Jesus spent a good deal of his earthly ministry comforting and healing the disabled, both as a sign of his power and calling and out of a deep compassion for those whose handicaps had kept them from fully enjoying life. It is, therefore, proper that Christians who love and support Israel should likewise pay special concern to disabled Israelis. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is doing just that, and has been for some time.
On Thursday, a team of young men from the ICEJ set off on a 477-kilometer (296-mile) bike trek stretching the length of the Land of Israel in order to raise much-needed funds for the Disabled Sports Center in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan.
Herbert Kelly from South Africa, Jani Salokangas from Finland and Emanuel Mfoukou from Sweden/Congo secured sponsorships from Christians around the world who pledged to pay a certain amount for every kilometer they travel over the course of the three-day trek that will take them from Metulla on Israel's northern border to the Red Sea resort town of Eilat at Israel's southern tip.
Dubbed "The 477 Quest" in reference to the distance the bikers will ride, the initiative is expected to give a significant financial boost to the Disabled Sports Center, which, in addition to providing general recreation for handicapped Israelis, is the training facility for Israel's Paralympics team.
Media Director David Parsons told Travelujah that the ICEJ has "been supporting disabled athletes in Israel for about a decade, and has been helping the facility in Raman Gan for a number of years."
The funds raised by The 477 Quest will help sponsor the Israeli team at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil, and go toward a desperately needed new floor for the wheelchair league basketball court at the Ramat Gan facility.
Asked what the Israelis involved with the Paralympic team and the Disabled Sports Center think about such active support from Christians, Parsons said they couldn't be more pleased.
While many Christians have a desire to support and help Israel, many fail to realize that it is often the little things that have the biggest impact. It is the hope of many that the efforts of these young men from the ICEJ will help more Christians to understand that even the simple act of supporting a cross-country bike ride can touch the hearts of Israel's needy and aid in the healing of centuries-old wounds.
Ryan Jones writes regularly for Travelujah, the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy Land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.
Publication date: June 12, 2012