We see the hand of God at work, and we are so honored to partner with Him and with YOU, our supporters, to see blessings flow and to see lives touched and transformed through our work with Afikim BaNegev. Though we do not always see the fruit of our labors, we trust that nothing goes to waste.
The Wonderful Story of S.
S., a single mom of six children fathered by two different fathers, was referred to Afikim BaNegev by a Beer Sheva social worker. When we met her, S. was in the hospital with a difficult pregnancy. She had a two hundred and fifty thousand shekel debt hanging over her which had been incurred by her ex-husband who was in jail, charged with attempting to murder her. It was almost the second anniversary of the death of a young daughter from a tragic illness. She looked at Marianna and said, “For some reason, I feel depressed.” Marianna told her that she had good reasons to be depressed. Marianna said that the help she could offer at that moment was to pray for her and to arrange for a baby sitter for her children left alone at home while she was in the hospital. S. was not a believer in Yeshua then and possibly had never even heard of Him.
It has now been three years since we met her. By God’s grace, her debt is paid. She came to faith in Yeshua and shares the Good News with those around her. Her sister and her niece have also received the Lord. She said to Marianna, “Before I met you and before I got to know the Lord, I felt I was stuck in the mud, and I had no hope. And now I see the light.” Even though she still has many challenges, there is indeed hope for her future and for the future of her children.
Returning to the Lord
R., a widow living in a small Negev town, has lost two husbands. When we met her, R. was out of work and had just had surgery. We supplied the family with food twice a month and had it delivered to the home. R.’s older son had walked away from the Lord, because he was angry about the loss of his father and about their continual struggles. This son, seeing the love of the Lord made manifest through the generosity and care of the Body of Messiah, rededicated his life to the Lord. He is now in the army, and continues walking with the Lord.
God Gives Second Chances
S., though not yet a believer in Yeshua, is very open to know about the ways of the Lord. She was a battered woman, and her partner, a drug addict, had forced her into a life of prostitution. One day he tried to kill her, but she fainted, and when she came to, he was gone. While he was hitting her, S. heard a voice telling her that she needed to run out with her kids and get help. She found a shelter for battered women, where she met some of the other women that receive help from our organization, and thus she became connected to Afikim BaNegev. S. has a sense that God has given her a second chance. Through aid from our ministry, she studies psychology at the Open University in Beer Sheva, and her mother moved here from Russia to help her with her two children.
Both of S’s daughters are ranked in the top 15% of extraordinarily gifted children. The older daughter, age 15, was accepted last year into a special NASA training for teens. This program included a trip to NASA in the United States for three weeks and a six month special training course in astronomy at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva. Our organization raised the $3500 needed to help send her to the program in the U.S. where she did extremely well. Because she excelled in the program, she was then accepted into the program in Beer Sheva for free.
Child Beating Curtailed
Oxana, a behavioral psychologist who works with our organization, was sent to counsel a single mother who struggled with anger to the degree that she beat her young children. Oxana worked one-on-one with the mother to help her to overcome her anger issues and also provided training in child-rearing and discipline. No violent incidents have erupted in the family for more than a year. Consistent help and accountability have transformed the dynamics of this family, and the lives of all have been changed.
M. and an Angel
Marianna accompanied one of the mothers to an appointment at the National Insurance Ministry. She dropped the woman off and continued on to park the car. By the time Marianna approached the building to join L. at her appointment, she saw L. sitting by the street and wailing like a crazy woman. When L. spotted Marianna, she began yelling even louder, bellowing out things like, “God, why did you give me those kids I can’t support?” The crowd on the street gawked at L. as she continued to shriek and writhe in hysteria. Marianna went out into the street, and as she held her, she sensed the woman relaxing in her arms. She proceeded then to tell Marianna the story of how she became aggressive during her appointment when they told her that they would not receive people with her problems that particular day. She reported that she started yelling, screaming, kicking, and wailing. Two security guards were called in, and they carried L out and set her on the pavement.
While L. was relating this story to Marianna, someone drove up along side of them on a motorbike. He appeared to be a typical, swarthy Israeli man in his mid-forties. He looked straight at L. and said to her in Hebrew: “They’re always going to be cruel, and they’re always going to be wrong. You can’t be moved by them; you need to be moved by the Spirit.” Marianna stared at the man in utter astonishment, and he looked back at her and winked. Then L. began arguing with him, “But you don’t understand.” Speaking Russian to L., Marianna said to her, “Listen, I think God is speaking to you.” Marianna looked at the Israeli man and he nodded at her in understanding and then repeated the same thing to L. that he had said previously. Marianna and L. turned away for a brief moment, and the “man” on the motorcycle had disappeared. Though L. did not seem receptive to the message at the time of her duress, Marianna, was very encouraged by the encounter and is totally convinced that the motorcyclist was an angel. We work for a great Boss and He sometimes sends us help and encouragement in unusual ways!