Dear Friend of Israel,
The holidays are over, the New Year has begun and we look forward to a very different year. As 2020 came to a close, we were thrilled to learn of the vaccines that were approved and ready for distribution. Despite the hesitation of a few, millions of people all over the world are waiting for their turn to receive the vaccination and to take leave of the unusual lifestyle we had to adopt this past year.
Here at CFOIC Heartland in Israel, Shmuel and I are eagerly waiting for our turn to receive the vaccination. Because as soon as we are vaccinated, we will begin traveling again. My last trip was in February 2020 to Australia, and I had to leave early in order to avoid travel restrictions in Hong Kong and Bangkok, regular stop-overs between Australia and Israel. Shmuel was not able to travel at all in 2020. We each cancelled two scheduled trips to the USA and did not even get the chance to plan additional trips for the fall. Thank G-d, we were able to compensate to some degree on this travel ban through emails, phone calls and of course through ZOOM, as we reached out to friends and supporters through this amazing technological tool
But it has been far too long since we have been able to visit with you in person and we are hoping to start doing that as soon as possible, perhaps as early as April. And we are really hoping that you will be able to come and visit with us sometime this year as well. So many tour groups cancelled their plans to visit Israel and others were not even able to start planning before COVID halted any thoughts of international travel.
As we look forward to the coming months and hope and pray that life will indeed go back to some sort of normal, I want to ask you to consider strengthening your connection with Israel. When your churches open and go back to normal, you might want to inquire if they are interested in hosting a speaker from Israel? Perhaps you will consider joining a tour to Israel – we already have one planned for September that we hope you can join – contact me for more information! But there is also something you can do right now, before the doors are wide open for us to visit with one another. Perhaps your church or prayer group would like to connect with a particular community, through prayer and financial support. That is something you can help us with today. And that is something that may well open the door for a personal visit later on.
I hope that we will see each other soon, in person. But until then, please take care of yourself. And please stay in touch. The miles that separate us are great indeed, but the warmth that you have always communicated to us, through your support, your emails and your phone calls, has enabled us to span those miles and create a real relationship. And I treasure that.
Sondra Oster Baras
Director, Israel Office