This month has been very unusual for all of us because of the Coronavirus. Plans that we thought we could control have been changed. All local events have been cancelled, many have lost their jobs, and there is much apprehension. In order to limit the spread of the virus here, Israel’s Ministry of Health has given the public instructions to remain in their homes, except for emergencies, until further notice. This fear, uncertainty of the future, and hopes deferred is not unlike the trauma that many women experience in crisis pregnancy. While the Coronavirus is serious, we take note of the worldometer statistics this month which show an even more serious plague in our world – the plague of abortion which has taken the lives of over six and a half million babies just this year.
Estimates indicate that there were between 30-40,000 abortions in Israel this past year alone, 19,000 of them financed through government health insurance. God is calling us protect these ones who cannot speak for themselves.
“Speak up for those
who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all
who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights
of the poor and needy.”
(Proverbs 31:8-9, NIV)
Recently, a very confused mother was in our office for counseling. She was 12 weeks pregnant and had just seen the ultrasound image of her baby. Yet she said, “it’s not really a person. I’m more important.” Fear, loneliness, and uncertainty of the future have clouded her perspective so that her heart couldn’t perceive the reality of her child’s life, although her eyes had seen the ultrasound image and her ears had heard the heartbeat. Fear can be blinding. Be’ad Chaim’s goal, through the support of our caring partners, is to bring God’s hope to those who feel that their unplanned pregnancy is a crisis and a desperate situation. His hope frees hearts and takes blinders off eyes so that they can see His good purposes and plans for their child and for themselves. In these days of uncertainty, may you know the certainty of His love and mercy.
I bless you, together with our Be’ad Chaim family of moms and staff: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
In our February newsletter, I shared with you about 25 year old Rina, the mother of baby Libi, who is now four months old. I’d like to thank all those who have been praying for Rina and to give you an update. Doctors continue to treat Rina for the benign, but large brain tumor located behind her eyes which still causes her dizziness, headaches and could potentially cause blindness. Despite her health issues, Rina has a positive attitude, and hopes to be able to work when she puts Libi in daycare in the Fall.
She’s grateful that she lives with her mother who gives her free housing and meals. When Rina discovered her pregnancy with Libi, she had considered the option of adoption. This is a rare consideration in Israel. Our survey showed that only 13% of pregnant Israeli women would consider adoption as an option. Yet, Rina told me that she couldn’t consider “death” but didn’t have any idea how she could support a baby on her own. The support of her mother and the help of Be’ad Chaim gave her the option to choose to keep her baby.
Rina has a very tender heart and has suffered in her young life. She shared that the abortion that she’d done as a teen still hurt her. She met briefly with our new post abortion counselor, Annie, and shared that she’d like to get help. She told Annie: “This place is like a hospital for people who hurt.”
We thank God that we are able to offer help to Rina and other women who hurt after abortion. We covet your continued prayers for Rina’s physical and emotional health.
Hannah is a refugee from Eritrea. She’s been alone in Israel for seven years, without any family. She has one toddler and recently gave birth to a baby girl whom she named Bethlehem, nicknaming her Betty. Betty’s father refused to take any responsibility for the baby and preferred that Hannah abort. She was frightened but as a Christian, she did not want to do it. She came to us for help with clothing and other baby essentials. Hannah placed both of her little girls in daycare so that she could support them by cleaning houses six hours per day. Her life is hard, but she has a deep faith and trust in God. She said, “If I didn’t have God’s love, what would I have?” As you can see in the photo, baby Betty is very charming, personable and happy. It reminds me of the Beatle’s song “Money can’t buy me love.” Hannah is not rich in money, but she is rich in the joy of the Lord. We are so glad that we could be His extended hand of love to her and her beautiful Betty.
Yael is a 32 year old woman from the northern coast of Israel. She is disabled and receives a disability allowance. In 2015, she gave birth to a stillborn child, which traumatized her greatly. When she became pregnant again, her first thought was to have an abortion to spare herself the pain and suffering that she went through when she lost her first baby.
Thankfully, Yael found our Lilach pregnancy center through a Google search, contacted our hotline, and was connected with her local counselor. Yael told me how much she valued the loving and gentle support her counselor, Talia, was able to give her, and shared that it was thanks to Talia that she chose life for her baby.
In January, Yael gave birth to a really adorable baby girl whom she named Eden, like the garden of Eden. She loves her baby and says that she has brought a special light into her life. The darkness and fear that had weighed her down after the loss of her first child were replaced by the joy that she experiences as she holds her “sunbeam” Eden.
Adi was living with her parents and was about to begin her army service when she found out that she was pregnant. Her parents were in their forties when they gave birth to her and her twin brother. She and her brother are the joy of her parents’ lives.
When Adi’s boyfriend heard about the pregnancy, he left her and didn't want to take any responsibility. Adi felt she was too young to be a mom, still being a child herself. One of her friends, who knew that she’d had a previous abortion and her fears about having a second abortion, told Adi about Be’ad Chaim. Adi is a mature, responsible young woman who told our counselor when they met: “I’m only 19 years old, without a partner and I don’t work. I got pregnant unexpectedly. I don’t want to abort, but I’m very worried about how I’m going to raise my child.”
Our very experienced Beer Sheva counselor, Alla, offered Adi friendship, kindness and practical help through our Operation Moses program. This program provided her with a baby bed, stroller, bath tub and bed sheets just before the birth. Since baby girl Leah’s birth in November, she’s received monthly gift cards to purchase diapers, formula and other baby necessities. Adi is calling Leah “my little princess”. She told me that Leah is very happy and secure because she knows how much she’s loved by her “everyone” – her mom, her uncle, and her grandparents.
In order to provide for her new baby, Adi had to rent an apartment and find a job. She’s living on the money provided for single mothers through National Insurance and the Department of Housing which subsidizes her rent.
She says that she loves staying home with Leah and is never bored. She cooks, does laundry and takes care of her daughter. Her twin brother helps her whenever he can and she is very thankful for that. When Leah turns one, Adi hopes to find a job and leave her precious daughter with her mom for a few mornings a week. Although her mother is sickly, she is willing to help. Adi says she knows that “no one owes her anything” and she is deeply thankful for all the help she received during her pregnancy and after giving birth.
Spring is here in the Gardens of Life, a forested place of beauty, where trees are planted in honor and memory of babies who were not held. Be’ad Chaim is dedicated to helping women who hurt after the loss of a child, to find closure and healing. We are excited that we are now expanding our post abortion counseling help and increasing social platforms to reach those who grieve after the loss of their child. All are welcome to join our prayer hostess, Laurel, for a special time of healing and closure through tree planting in the Gardens of Life.
This month, during our monthly mothers’ meeting in Jerusalem, we celebrated the feast of Purim, described in the book of Esther, which commemorates the victory of the Jewish people over an enemy who wanted to take their lives. Moms and their children had fun dressing in costumes and watching a juggler. We love sharing God’s love with these precious families.