the first guests to the Lifegate Garden guest house after a year and a half of a “compulsory lonely break”. A local group of doctors held a meeting on our premises and a group of GIZ staff stayed with us for two days. Some individuals also enjoyed the silence in the beautifully prepared building, which has been renovated in many parts. The „fire escape staircase” required by the civil protection authorities has been installed and all other safety requirements have also been met. Also a nice pergola took place over a seating area in the garden. Now Israel has postponed entry for tourists for another month and instead of July, the first foreign visitors are to come back to our country in August. For the autumn months from September to November, bookings have already been requested in Lifegate Garden, we are waiting with patience.
The team, and probably also our children and their parents, are looking forward to the well-deserved vacation (July 17th to August 23rd), which did not take place with us last year due to Corona. We had decided to work through the entire summer to give the children back lost time (due to closings ordered by the Ministry of Health).
“Work hard, work hard, but DON’T build a house”
The Lifegate land purchase campaign on the only remaining free neighboring property is slowly but steadily continuing, and every now and then one square meter is added. We hope we can achieve this ambitious goal (1,300 sq m), but we really need some more miracles. It is important that we do not want to build on this land, but that a special amusement park for our severely disabled children should find its place there. The senses of our children should be addressed: smelling, feeling, hearing and seeing and thus experiencing nature up close despite severe restrictions. At the same time, we know what is good for these children and also helps all other people! There is still enough space for a playground and beautiful sitting areas under old olive trees.
The Lifegate center, closely delimited on three sides, in front the property (brown earth with olive trees) that we can purchase.
Let your mind wander!
Like us, many people look forward to traveling again, or to relaxing a little at home in the vicinity or in their own garden. Leaving the appointment calendar in place and relocating the mobile phone somewhere on „quiet”. Maybe to have time again for a conversation, to be active and to enjoy a delicious meal with friends. Sometimes thoughts come up that you don’t want to allow in everyday stress, but still often have something to do with our existence. God very often speaks to us humans in silence and he carries us and gives to us in everyday life and also on vacation. He wrote us a long “love letter” (the Bible) that we can read in peace. Therein lies the power to turn a life „upside down”. May our “holiday antennas” be geared towards “heavenly reception” and our souls dangle and come to (His) rest.
We wish you a happy and blessed summer time,
Sincerely yours, Burghard Schunkert and the Lifegate team
The Jordan flows slowly on the way to the Lake of Galilee