All of us are aware of the increased struggles faced during the current corona pandemic. I want to give a special word of thanks to our donors who generously allowed us to increase our monthly support for moms during the months of July and August, to help with special needs such as rent and furniture for mothers who are particularly in crisis, and to promote our help to a broader spectrum of society.
Besides the corona virus, social workers were on strike, which caused the cancellation of some of the abortions so that women turned to us for help rather than aborting. (In Israel, an abortion is only legal when granted by the "Pregnancy Termination Committee" which is comprised of two doctors, a nurse and a social worker).
Thank you so much for your giving and abundant care and love. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6:38)
In this newsletter, I’ll introduce you to some of our special moms who live in Be'er Sheva. Many of them struggle to make ends meet, but they bravely chose life for their babies. It is our privilege to serve them and show them the love of God.
“I depend on God. He gives me strength and I believe that He will never abandon me.“
Danielle is 33 years old and a very hard working, caring mother of her three children, including baby Lia who was born in January. Ala, the Be'er Sheva counselor, recommended that we give extra special help to Danielle this month because, although she struggles, she never complains and works very hard to provide for her family. During our time in Be'er Sheva, I had the privilege of meeting Danielle, who touched my heart. She receives government assistance as a single mom, but it’s not enough to feed her family and pay all the bills. Her ex-husband doesn’t help her at all. To make ends meet, she cleans houses, but often can’t go to work because of baby Lia’s health and the closures due to the corona virus. She recently declared bankruptcy and didn’t know how she would pay her rent this month. She was totally surprised and thrilled when we said that we’d pay it for her. Her oldest son will go to first grade at a special education school in the Fall. Danielle's mother has psychiatric issues so she and her five siblings need to be supportive of her and help her. We discussed God’s love for her and she said, “I depend on God. He gives me strength and I believe that He will never abandon me.“
On July 15th, we had an absolutely delightful and blessed time in Be'er Sheva. We began our day early, at about 10 am, with the delivery of food items and kitchen gifts, in collaboration with another nonprofit organization. The items for the kitchen included pots, towels, peelers, egg slicers and other very practical and colorful items.
Be’ad Chaim had ordered the printing of special purple shopping bags with our logo and contact information so that pregnant women could hear about our work and know where to turn for help in crisis. Our team of staff and volunteers packed 100 bags of food items in these purple bags and 100 bags of kitchen items in large garbage bags.
By 3 o’clock, the room was fully organized with the bags. A table of children’s Bible storybooks in Hebrew and Arabic (donated by the Bible Society), and a table of small gifts for the children such as bubbles and rattles, as well as a snack and bottle of water for each child and mother, greeted the women.
Because of the corona virus restrictions, we invited five mothers every 15 minutes. Some of our staff received and registered the moms outside, then sent them inside to receive their gifts. Moms patiently waited in a grassy area to have professional photographs taken of their babies for our 2020-21 calendar. Two teens joined us to do circus entertainment such as riding on a unicycle and juggling. About 80 families came to receive their gifts and a lot of LOVE.
One of our counselors spent time talking to and encouraging the Arabic speaking mothers. As director, I spent time meeting and ministering to Hebrew speakers who needed encouragement. Our staff showed tremendous respect and kindness to each person who attended the event.
Mother Elisheva, who couldn’t attend herself, but sent her mom instead, shared this note: "Thank you so much for the beautiful gifts that you sent me through my mother. My mother told me that you had a very special attitude toward each person who came, and that you received each one with honor and dignity. May you be blessed! I send a huge thank you!”
Another mother wrote: “Thank you so much for everything. Be blessed for all of the kindness that you’ve shown.”
This event meant so much to many women who never feel honored or pampered. It was truly a privilege to be able to show them kindness and care.
Dina is just 17 years old. She lives in Be'er Sheva with her parents and six siblings, and has just finished high school. Dina had been dating a young man for more than a year, although her parents never liked him. She is a strong-minded young lady and thought she was in control of her life. She loved to party and would often come home late. Her boyfriend often slept at her home, making her parents feel very uncomfortable. Her father tried to talk to her about it, and said he really felt the young man was disrespectful and not good for her. However, Dina said she knew better ... until she found out that she was pregnant. When she told her boyfriend about the pregnancy, he did not want to take any responsibility for it, and even suggested that it was not his. Dina was devastated, and begged him not to leave. She felt she had given him everything and had expected his support in return. She was obviously very disappointed in his reaction. He severed his relationship with her, and as far as she knows, he has already begun his compulsory military service. She felt angry and hurt, but also very ashamed that she hadn't listened to her parents.
Dina was scheduled to have begun her army service next year but if she continued the pregnancy, this would have been impossible. She considered having an abortion after her boyfriend left. It felt as if her life was in ruins. Dina just wanted to be like all her other friends, looking forward to the army, and not being at home with a baby.
One of Dina's relatives connected her with Be’ad Chaim. Our Be'er Sheva counselors showed her a lot of love, care and attention which turned her heart toward her child. She became part of the Operation Moses program. The love, hope and practical help offered to her gave her the courage to choose life.
In June, Dina gave birth to her beautiful daughter Layan. She said that she looks just like her, and for this, she is very thankful! She knows the way she treated her parents was wrong and even asked them to forgive her. Dina is home now and her parents have forgiven her and are helping her in every way they can. Her father feels very protective towards her and for that Dina is grateful! Her siblings have welcomed little Layan into the family and are helping in every way they can, too!
Dina shared her very deep appreciation for all the help and support she is receiving during this very difficult time.
Mali had been married for several years but wasn’t able to conceive. After her divorce, in her late 30’s, she felt a desperate urge to become a mother and pursued treatments to become pregnant. In time, she indeed became pregnant with twin daughters, but her life hasn’t turned out as she had expected or hoped. Over a year ago, both of the girls were born with serious health issues. Baby Anaelle (“God answered me”) has a heart condition and baby Tahel (“she will praise”) has multiple problems, and spends much of her time in the hospital. Doctors suspect autism. As a result of these issues, Mali hasn’t been able to return to work and is exhausted. She would be grateful for your prayers.
Our program to help women and men who have lost a child continues to expand. Recently, we have counseled a variety of people who needed help, including a couple who lost two toddlers due to illness, women who grieve after a miscarriage, and post-abortive women who want to be set free from guilt and shame.
In addition, the Gardens of Life is a place of healing and closure for people from around the world who want to remember and honor their child whom they cannot hold. Our prayer hostess, Laurel, shared these stories:
In June, we planted two fruit trees, as requested by a woman who lives in Europe. She is a believer who aborted a son when she was young and didn't know the Lord yet. Although she regrets what she did, she has the peace and joy of God’s forgiveness. Her parents had aborted her brother, and regretted it later.
In early July, we planted a cypress tree in memory of a baby girl who had died at birth. Our gardener, Albert, as a loving father of two girls, prayed for consolation, peace and restoration of joy. I read Psalm 89:1-18. God's faithfulness is one of His most endearing traits that we can lean on in our pain and rejoice in when we’re hurting.
All are welcome to come to the Gardens of Life or to ask us to plant a tree in honor of your beloved child.