Update: End of the Jewish Year of 5781

[Photo created by wirestock – www.freepik.com]

Dear Praying Friends and Supporters,

As many of you know, we celebrate three “New Years” in Israel. The religious year begins with Passover (as written in the Tenach), but the Jewish “civil” year begins in the month of Tishrei with “Rosh HaShannah” (Jewish New Year, referred to in the Torah as the Feast of Trumpets). Then, of course, there is the “secular” year, celebrated with the rest of the world on January 1.

It is with this in mind, that I am pleased to summarize the past Jewish year of 5781 and share with you our hopes for the coming year of 5782.

All of us, in every nation, have found the past year to be challenging. So first and foremost, I hope this update finds you healthy, well, and rejoicing in our Lord and Savior who has been with us through it all. Thank you for your prayers and support for us and Israel and your role in the future of a new generation here in Israel! As you read through this newsletter, please know that we are thankful for each of you who uphold us in prayer and who stand with us as we deal with life and death issues on a daily basis.

Note: Since this is a rather long newsletter, you may prefer to download it. Please feel free to share our newsletter with your friends, church, and family.

The Year in Overview

Every sector in Israel has been severely affected by COVID-19, either directly or indirectly. Israel’s educational system has been disrupted and both teachers and students have had to adapt to instruction and seminars during times of lockdown and quarantine via Zoom. The uncertainties regarding infection, impact on children and more continue to be a struggle for Israeli families. While the plan is to start the 2021-2022 school year with in-person classroom teaching, questions remain regarding protection from being contaminated by new strains and the potential for a new lockdown.

However, in the midst of all this, we remain mindful of the fact that our hope is not dependent on life’s circumstances, but is anchored in Yeshua the Messiah! He has and will continue to guide us through the eternal Word of Truth.

A Future and A Hope has continued all of its activities by adapting to change and taking advantage of new means of communication. For many of us, this represented a steep learning curve. Counseling was and is being provided to women by using different communication tools available to us, and we have seen many decisions for life throughout the course of the pandemic.

First Year of Life Program Update

The challenges of the pandemic led to our adding food assistance to the First Year of Life Program, which is aimed at helping relieve mothers and families of the financial burden associated with a newborn’s first year of life. We are thankful to each person who contributed to this program. As a result of amazing generosity and unexpected giving, A Future and A Hope continues to provide for each baby’s essential needs (crib, mattress, changing table, stroller, hand-carry, bath-tub for baby, clothing of all kinds, diapers, bottles, pacifiers, bibs, etc.), all of which are delivered to the mothers by the time they return home from the hospital with their newborns. We also remain able to supply diapers through the entire period of diaper training, as well as a monthly financial subsidy for one full year, which helps to supplement daily needs.

Just one of the many babies born this year.

Educating Mothers in Emergency First Aid

Back in January, we shared with you a new initiative: encouraging those coming to us for counseling to sign up for an emergency first aid course that focuses on the care of children and infants. If you missed that post, click here. We remain open to opportunities like this.

Update on Zoom Lectures

We are thankful for the gift of technology. We have been able to use one platform, Zoom, to provide lecture series throughout Israel. When possible, we have also given frontal in-person lectures – but as you can imagine – the situation remains fluid. So we have had to be, and remain flexible. Nevertheless, regardless of the platform, seminars and lectures have been held all year and we already have our schedule full for the months ahead!

February was quite busy and included three lectures as part of a Parenthood Training course hosted by a school in Jerusalem. The topics covered:

  • The dangers of social networks, bullying, and shaming (given by Hanni Kramer)
  • How to talk to children and teenagers about sex and sexuality (given by Orit Kramer)
  • Pornography among children and teenagers, including pedophilia in Israel and what to do in case of suspicion of sexual abuse or actual sexual assault (given by Orit Kramer)

Lord willing, another in-person workshop for youth counselors and congregational leaders is scheduled in Jerusalem after the high holy days. The lecture will focus on sexual harassment and injury. The need for such lectures reflects the sad reality of our times.

From April through June, Orit was a Guest Lecturer for another organization in Jerusalem and hosted three live/online lectures. The summer has also been filled with a number of local Zoom lectures.

Hanni giving a lecture over Zoom.

Publications Update

In March of 2021, we shared with you our project of putting out a five-part series of books, in Hebrew, dealing with “Sex in the Plan of God.” The need for such materials has been reinforced by the responses of parents and leaders of congregations to our seminar/workshops.

The first two books have already been published and distributed to congregations, Bible teachers, and youth workers. They have been well-received and we are now getting ready to go forward with a second printing.

The third book in the series (110 pages) has been translated, proofed, and is now at the printer. It should be available by mid-September.

Apart from the above-mentioned series, we have added another booklet to our plans for translation into Hebrew and adaptation for use in Israel. It deals with the kinds of pictures that can help train a child to stay away from pornography. This book will offer important information for the attendees of our lectures on the topic. We are praying about getting this to the Believing community, hopefully, by the end of 2021 or early 2022.

Expectant mothers within Israel’s believing community also face many challenges. We believe it is important to encourage them as well. To that end, we are praying about putting together a book targeted for their needs, that will provide reflections, contemplation, and spiritual encouragement for them.

Praise Our God for Decisions for Life

The rest of the summer has also been busy and is now drawing to an end. Indeed, despite the third lockdown at the beginning of this year until early June, and the present fourth coronavirus wave, our work at A Future and A Hope continues to be fruitful – in every sense of the word! We are in awe of how God is working in the lives of the women who come to us. Up until now, every single abortion-minded woman who has turned to us for counsel and advice since January of 2021 has made a decision not to abort.

Following are just a few of the stories of some of the women whom we are currently helping. Their choices to not abort are particularly special in light of the crises they have had to walk through. All names have been changed to protect their identities.

Mira, 19-years-old, was abandoned when she was 12. She was moved from one foster home to another and now resides in Haifa. Suffering from severe emotional problems, Mira was abortion-minded when she walked through our doors but changed her mind after counseling with us. She lives alone in a small apartment that was provided for her by local social services. We are thankful that Mira was not involved with prostitution. She gave birth only a few days ago and her joy is overflowing.

Nadia is 20 and from an ultra-religious Haredi background. She ran away from home at the age of 14 and has been living on the streets. All of Nadia’s meals have been leftovers handed out by restaurants at the end of the day. Her parents and family have disowned her and relate to her as though she is dead. Nadia is suffering from PTSD and was the victim of complex sexual abuse when she lived at home. Two years ago she underwent an abortion, which only added to her trauma. When Nadia came to us at the beginning of her pregnancy, she wanted to abort. However, by God’s grace, she finally decided to continue with the pregnancy and is due to give birth in September.

Patricia is a refugee from Libya. Hers is a difficult story of sexual abuse and prostitution. Furthermore, although she has lived in Israel for years, she has no status, and therefore, no rights here. Someone recommended that she contact us and we have been encouraging and helping her as much as possible. Patricia has made a decision for life and is also open to the Gospel.

Batya is in her 20’s. She immigrated to Israel at the age of 17, enlisted in the IDF, and served as a “Lone Soldier” (someone with no immediate family here). Her life in Russia had been very difficult, and now she is taking antidepressants. Batya came to us during her first trimester and decided to continue her pregnancy, despite being heavily in debt and with a very challenging economic situation before her. In July, Batya gave birth to a son. While still in the hospital, he began to suffer convulsions; it turned out that he had been badly affected by her medication. His condition was serious, but this past week, he is finally beginning to improve.

Sharon is 25 and from a Haredi family. She is currently a resident of Acco. She ran away from home after suffering severe abuse and moved from place to place, trying to survive. When Sharon came to us, she was pregnant, confused, and terribly insecure. She had absolutely no support from family members – they had utterly rejected her because she had turned away from orthodoxy. Sharon was originally planning to abort but changed her mind. Today she is receiving help from us as part of the First Year of Life Program. Although she is currently living with a friend, Social Services has promised to provide her with an apartment in the near future.

Two other women are keeping their pregnancies, even though their husbands are in prison, serving lengthy sentences. Although in the past we were threatened and harassed by such men, particularly when the women are from a Muslim background, we cannot and will not turn such women away. We are thankful to be able to be there for these women in their time of great need. Nevertheless, we would deeply appreciate your special prayers for God to work in the hearts of all involved, and for our safety in this regard.

All of the stories we’ve shared with you are difficult and challenging. Clearly, we have left much out. And yet, God is doing an amazing work in their lives. Each one who was or is now receiving counseling from us has decided to give life to their preborn children and to press on. As you pray for these women, remember to pray for all of their needs: spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical. Pray for their spiritual and physical protection, and most importantly, their salvation.

The women know that A Future and A Hope is a non-profit organization supported by people they have never met. Each one is deeply grateful for the help and encouragement they have found with us. Even the smallest assistance we give is a tremendous help in their eyes. Over the years, the First Year of Life Program, our food assistance, and monthly gift cards have proven to be major factors in helping women make decisions for life. That first year has helped them get on their feet and move ahead with their lives.

One of the Rosh HaShannah Food Baskets Prepared for Delivery

Thus Far the Lord Has Brought Us…

As 5781 comes to an end, we are so thankful for all that the Lord has accomplished through our labor, your prayers, and your gifts. To support this ministry, please see the information provided at the end of this newsletter, or visit our Donations page.

Ongoing Prayer Requests

  1. For the health of our staff and families, and for the families who look to us for assistance
  2. For the protection of our staff and the women and children we help from spiritual forces of wickedness and jealousy
  3. For continued open doors for effective service
  4. For financial provision to meet our expanding commitments to the new mothers
  5. For open hearts of the women seeking our help, for new decisions for life – physical and spiritual
  6. For special financing for our book projects

We would be happy to hear from you. If you have a comment about this Newsletter, please drop us a note (Prov. 15:23).

Bless, be blessed, and be a blessing.

Marvin S. Kramer (for us all)

Choices for Life in 2021: Spring Update

Despite the third lockdown at the beginning of this year, the work at A Future and A Hope has continued to be fruitful – in every sense of the word! We have continued with Zoom lectures to local groups, there have been several decisions for life, and as you can see by the photo heading this post – several precious babies have been born.

Update on Liel

Several of you have written to ask how Liel is doing (see our December 2020 prayer request). Liel was born at 26 weeks and we know the Lord and your prayers made a difference in her little life. After spending two months in an incubator, she is finally home with her mother. Praise God!

PTSD and Pregnancy

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can have serious consequences on people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Interestingly, most of the women who have come to us over the last two months have been relatively young and suffering from PTSD. Their stories are heartbreaking and inspiring. God has given them the courage to choose life despite harrowing circumstances.

Karen, in her mid-20’s, suffers from both PTSD and an eating disorder. When she came to us, pregnant with her second child, Karen was considering abortion due to difficult family and socio-economic circumstances. Her (now older) son suffers from a life-threatening allergy to dairy products. Karen is a victim of physical violence from her husband. He not only has attempted to kill her, but he has also threatened to kill their older son, now 5, and who was traumatized as a result. Karen made a brave decision for life and is now taking care of her two sons alone under very difficult economic circumstances.

Rosa, 21, was born into a Haredi orthodox family and experienced severe, sexual abuse during her formative years. Her family was quite unsupportive during the time that she was abused. In the end, she left them and started living on the streets. All too soon thereafter she began taking drugs, became involved in prostitution, and at the age of 17 became pregnant for the first time. She carried the child to term and placed him for adoption when she was allowed to live in a woman’s shelter, enabling her to get off the streets. However, a few months later, she returned to drugs and prostitution. After being clean from drugs and getting out of prostitution for nearly two years, she came to us for counseling – pregnant with her second child. Rosa gave birth two weeks ago and is now in the process of getting a government-sponsored apartment.

Alice is 28, a manic depressive who also suffers from PTSD. She had been repeatedly raped by her father over a long period of time and had already undergone an abortion when she became pregnant by him. She came to us during her second pregnancy, apprehensive and fearful. During the course of counseling, she decided not to abort and gave birth to a healthy son on March 31.

Our Latest Blessing: Alice’s Newborn

Tatiana is in her 20’s. She and her husband are both from families who were drug dealers, so it is no surprise that they also have a drug addiction background. Thankfully, they have both come to faith in their Messiah Yeshua not too long ago. Tatiana’s mother and step-father both died from drug overdoses and she has been exposed to drugs from the time she was born. After becoming pregnant, she was worried and was considering aborting the child. Both she and her husband chose life for their pre-born child, are receiving help from A Future and A Hope, and are attending a local congregation.

Billie is 23 and came to us during her first trimester of pregnancy. She had left home at the age of 17 after several difficult years of sexual abuse; however, she fell into prostitution and heavy drug use. She suffers from both manic depression and PTSD. Billie is working toward rehabilitation and is actively involved in a program to achieve that goal. After a long period of hesitation, she has decided to continue with her pregnancy and is genuinely looking forward to delivering in June.

Shilli is 32, a manic depressive who also suffers from PTSD. She was raped and sexually abused during her childhood. Shilli came to us for counseling during her fourth pregnancy; this time she has decided not to abort and to raise the child. In the past, she has been involved with prostitution and drugs but has been clean and off the streets over the last few years. She is due to deliver in May.

Karen, Rosa, Alice, Tatiana, Billie, and Shilli have all taken a course on birthing, breast-feeding, and child-rearing, given by a Doula who works with our organization. They are also receiving parenting training and ongoing family counseling from our counselors.

Although they have made decisions for life – they cannot do it alone. They need physical help, emotional counseling, and ultimately, a relationship with their heavenly Father.

Specific Prayer Requests

The First Year of Life Program is a critical component in helping these and many other women coming to A Future and A Hope. Your support of this program helps in ways far beyond the material. In meeting their physical needs, each woman is reminded that she is not alone and that she is loved. Very often, your support helps them to find the courage to carry on, to not give up, and ultimately, helps to soften hard hearts. Please pray for strong support of this program so that we can continue to support the women who seek our help.

Our counselors need wisdom from above to know how to reach the women coming to them. While problems are similar on the surface, each situation is unique. Despite their training, they need God’s patience, wisdom, and grace, to provide the guidance each woman needs.

And finally, please pray for each of these women. In choosing life for their children, may they gain a glimpse into their Heavenly Father’s love for them, and ultimately yield to His love.

For more information on how you can support A Future and A Hope, visit our donations page.

As always, we are grateful to you for your support and prayers.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a blessed Easter as we rejoice in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Yeshua.

Messiah is Risen! – He is Risen Indeed! – Hallelujah!

May you be blessed and be a blessing.

In Messiah Yeshua,

Marvin

January 2021 Update and Prayer Request

Shalom all. Last year was a challenging year for all of us. All sectors of Israel have been severely affected by COVID-19, either directly or indirectly. No one has remained unaffected. Israel’s educational system has been disrupted at all levels and both teachers and students have had to adapt to instruction during times of lockdown and quarantine via Zoom. It has not been an easy time at all!

Still, through it all, we are mindful of the fact that our hope is not dependent on life’s circumstances, but is anchored in Yeshua the Messiah! Our instruction for how to live is ongoing through the eternal Word of Truth.

During this time, A Future and A Hope has continued its activities in all respects; we’ve simply changed the means of communication and assistance. Counseling has been given to women by using various telecommunication technologies and we have seen many decisions made for life throughout the course of the pandemic. In addition, we decided to add food assistance to our First Year of Life Program.

We began this new civil year spurred on by the decisions for life and the children born this month and due to be born in the coming months. We have encouraged many of the women whom we counsel to sign up for an emergency first aid course focusing on care of children and infants. The course trains them in resuscitation, treatment of head injuries, suffocation and more. We offered to pay the enrollment fee and had an immediate response: 10 women signed up for the course and received a Certificate of Successful Completion issued by Magen David Adom in Israel (the featured image for this article shows one such certificate).

Prayer Requests

We would greatly appreciate specific prayers for a series of lectures that we will be giving by Zoom in February. The lectures will be for a Parenthood Training course being hosted by a school in Jerusalem. We will be giving three lectures, as follows:

February 4: The dangers of social networks, bullying, and shaming (to be given by Hanni Kramer)

February 15: How to talk to children and teenagers about sex and sexuality (to be given by Orit Kramer)

February 17: Pornography among children and teenagers, including pedophilia in Israel and what to do in case of suspicion of sexual abuse or actual sexual assault (to be given by Orit Kramer)

Please pray for the speakers, the attendees, and the technology – wisdom for the speakers, open hearts of the listeners, and working computer systems!

Thank you

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for the many comments left on our website, and emails sent to us. Your concern, questions, prayers, and support are deeply appreciated.

May this new civil year bring with it the fullness of good health and the joy of the Lord that flows from deep down within you.

Blessings always in Messiah Yeshua, the Lord of Life.

Marvin

Liel, born Dec 18, weighed 600 gm.

Pray for Liel

One of the women who made a decision for life after receiving counsel at A Future and A Hope gave birth on December 18, at 26 weeks. The newborn weighed in at 600 grams and is presently hooked up to an incubator. She has gained 300 grams in the last 3 days. She has been named Liel (pronounced Lee-El).

Liel’s name means, “I have God.” What a precious name. Her mother is well and grateful for your prayers. Please pray for Liel’s continued health, growth, and that she may indeed have God in her heart from a young age.

As we approach the Christmas holiday, may Liel’s birth and her vulnerability remind us of another birth celebrated at this time of year. What a joy to remember that the Prince of Peace was given to save you, me, Liel, and her mother.

May you be blessed and be a blessing.

In Messiah Yeshua,

Marvin

You Prayed and God Answered!

Dear Friends, Prayer Warriors, and Faithful Supporters,

We had asked for prayer on October 18 for Lilia. She had been scheduled to undergo a Caesarian delivery for twins. Thank you for your prayers. The Lord answered beyond all that we asked. Yesterday, Lilia gave birth — naturally — without surgical intervention — to these two beautiful boys who were saved from abortion.

Please keep this new family in your prayers that the Lord would meet their every need — physically and spiritually.

On another note, I’d like to ask for prayer for one of our team: Debbie, who does an excellent job with our website, has had several health issues lately, and now is facing a new one that keeps her from sleeping well and interferes with her daily joy.

Please also pray for our counsellor, Irena and her family, which includes a special needs child; they are moving into a new apartment.

The rest of us are doing well, but obviously still struggling with the limitations placed on us due to the pandemic. May the Lord’s good purposes be fulfilled in our time.

Prayerfully yours,

Marvin

October 18 2020: Urgent Prayer Request

Dear Friends, Prayer Warriors, and Faithful Supporters,

We have two emergency prayer requests to bring before the Lord of Life.

Kindly note that all names have been changed to protect their identities.

Monday morning (October 19), Lilia is scheduled to deliver twins via Caesarian section. She already has a 3-year-old child and we have been accompanying her throughout the entire pregnancy. She is concerned and apprehensive about the surgery. Please keep her in your prayers for an easy and healthy delivery and speedy healing.

Second, Melanie came to us a few years back when she was abortion-minded. After receiving counsel, she made a decision for life and gave birth to a healthy child who is now 3 years old. She was absolutely thrilled that she had decided against an abortion.

Melanie is now in her twenties and in the first trimester of another pregnancy. She contacted us for counsel and encouragement. Her economic situation is quite bad and she has been seriously considering aborting because of it. We encouraged her to wait, not to rush into an abortion, and we promised to stand by her and help however we can. Please pray Melanie, that she will again make a bold decision like she did four years ago, and that the Lord will honor such a decision and meet her needs in amazing ways.

May these precious women come to know the source of life, and to trust Him with all their lives.

Prayerfully yours.

Marvin

Photography: Jonathan Borba on Unsplash