Barry Segal lived in Israel for years and was inspired to start Vision for Israel (VFI) shortly after the Oslo Peace Accord (a group of secret discussions trying to resolve deep seated tensions between Israel and the PLO) in September 1993. Barry believes he received a prophetic word from God. Beginning from the signing of the Oslo Peace Accord, there would be a time like in the story of Joseph in the Bible (Genesis 41) – seven years of prosperity followed by seven years of famine. Barry says God was telling him that there would be a prosperous time for the west (U.S., etc.) for seven years. After those seven years, things would change, God would shake the nation, and the peace accord would fail. Barry told his wife, Batya, that they needed to do something to help the poor and needy.
VFI is an international non-profit charitable organization that was established in 1994 to help rebuild the nation of Israel, both spiritually and physically. VFI’s goal is to be a source of emergency assistance to the entire community of Israel, whether Jewish or Arab. VFI wants to show mercy through the distribution of a full range of items such as emergency medical equipment, food, toiletries, clothing and other necessities. As a multi-faceted charity, they supply essential humanitarian aid to Israel's impoverished individuals and to a broad base of large organizations desperately in need of many important supplies. Many of them are struggling as orphans and widows, homeless and handicapped, senior citizens and geriatric patients as well as new immigrants and finally, victims of terrorism and their families. Food, clothing, toiletries, kitchen and household items, blankets, towels, linens, and toys are some of the supplies they distribute on a weekly basis. VFI would like to bring relief during times of crisis for those living under Israel's "poverty line" and also provide the general population lacking life's basic necessities. The needs arise as a result of terrorism, war, unemployment, health problems, personal needs, increased immigration – to only name a few. Each case is unique, requiring the personal care and attention that VFI offers.
VFI was CBN’s main partner in arranging humanitarian events during CBN’s Council of 100 visit to Israel two years ago. VFI also provided guidance to CBN in its activities during the last Lebanon War.
THE JOSEPH STOREHOUSE
In February 1996, Barry and Batya were coming back from a worship tour and a terrorist bombed public bus #18 in Jerusalem. Barry was reminded of the prophetic word he received from God a few years earlier. Also the scripture James 1:27 came to Barry’s mind: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (KJV) Barry and Batya knew they had to do something. They helped the terrorist victims from the bus bombing and have been helping people ever since.
In January 1998, VFI physically opened their humanitarian aid center, The Joseph Storehouse. It is located in the Judean Hills just outside of Jerusalem, and is the central focus of the growing ministry. Since VFI opened The Joseph Storehouse, they have assisted over 350,000 individual people in Israel and Bethlehem. One of the strategic ways they stock The Joseph Storehouse is through the receipt of individual parcels from VFI supporters worldwide. Since they cannot receive less than 2,200 pounds per shipment to the Ports of Ashdod or Haifa, they have developed several consolidation points to which individual parcels can be mailed for subsequent crating and shipment to Israel. The Joseph Storehouse also warehouses supplies for times of emergency in the land of Israel.
OUTREACH PROJECTS – GIVEN FOR FREE
At this time it is very busy in Israel with the work of Vision for Israel & The Joseph Storehouse. They just distributed 7,000 new school packs with supplies to children throughout Israel and sent gifts for the Jewish holidays to over 200 terror victim families as well as brought packages to another few hundred families. Unlike other groups, to VFI staff goes to many of these places themselves or with their team. They like to touch their lives in a personal way. Here are some of their ongoing projects:
1) Every year VFI distributes brand new school packs and supplies to poor and needy Jewish and Arab children as well as orphans. They have distributed to 147,000 children over the years.
2) All Israeli citizens must serve in the military, so their Lonely Soldiers outreach helps those young men and women who have no parents in Israel or come from foster homes or very troubled social pasts by providing toiletries and underwear in new back packs.
3) They package and send medical supplies and equipment for no charge to over 50 hospitals and medical facilities all over Israel. In fact, they charge nothing for everything.
4) They have special projects for different seasons like baskets of sweets for children during Hanukkah or Purim.
5) Every week they deliver to the homes of poor and needy families; life's basic necessities such as food, clothing, household supplies, beddings such as blankets and pillows, etc. to the homes of poor and needy families.
6) Every few years they raise money for tree planting because of forest fires and replenishing the earth.
7) Out of their surplus of humanitarian aid goods, they’ve provided for emergencies during tsunamis, hurricanes in the USA, after the earthquake in Haiti, orphans and the handicapped in Romania, and soon to Holocaust survivors,. VFI doesn't want to throw out anything that can be a blessing but may not be allowed into Israel because of customs regulations.
8) They are also a big supporter to victims of terrorist and rocket attacks in Israel. They provide financial vouchers which people can use to buy what they need from over 20 different stores.
WAYS TO HELP
Here are ways people can help:
1) Come on a tour to Israel, enjoy the land and its people and be a blessing. VFI also brings tour groups on their missions.
2) Pray for the people in Israel. Psalm 122:6 says, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee."
3) Financial support is a great way for organizations like Vision for Israel and The Joseph Storehouse to get the job done and purchase the items they need to provide for families and individuals.
4) Volunteering is another option but requires filling out an application. VFI does not provide transportation for people coming over.
5) Write your politicians as well as the media to be fair in it's reporting about the news in Israel and to stand with the nation.