Dear Brothers and Sisters in our Lord and Savior Yeshua the Messiah,
On March 12, 2023, we will be holding a special workshop for teens from ages 11–14 in a congregation in Jerusalem. The topic will be on sexual harassment and assault. As you can imagine, these are sensitive and difficult issues to discuss with young people. Topics discussed will include how to identify, report, and handle sexual harassment and assaults in a manner that will honor and glorify God.
Please pray for us as we present this topic, that the Lord will grant us great wisdom in sharing, and for the youth that they will find truth and hope in what is ministered, and gain confidence in the Lord in how to handle situations that are sadly, increasingly common in our modern society.
We are working on another update regarding our other programs, seminars, conferences, and translation projects into Hebrew. However, that will have to wait for another time. In the meantime, we hope you will be blessed by our new 2023 banner, and the photos shown above.
We have been quite busy since our last major update – one of the reasons why we do not post more often. We are deeply thankful to the Lord for His great grace and mercy poured out repeatedly into the preborn children and their mothers that come our way. We never cease to be amazed and humbled at how He works and brings light into the darkest places and hope into the most desperate hearts.
Most of the women who have come to use in recent months are relatively young. Tragically, despite their youth, they are also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Katya is in her mid-20s, now the mother of two, and suffers from eating disorders and PTSD. Her oldest has a life-threatening allergy to dairy products. But even worse, both have suffered from severe physical and emotional trauma. After giving birth to her son, the baby’s father wanted to kill them both. Thankfully, the father failed in his attempt to murder her. After all she had gone through and struggling with her son’s physical condition, Katya was very abortion-minded when she first came to us. However, after counseling, she made the courageous decision not to abort and gave birth to another son. K’s financial situation is quite difficult, and we are helping her as much as we can through our First Year of Life Program.
Rikki is 21 years old. Born into an ultra-Orthodox religious family, she was severely exploited and sexually abused. Her situation became progressively worse, and Rikki finally decided to leave home. However, with no reasonable means of support, she ended up living on the street and became involved with prostitution and drugs. When she was 17, Rikki became pregnant and decided to give the child up for adoption. After giving up her child, Rikki’s life continued along the same path of prostitution and drugs until she discovered she was pregnant again. Referred to us by a friend, Rikki has been undergoing extended counseling with us. She has been able to get off of drugs and left her life of prostitution. Two months ago, Rikki gave birth to a daughter and is now in the process of getting an apartment from the government.
Elana is 28 and has been diagnosed with manic depression and PTSD. She was repeatedly raped by her father for several years, became pregnant, and had an abortion. Elana came to us during her second pregnancy, hesitant about carrying the child to term. After two counseling sessions, she decided not to abort. Please pray for her, as she continues to have awful nightmares because of the abuse she suffered.
Tammi is in her 20s. She and her husband both have backgrounds of drug addiction going back several years – in both of their families. Tammi’s mother and adoptive father both died from an overdose. After becoming pregnant, she was considering an abortion. However, she changed her mind after receiving assistance from A Future and A Hope, and the local community. Tammi is now looking forward to giving birth in another two months.
Batya is 23 years old. When she first came to A Future and a Hope, we learned that she had left home when she was 17 after suffering from severe sexual abuse. As often happens in cases like hers, Batya’s life went into a downward spiral toward prostitution and hard drugs. Pregnant when she came to us, Batya was afraid she would not be able to care for her child properly. Thankfully, as the months passed, she changed her mind and made great strides to rehabilitate herself. She became excited about her pregnancy and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in June. As of this post, Batya remains off drugs and is doing well.
Shula, 32, is among the older women who have come to us. As a child, she suffered rape and sexual abuse over an extended period. Shula too, fell into prostitution and drugs and eventually had three abortions. Shula came to us during her fourth pregnancy, having decided she wanted to keep her child. She is now clean from drugs and gave birth in May. Shula hopes to give her child a happier life than the one she experienced. Please pray that she can do that and more by God’s grace!
How A Future and A Hope Makes a Difference
All the women mentioned above have undergone or are undergoing childbirth preparation and a breastfeeding and baby care course given by a trained Doula who works with A Future and A Hope. They also receive parenting guidance and counseling from our staff. All of the women receive help through our First Year of Life Program, and quite often, the women stay in contact with us long after the financial support ends.
However, preserving life and encouraging mothers in crisis pregnancy situations is only one aspect of our ministry. In addition, we provide seminars and workshops on sex education, harassment, pornography, pedophilia, good touch versus bad touch, and other related subjects geared toward parents and teens as well as the Messianic community. These workshops are not just important but necessary in this increasingly sexualized world – even in Israel. While the need for these workshops is a tragic fact, we are deeply grateful for the grace of God in opening doors for effective service and His power that is still touching and changing the hardest of hearts.
As you pray for the women who come through our doors, please remember that what we have shared is but a tiny drop in the bucket of sorrows they have suffered. Pray for them that the Man of Sorrows would heal their broken and bruised hearts; that they would come to know and trust the Father of Light – the Father of the Fatherless as the Father who truly cares for them and loves them as their own fathers never could. Pray that the Lord would protect them from evil and the evil one and that their children would indeed grow up in homes filled with love, light, and hope.
Please pray for the staff of A Future and A Hope. May He give us the wisdom to guide each one He brings our way. When we speak at seminars and workshops, may the Lord give us HIS words to help the Body of Messiah and unbelievers learn to discern the truth regarding these timely topics. May the attendees have teachable and soft hearts that will turn to the Lord and seek purity.
Our Prayer for You
We give thanks for each of you. You are standing with us in this fierce battle, and your prayers are making a difference. Your giving is making a difference. May the Lord bless you and keep you from all evil; may He meet your needs, and hear the cries of your hearts.
Bless, be blessed, and be a blessing.
Marvin S. Kramer (for us all)
*All names have been changed for the safety of those involved.
On May 22 and 23, three workshops will be held in Jerusalem on the topic of online and physical sexual abuse. Each workshop is aimed at a different group of participants: youth counselors, Junior High students, and High School students.
Hanni and Orit will be giving the workshops. They would be grateful for your prayers on their behalf — for protection, grace, and wisdom. The topic is complex, sensitive, and full of information. Most attendees will be from the believing community, though others may also come. Please pray that all those attending will have hearts willing to hear, open to receive, and ready to change.
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.
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.
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.
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
For the health of our staff and families, and for the families who look to us for assistance
For the protection of our staff and the women and children we help from spiritual forces of wickedness and jealousy
For continued open doors for effective service
For financial provision to meet our expanding commitments to the new mothers
For open hearts of the women seeking our help, for new decisions for life – physical and spiritual
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).
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.
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!
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).
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!
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.