“So I will lead her into the desert and speak words of comfort to her. I will give her vineyards there, and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.”
Many of the women who reach out to Be’ad Chaim for help are hurting and conflicted. They often feel as though their lives have entered a desert. Like Hagar who fled from her mistress Sarah (Genesis 16), they find themselves alone and pregnant in a wilderness. This is where God met Hagar. This is where God wants to meet our moms and give them new lives. God’s perfect plan is to comfort those who fear, and to open a door of hope. The word “achor” is used in modern Hebrew to describe murky, dirty waters or ruined relationships. It is this brokenness that God wants to heal. In this newsletter, I will share with you the stories of those who have found new hope and comfort through the birth of a precious baby. May the Lord bless you, our partners, as we open doors of hope to those in the Valley of Achor.
Talia has been blessed with a family that loves the Lord and accepted her when she broke the news to them that she was pregnant and still unmarried. Talia had a steady job and was studying for her Master’s degree when she became pregnant. Sadly, her boyfriend pressured her to abort. As of this writing, he does not recognize Rafael as his son and Talia will be taking steps to prove his paternity in court. Rafael Ori was born during the Chanukah holiday. Hence his middle name which means "light", as Talia says he is the spot of light in her life. She moved from Jerusalem to the Negev just after he was born, and she receives much help and encouragement from her parents and from Be’ad Chaim’s Operation Moses project. "Thanks" does not do justice as to how Talia feels about all the assistance and love she has experienced. She wrote her counselor: "Every time I look at Rafael, I understand anew that God does not make mistakes and that He is so incredibly merciful."
Our apartment for women on Israel’s southern coast has proven to be a blessing for several young ladies. Mother Hannah recently gave birth and gracious counselor Yael is helping her adjust to motherhood. Pregnant mom Polina recently moved into the apartment from the north. She still needs to bring her belongings and to reschedule her doctor appointments to be nearer to her new home. A woman from an Arab village, whose life would have been in danger because of her unplanned pregnancy, is in the process of arranging her affairs so that she can move in as well. We are grateful for your prayers that the women would get along well, be considerate of one another, and find refuge and hope from the storms in their lives.
Berta is 21 years old and single. She has had a very rough past, complete with psychiatric issues and an unstable lifestyle. She’d had three abortions in the past which she described as “very traumatic.” After discovering another pregnancy, she moved in with a friend who contacted us. Her Be’ad Chaim counselor, Irena, encouraged and supported her throughout the pregnancy. Berta, deeply moved by the possibility of becoming a mother, shared with her counselor that she had decided to change her lifestyle, take responsibility for her child and become stable. In November, baby Yeffet was born. His name means “beautiful one”. Berta said that this child is a true beauty and a new hope for her.
Maya is 27 years old, married and lives with her husband and five children in Be’er Sheva. Her husband lost his job and their relationship became very strained causing them to consider divorce. When Maya discovered that she was pregnant again, she did not know how to tell him. She felt afraid and conflicted. A friend told her about Be’ad Chaim and the support that we offer. Meeting with our counselor Oxana helped her to feel more secure and she was able to persuade her husband to support her decision to continue the pregnancy. In November, baby boy Pe’er was born. Her husband held her hand throughout the birth. Pe’er has brought a new love and unity to Maya and her husband.
Nearly a year ago, in our March newsletter, I wrote you about mother Mae and her new baby girl Be’er. I shared Mae’s struggles after her five year old daughter, Ta’ir, was diagnosed with cancer in 2019. Thank you so much for praying. Ta’ir is now cancer free! Mae continues to travel with her to a hospital in another city for regular checkups. This past year has been challenging for Mae, although the family was blessed to move into a government-subsidized apartment. Her grandparents help her both financially and with the care of her girls. Their father is not in contact with them, but the help from her grandparents is a huge relief for Mae. Baby Be’er celebrated her first birthday on January 8th. She is a super happy and smiley baby.
Mae said that she feels ashamed that she ever considered abortion and can't imagine not having precious Be’er in her life. The baby has brought so much light and joy to her family this year despite their trials, especially for her sisters who love playing with her when they come home from school. Mae is sincerely grateful for the help that she received from Be’ad Chaim which included support and love from her counselor Irena, baby items for Be’er, and the funds to pay for her travel from home to the hospital with Ta’ir.
Hallel is a real hero. Throughout the nine months of her pregnancy with twins, she suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which means that she could not tolerate any solid food and had to be fed by an IV in her arm 14 hours a day. She spent a lot of time in the hospital and it’s a miracle that her precious twins were born healthy. Her husband, who needed to care for their two older children, had to take a lot of time off from work. As a result, their income suffered tremendously. Fraternal twins Levi and Libby were born in late December and are dearly loved. Their older brother and sister love to entertain them, hold them and put pacifiers in their mouths when they cry. Hallel is deeply grateful to Be’ad Chaim for helping pay for a caretaker for the older children during the summer vacation and holidays when there was no school, for the provision of Operation Moses items, for her counselor Helen’s devotion, and for a recent personal delivery of lots and lots of baby clothes. It’s double the work but double the joy for this family!
Nina is 27 years old, married with two children, but she and her husband struggle. The family is under the care of their local social services department. Because of their financial situation, they strongly considered aborting when they discovered that they were expecting another child. Praise God, her social worker referred her to us for help. Our Operation Moses project, which would provide her with a bed, stroller, bathtub, bed sheets and monthly gift cards to purchase baby necessities, gave this precious couple the courage to continue the pregnancy. In early December, adorable Lynn was born. Nina’s husband, mom, sister and brothers were in the delivery room with her! It was quite a celebration of life. The family continues to rejoice at the birth of their new little beauty. What had seemed to them to be a difficult problem, has turned out to be a great joy. The Valley of Achor has turned into a door of hope.
Looking at this heartwarming photo of one year old Tohar who seems to be saying “the sky is the limit,” I am reminded of the joy and hope that a new child brings. His mother Liah was terrified at first when she discovered her pregnancy, and had considered giving the baby up for adoption. With her parents' love and support however, she chose to raise Tohar herself. Liah was only 19 at the time and had been afraid to tell her religious parents about the pregnancy. Their response and support have been a wonderful surprise. Liah and Tohar live with them and several of her other siblings. Everyone adores Tohar and provides intellectual and motor stimulation for him, so he’s already talking a bit. Tohar’s happiness, as he pushes chairs around the house and yells “hello” whenever the phone rings, is a source of laughter and joy to the whole family.
Here is a special thank you note from mother Aya on the northern coast of Israel, written to her counselor Roberta, our team and to you, her donors.
To Lilach Center donors: I wanted to thank you for the donations and for the encouragement that I received from you. When I needed you, you were right by my side encouraging, talking to me and not giving up on me. Your faithfulness really made things easier despite all of my problems, and has helped me to cope better with life. I feel that I need to express my gratitude. So, thank you from all my heart for everything – for believing in me, for the emotional support, and for the financial support. You were a life preserver for me. I will never forget my wonderful counselor who supported me intensively throughout the pregnancy. I am so thankful for her warm attitude, her generosity, patience and willingness to answer all my questions without hesitation. May there be many more people like her.
Thanks to all of your staff for the important work that you are accomplishing. May you continue to spread goodness in the world. My appreciation of you is forever.
With much respect, Aya
In mid-January, our fourth wall-size billboard went up on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway. This time, we are emphasizing our help for women in crisis. Similar advertising on over 250 buses nationwide has increased the calls to our hotline and has resulted in life for numerous babies. The billboard reads: “In an unplanned pregnancy? YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We are with you! Mercazei Lilach” (our pregnancy centers). The words “with you” and “Lilach” rhyme in Hebrew and we hope will be easily remembered as a slogan. By God’s grace, this billboard will save many lives.
Advertising and prayer have brought us a 25% increase in the number of women who call us for help. The need to add to our counseling and administrative staff had become urgent. It was joy to begin the training of six new counselors who will start this month, primarily in the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas. Please pray for God’s guidance, wisdom and protection for these precious willing-hearted women.