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.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Messiah – and Friends of A Future and A Hope,
This is a special prayer request for a young mom (we will call her “C“). C is in her twenties, has a one-year-old son, and she immigrated to Israel a short while ago. When she discovered that she was pregnant, she wanted to perform an abortion. After she counselled with Irena, she did a total turn-around and was convinced that she needed to continue with the pregnancy. She was and is in serious financial distress.
About a week ago, C‘s gynecologist told her that she was unable to detect the heartbeat of the child developing in her womb. The doctor sent C to the hospital where, after being examined, they told her that there is indeed a heartbeat, that her pregnancy is OK, and that she would not have to abort the child.
C took the results given to her at the hospital to her Ob-Gyn. She was examined a second time by her physician, who told her again that she could not hear a heartbeat, and that she would be given Mifegyne (RU 486) to induce an abortion. The doctor gave her the pill and she took it. Afterwards, she contacted Irena in tears, saying that she can’t even think about the possibility of aborting the child and didn’t know how she could think to do so earlier. She so regretted her earlier intentions and didn’t know what to do. Irena encouraged her in every way possible, but C became very depressed over the possibility of losing the child.
Irena is in touch with her by telephone and learned last night that C tried to commit suicide because she didn’t trust enough that her pregnancy was OK, despite the hospital’s reassurances, and that she had followed the advice of her Ob-Gyn and taken the pill to induce an abortion. A spirit of death is hovering over her and she is having difficulty getting over her decision. A week has gone by since she took the Mifegyne and she still has not aborted the child. Her Ob-Gyn said that if the child is not “expelled” by the end of the day (today), she will have to perform a D&C tomorrow and clean out C‘s womb of any trace of her pregnancy.
We serve a God Who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond anything we can ask or think. He has done so before. We are asking for your prayers that the abortion pill will have absolutely no effect, that C will be delivered from this depression, and be able to continue with a healthy pregnancy.
As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, pregnant women haven’t been coming to our office out of fear of coming in contact with an infected person on their way here or home. On our part, we don’t want to make appointments with women, because of concern that they, themselves, might be infected. In light of the Israeli government’s restrictions, it is probably a wise thing to do. Nevertheless, pregnant women continue to call us on the phone during this pandemic crisis to ask a multitude of health-related questions due to their concern over the possibility of contracting the virus, how it would affect their pre-born child, whether they should abort, how can they protect themselves, and more.
Mixed Messages from Authorities
Israel’s Ministry of Health has ordered that only certain “elective” medical procedures can be performed during the crisis, and they did not include voluntary abortions in the list. As a result, hospital administrators, in consultation with the local abortion committee, determine whether or not to carry out the termination of a pregnancy. Obviously, some will approve it, while others that normally do, won’t – at least for now – until further notice. As a result of the present situation, the abortion committee for each hospital appears to be deciding whether to reduce the number of abortions performed and how much to reduce. Presently, there seems to be a widespread cancellation of appointments to perform abortions, most probably due to the fact that women, who are generally healthy, don’t want to be exposed to the potential risks of disease by going to the hospital.
Some women’s organizations have applied to the Ministry of Health, asking them to add “cessation of pregnancy” (abortion) to the list of exceptional procedures, as well as to find a solution that would allow the continued performance of an abortion during this period, while maintaining the safety of teens and women, and reducing unnecessary trips to the hospitals.
The Essential Services Argument
These organization argue that “Termination of pregnancy is not a procedure that can be delayed and violating the right to accessible and safe abortions could very well cause women to act out of despair in ways that would endanger them. We must protect those women so they can receive this essential service, despite the current situation.” This, by the way, is also the position of pro-abortion organizations in the United States.
The Ministry of Health says that in every hospital there is an Exceptions Committee that can decide on matters that are not included in the list of approved procedures, and that it is up to them to determine if a procedure is needed, including abortions.
So, while many appointments for voluntary abortions are being cancelled, there is a strong push to try to get the hospitals to be more flexible in performing abortions and in bypassing the abortion committee.
Women are Seeking Answers
Nevertheless, our phone continues to be busy, with calls being forwarded to Orit or to Irena. Praise the Lord! Women want someone to listen to them and to encourage them to continue their pregnancies, which is what we do, while others are pressuring them to abort. This is not an easy time for them.
To drive the point home, another article from 21 March, 2020, appeared in the Hebrew news publication Devar, The Workers in Israel, entitled Pregnancy and Birth in the Shadow of the Plague, in which it listed a series of questions and answers.
In the last full paragraph, the question is asked: “If I test positive to the virus, will the virus be transferred from me to the baby?”
The answer, according to Prof. Roni Maimon, Chairman of the Israeli Midwives and Gynecology Organization and Director of the Women’s and Newborn’s Unit in the Shamir Medical Center – Asaf HaRofeh, was:
“From all appearances, the virus does not go from the mother to the [pre-born child – in Hebrew, the term used is “fetus”] in the womb, nor during the process of giving birth or in the mother’s milk. It can be transmitted from the parent to the child by close contact. On the other hand, the baby needs close contact with his or her mother. The question whether the baby should be separated from the mother, or if it is enough that the mother protects herself while she is in contact with the baby is still being clarified.”
Translated from Devar, The Workers in Israel, 21 March 2020
From various reports, the number of abortions has declined in various countries around the world, due to closure of health facilities and institutions that provide assistance to women, not only in treatment, but of supplies of usually available means of contraception.
No Clear Answer
One of the Hebrew papers reported that The American Disease Control Center addressed the issue of the presence of coronavirus in breast milk, the risk of infecting infants in the uterus, and the risk of birth defects and miscarriages. It determined that the risk of transmitting the virus to an unborn child (they refer to the child as a fetus) or to a newborn during labor is unknown. To date, none of the newborns has been found to be infected with COVID-19, nor was the virus detected in the amniotic fluid of the pre-born children. So, clearly, the coronavirus is not a reason to encourage abortion.
However, research has not stopped there; it is looking at the only “known” based on the prior coronavirus epidemics – SARS and MERS, as well as regular flu viruses. For those viruses, pregnant women were found to be more susceptible to complications; hence, they are being advised to keep a safe distance between themselves and COVID-19 carriers who are in isolation.
A Call to Prayer
May life be snatched from the jaws of death and bless those who choose life.
Thank you all for standing with us in prayer and material support during this unprecedented time in our recent history. Please keep our team in prayer, that we would have wisdom to answer the many questions directed toward us. And please continue to remember the woman facing a decision for life, as well as those who have already made that decision.
Bless, be blessed, and be a blessing. Marvin (for us all)
May this find you well, encouraged, and strengthened during these difficult days.
As we approach the Feast of Passover, a time of God’s deliverance of His people, we want to express heartfelt thanks to you for standing alongside with us, both spiritually and practically. We have shared what we are doing, we have expressed a need for help, and you have responded, encouraging us greatly, along with many women and newborns, who are part of our First Year of Life Program.
Now we are turning to you for continued prayer regarding two situations, shared below.
New Website Design
When you visit the site this time, you will notice that our new logo is now displayed, along with a slightly updated appearance of the site. We hope you enjoy the new look.
Thankfulness and Praise
In addition to the newborns who made their grand entrance as Israeli citizens in recent days, we are truly thankful for the support that we receive that enables us to help moms and tots who struggle to make ends meet.
In this regard, we arranged with a local merchant to deliver special, holiday care packages to a number of the women, who chose to give life to their pre-born children. As part of our First Year of Life Program, we were able to supply each woman with three separate gift baskets, valued at NIS 500 each, containing meat, fruit, vegetables, snacks, sweets, diapers, and toilet paper, among other items. These were all delivered to the women’s apartments (without entering inside – according to government regulations). The baskets were delivered to them with a note expressing our love for them and wishes for a joyful Passover.
The thanks and praise that we receive from them are due to your partnering with us and being involved in the continuing miracle of life.
Pictured: Photos sent to us by one of the moms, representative of the items delivered to each woman.
Special Prayer Needs
Mother and Needy Son Stuck at Home
Karen (not her real name) is a single mom and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She came to us for counsel when she was three months pregnant and made a bold decision for life. A month ago Karen gave birth to a healthy son. She has another son, four-years old, who is also suffering from PTSD. Both he and Karen were victims of violence from the father of the children, who is now in police custody.
The older son is exhibiting destructive behavior and, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, he is not able to receive any professional support or treatment that would otherwise be available through the Department of Welfare. Furthermore, again because of the country-wide lockdown, Karen and her children are unable to leave for any reason, and cannot receive social assistance for herself. Her parents, who had helped out in the past, cannot even visit her or the children because of the present health crisis. Furthermore, now her parents are also sick (not with the virus, thankfully!).
Please pray for strength, wisdom, and grace for Karen and for other single parents, who are trying to cope under extremely difficult circumstances.
Wisdom for Hanni and Teachable Spirits for Listeners (April 7 “Zoominar”)
This coming Tuesday evening (tomorrow), April 7th, at 8:00 p.m. Israel time, Hanni will be giving a “Zoom” presentation to 30-50 youth counselors. She will speak about the unique challenges that teenagers face, particularly during this health crisis, when they are forced to remain at home and are spending a considerably increased time on the Internet.
Among the topics that will be discussed are:
The current situation (how much time children and youth spend on-screen and what they do);
Dangers of prolonged Internet use and social media interaction;
Challenges (lessons on the use of Zoom, if they have nothing else to do with their time);
Specific challenges for youth during the Covid-19 crisis.
Please pray for wisdom for Hanni in sharing, and for attentive and teachable spirits on the part of the youth counselors.
Passover Blessings to You
May you be blessed by the One, Who is the Lord of Life and Who gives life eternal to those who put their faith and truth in Him. He kept us from the plagues imposed on Egypt, He will free us from the plague of the Coronavirus.
Hag Pesach Sameach (May you have a joyful Passover)!
Dear Supporters and Prayer Warriors for A Future and A Hope:
Blessings to you, with prayers for good health, strength,
wisdom, and protection.
A lot has happened in our lives since our
last update in December, when we posted a photo of one of the precious new
babies born as a result of this ministry. We had also asked for prayer and new
support for the First Year of LifeProgram.
Many of you not only prayed, but chose to be a part of the answer to our prayers. Thank you for your quick, loving, and much needed response.
The pandemic is worldwide and Israel is battling this new virus on every level. Over the past few weeks there have been increasing restrictions. New guidelines are being issued every few days as our leaders seek, in any way possible, to limit the number of people who become infected. To date, almost 5,000 people have been infected and there have been 19 deaths. The mayor of Haifa recently advised the residents of Haifa that our city is in a relatively good situation with regard to infections, as compared to the rest of the country (we ranked 17th out of 152 locations in Israel). Social distancing is having a positive effect, though it does make ministry more challenging.
Our ministry continues, despite the pandemic
Like most of the country, everyone on our team is under
government guidelines not to leave home, unless it is for a permissible reason
that is exempted from the major lockdown. The needs of some sectors of the
country have become even more acute during this time of crisis, particularly
when freedom of movement is restricted. In addition to the elderly, families
with a newborn at home, or a woman who is in the third trimester of pregnancy
are among those in need of special attention and assistance. For us, extending
a helping hand to them during this time of crisis is rendering an essential
service. We are thankful that our help is also a permitted service.
With face masks on and rubber gloves, A Future and A
Hope is endeavoring to help meet the needs of this particularly
hard-hit sector of the country. We pack up the car with different sizes of diapers
and baby clothes and deliver them at the residences of the moms and tots, arranging
with them in advance to leave these items at their doors, to avoid endangering
our own health through physical contact. At the same time, we give the mothers
a gift card to supplement their basic needs. These services and provisions are
part of our First Year of Life Program and are in addition to the
basic items that we provide during the newborn’s first year of life.
Without question, the recipients of the diapers, clothes,
and gift cards are touched and grateful, even to the point of tears. The
multitudes who have been laid off from work, some on a “leave without
pay” situation, include some of the families that we are helping. We are
stretched to the limit in every area, but remain committed to follow through
for as long as we have the ability to do so.
Pictured at the top of this post: Orit delivering diapers to one of our mothers.
In January, we asked for prayer for Eve (not her real name), the young woman who suffered from osteomalacia. She gave birth to a healthy son four days ago, following a speedy delivery, without an epidural. This was an encouraging answer to prayer. Thanks for being part of the continuing miracle of birth.
In that vein, we know you will celebrate with us the birth of another boy – El Roei. What a joy it was to celebrate his Brit Mila!
New Hebrew booklets for children
As part of the expanded nature of the ministry of A Future and A Hope, we recently embarked on publishing a series, in Hebrew, dealing with “Sex in the Plan of God,” which is suitable for teaching children of different age groups, according to their levels of maturity and understanding. We received permission from the publisher of the books in English to translate and adapt them from English to Hebrew in a culturally relevant manner. The first two booklets have just been published. Titled “Before I Was Born” and “The Story of Me,” the books will not be sold, but rather distributed to those who attend the seminars and conferences where we will be speaking.
Ongoing needs to help the helpless
How can you help? The economic crisis generated by the coronavirus pandemic has impacted every sector of our society, across the board. Non-profit organizations are experiencing a decrease in donations as the economic unrest causes personal concerns to shift what were once priorities. Banks are helping private individuals to defer loan repayments for a period of time and tend to be more lenient with individuals whose income has suddenly ceased. The situation is different for non-profits, who are not allowed to have a credit line or to enter into a minus situation. Hence, when funds are depleted, the assistance also comes to a halt.
If you want to help and are able to do so, please visit our Donate Now page, to make a PayPal donation or for information on how to send a bank-to-bank transfer. As always, each donation will be issued a receipt.
Closing thoughts for encouragement
You are very much in our prayers, as I am sure we are in yours as together, we live through current events that have challenged and will continue to challenge us at every level—for a time still unknown to us. However, our God remains sovereign. May this be a time during which each of us is encouraged in our Lord, emboldened to share the Good News to our hurting world, and use every means possible to minister His love to a hurting and desperate world.