Lifegate in June 2021

1. July 2021


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.

Support work

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