Monthly Archives: June 2013

Inside Jerusalem

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua.  Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

Although most of us picture doves as white, the doves of Jerusalem are that beautiful ‘doe’ color, like a deer.  Perhaps you wonder why I write so much concerning nature.  Today I believe I understood the reason , besides the fact that I have always loved nature.

When we first made arrived, we found that our new reality demanded that we find work as soon as possible.  Not being able to handle my new language at all and NOT having many qualifying skills AND being 49 years old at the time, I was happy to be offered a job with a rather well known international ministry.  Being in this intense part of the world, there are probably more large, international ministries functioning here then anywhere else on earth, and not just ‘English speaking ones’ either.  It is the same with news media outlets. There are more world news media groups stationed here then anywhere else on the earth.  That should say something because if you’ve been here,  you know what a tiny city Jerusalem is.

When I was offered work with this ministry I asked them to pray with me as there were some doctrinal issues that they held that I could not stand in agreement with, not foundational ones of course.  They prayed and assured me that I was the one for the job and it would be fine.  I was so thankful for the work as the main part of my job was answering many of the letters that they received and I loved that.  We began each day with Bible reading and prayer and I loved the fellowship, inspite of our differences.

But the area that I was not in agreement with allowed them to embrace a false prophecy, which led them to the verge of bankruptcy. Most of the staff had to be immediately dismissed, including me.  It was then that I found out that they had not been paying into our form of ‘social security’ for me, which the boss was required to do. This left me, after a year and a half of working, not being able to receive unemployment.

The Lord certainly works everything to the good and for His glory. It turned out to be the beginning of an intensive course in learning to REALLY trust Him and walk by faith in a new dimension.  I had no work for two years after that.  Plus, my husband was not in the country at the time – another story that ends up glorifying Him. I felt firmly that He was directing me to work in a secular job, immersed in my new ‘culture’ rather then to work again with a ministry. He surely has directed my path.  But what in the world does this all have to do with ‘nature’ and ‘doves’?

Just this:  Because we are such a small body here and so dispersed, I now have very little opportunity for fellowship outside of our weekly meeting, but today I realized just how much He speaks to me through His creation.  I understood that I daily ‘fellowship’ with Him in this manner (as well, of course, in His Word and in prayer) and am edified.  No, it does NOT take the place of ‘fellowship’ with the body (HIS perfect design) but He always provides when we want His will, and this is part of my current provision.

And now, back to our doe colored doves.

Jerusalem is covered with doves.  I have learned that if they are nearby as I walk and don’t look directly at them or speak to them (yes…I do that and readily admit it), they will stay where they are. But if I look at them or speak, they will fly away.  Now we all know that The Holy Spirit came as a dove so as I learned this I have thought about how The Holy Spirit did not come to speak of Himself, but to point to Yeshua, to bring into remembrance everything that He said and to magnify Him…not to draw attention to Himself.

But yesterday my attention was drawn directly to a dove sitting on the ground next to a wooden fence along my path.  He looked at me and I sensed that he was injured.  I went toward him and he did not move, but kept watching me.  I saw that his gentle breast had been harmed, most likely by a cat.  I reached down to pick him up, but stopped. Where would I bring him?  There was no place nearby that would make him less prey for another cat attack, nor could I bring him to work. He would be petrified.  I know enough that if I were to touch him, he would carry my ‘scent’ and that might be worse.

So, I stood and prayed simply that The Lord, Who cares for all creatures, would care for him mercifully, and went to walk on.  A bit further I felt just bothered to leave him like that so I turned to go back and then I saw a most unusual sight.  Another dove flew down and began to peck at him and flap his wings angrily.  I felt so bad, thinking that he was being attacked UNTIL I saw him reluctantly move. Then, after some more pecking and harassment, move again, and suddenly, hesitantly, he took off in unsteady flight to a tree.  The second bird came to rescue him and had likely been watching when I stooped down.

Immediately I thought of so many of the painful and harsh things that seem to come into our lives when we feel most vulnerable and I wondered at the goodness of God to ‘afflict us in His faithfulness’ (as is repeated over and over in Psalm 119, that marvelous teaching Psalm)  for example 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.  And verse  71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,that I may learn Your statutes.

Do my ‘parables’ drive you crazy?  I hope not.  I gather strength as mana to go through my days as He blesses me with these encouragements.  I actually thought about it as I was faced with my daily train ride.

Two days in a row I arrived halfway to my destination when the loud speaker announced a‘hefetz ha’shood’ or an ‘unidentified object’ that the bomb squad was being called out to investigate. We are usually advised to ‘walk’ or ‘possibly wait up to half an hour’, but this week, the first time, we were told that we would all have to get off of the train as the driver was being told to turn around and go in the other direction.  The lady-older-then-myself with some 20 kilos of cherries that she had just bought at the shuk began to grumble loudly, as did the very old man with a walker.  Soon there was quite a rebellion taking place as it was noon and the sun was hot and the train was crowded with elderly people with packages or young mothers with babies.

I decided to walk rather then listen to the rage.  Thankfully today we were allowed to sit and wait.  As we did I looked around and it hit me for the first time that our trains carry perhaps a pretty odd assortment.  They are full of baby carriages and strollers, often twin strollers.  There are lots of shopping carts (mine included) and then there are walkers, canes, crutches, wheel chairs, Seeing Eye dogs, shopping bags, suitcases and myriads of backpacks, not to mention weapons.  More then occasionally there are also the ‘tools of the trade:’ a mop and bucket, large tool box, computers or assorted furniture being brought home.  Sitting next to me today was a woman with a portable oxygen tank attached to her nose.  In front of us stood a young girl with BOTH a rocking horse and a plastic push ‘bike’.  And then there are all of those pregnant women.  No wonder the train is always so crowed.

Things here are more volatile and tense then ever, if that is possible.  I think back to the beginnings of the ‘revolution’ in Egypt that began very shortly after the US President visited there, and how ‘revolt’ has been sparked in almost the entire region.  The nations on all of our borders are shaking and smoldering. And the world is so foolishly trying to ‘solve the problems’ with embarrassing rhetoric and shallow human reasoning that knows almost nothing of the ancient roots of the problems, nor of The Maker Who is watching over His Word.

The latest moves to ‘arm the rebels’ in Syria, while screaming and crying about all of the people dying, is so pathetic that it can not be seen as funny.  More weapons will NOT stop the bloodshed.  I look at my Bible and see so many circumstances for which there was NO HUMAN SOLUTION.

Take, for example: the Sea in front and the Egyptians behind as the Israelites came out of Egypt.  Perhaps, it was thousands in the wilderness without food in both the ancient days during the 40 years in the wilderness and the nearer days when Yeshua said ‘How many loaves have you?…Bring it to Me!’  What about Legion howling in the tombs or the lame man waiting for the stirring of the waters?  AND how about Yeshua dead in the tomb?  Oh my, there is no end to examples. In fact the Bible is FULL of situations that there was NO human solutions.

Yet we live in an age of ‘humanism’ and seem to actually have a foot in the door of the one world system that will carry the mark for buying and selling.  I can see much more clearly how that could be possible now.

When our value added tax went up 1%, I somehow thought that my bills would also go up 1%, but  I have NO understanding of economics. Bills (especially grocery bills) have shot up a whopping 25%. Since wages don’t increase, I think of how young families who are not prepared by The Word, mixed with faith and the fear of God, will withstand taking such a mark.  From my vantage point the world appears to be spinning faster and faster out of the control of the nations and their leaders.

There are those of you who pray for our nation. And also, I am aware that there are many who might read some of these letters who don’t find time to pray.  PLEASE don’t take ANY condemnation from me when I mention those who do.  It is ALL unto The Lord and we ALL do what we can and believe we are called to do.  Please be released from any condemnation over this.

I would like to ask for specific prayer for a 60 year old problem that I believe our nation is poised to impose a solution that is perhaps unjust and I am very concerned.  As you know we have a Bedouin population.  The Bedouins are a fascinating people.  They are nomads who I suspect are the people described in Jeremiah 35:1-12. They live mostly in the Negev where they move their goats and camels from place to place living in tent like structures with large extended families.  (Google Bedouin if you are unfamiliar with them.)

Over the years efforts have been made to settle them in villages and extend benefits to them: education, health care, sanitation etc.  They are currently listed as the most rapidly growing population in the world.  Their land claims are not written down.  Israel is a small nation and wants to establish its borders.  Legislation has just passed to establish the Bedouin in villages against their will which strikes me a lot like ‘American Indian Reservations’.

I have a long personal history with Indian Reservations. So, my heart breaks at the thought that the same awful injury might be done here.  Please pray that this legislation is somehow overturned and some just solution is found.  The Druze population in the North was also nomadic and they were peacefully settled into villages, but I have a very bad feeling about this Bedouin decision.  Thank you for praying if The Holy Spirit brings it to mind.

But in the midst of all of the ‘distressing news’, you likely haven’t heard of the more then 30 wounded Syrians from both sides of the conflict that have been treated in Israeli hospitals as friends or family bring them to our borders.  Also, a lovely ‘peace prize’ was just awarded to our fast response health motorcycle paramedic service which was founded by an ultra religious man and an Israeli Arab working together.  They have no political agenda. They simply share a passion for saving lives and have formed a nationwide service that rushes to all emergencies.  In this context, a Jewish man with a kippa (skull cap) has delivered a Moslem baby and a bearded Moslem man has delivered an orthodox Jewish baby.  Lives are saved and the result is trusting friendship. Peace is made through kindness, one on one, in the small ways that we can.  He is our Peace. He HAS broken down every wall.

It is I who enjoy sharing, so I thank you for making time to read.  Come and visit???  God bless and encourage you ever nearer to His Heart beat.

Thank you for continued prayer for our younger daughter at this time.

Lovingly,

your sis J

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Pictures Tell Stories Better Than Any Writer Could Ever Do

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(Click on the photo)

By clicking on the above photo, a window will open, revealing a monthly archive of photos. Choose any month. The pictures reveal life in India for millions of people, most of whom have no hope in life unless they meet Jesus. And how will they meet Jesus?  Someone will have to go and preach to them. And how will someone be able to go and preach? Someone, like you and me, will have to help missionaries with our prayers and financial offerings.

If you are interested in helping, check out Gospel For Asia.

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Prayer: So Easy To Talk About, Yet So Tough To Do (Part 4)

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I was so hungry for a Bible. Seeing my desperation, my mother remembered an old man in another village. This man had been a pastor before the Cultural Revolution.

Together we started out on the long walk to his home. When we found him, we told him our desire, “We long to see a Bible. Do you have one?”

The old pastor simply told me, “The Bible is a heavenly book. If you want one, you’ll need to pray to the God of heaven. Only He can provide a heavenly book…”

When I returned home, I brought a stone into my room and knelt on it every evening for prayer. I just had one simple prayer, “Lord, please give me a Bible. Amen.”

Nothing happened. A Bible didn’t appear.

I went back to that pastor’s house again. I told him, “I’ve prayed to God according to your instructions, but I still haven’t received the Bible I want so much. Please, please show me your Bible. Just a glance and I will be satisfied. I don’t need to touch it. You hold it and I will be content to just look at it…”

The pastor saw the anxiety in my heart. He spoke to me again, “If you’re serious, you should not only kneel down and pray to the Lord, you should also fast and weep. The more you weep, the sooner you get your Bible.”

I went home, and every morning and afternoon I ate and drank nothing. Every evening I ate just one small bowl of steamed rice. I cried like a hungry child to his heavenly Father, wanting to be filled with His word. For the next one hundred days,  I prayed for a Bible, until I could bear it no more. My parents were sure I was losing my mind.

Looking back years later, I would say this whole experience was the most difficult thing I’ve ever endured.

Then, suddenly one morning at 4 AM, after months of begging God to answer my prayers, I received a vision from the Lord while kneeling beside my bed.

Later…

I quickly opened the door and there standing before were the same two servants I had seen in my vision. One man held a red bag in his hand. My heart raced as I opened the bag and held in my hands my very own Bible. (The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun, by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway, 2003, Piquant Publishing, pages 27 – 30)

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:16)

(Continued in Part 5)

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Racism: Who’s in the Right? And Who’s in the Wrong? (Part 4)

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70% of African-Americans live in America’s inner cities or the inner-ring suburbs. Most of the following facts refer to that 70% of African-Americans. These facts are not written to throw stones at our inner city black brothers and sisters, but to eventually, bring glory to Jesus.

1. The abortion rate for African-American women is five times higher than it is for white women, accounting for 37% of all abortions in America.

2. 1 in 3 African-American men can expect to spend time in prison during their lifetimes.

3. 70% of juvenile arrests in America are African-American youths.

4. One third of all welfare recipients are African-Americans.

5. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person.

6. 72 percent of black babies are born out of wedlock. 

7. Poverty rate among African-Americans is 36%.

8. The homicide rate among males between the ages of 14 and 17 is nearly 10 times higher for blacks than for whites and Hispanics combined.

9. The preponderance of school violence in America occurs in big-city schools attended by inner city black students.

10. Black education is in a state of shambles for elementary and high schools in most inner cities of America.

Without a doubt, the above facts are discouraging, but here’s the irony of it all:

1. Inner city African-Americans are the most devout Christian group in America and the difference is 21 percentage points higher than the next group.

2. African-Americans are even more conservative on the social issues of abortion and homosexuality than the rest of the population.

So, how can the most devout Christian group in America have, at the same time, such discouraging statistics?

(Continued in Part 5)

 

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Inside Israel

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Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua.  Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …

He is precious and to be glorified and blessed, and as His Blood-bought body, how very precious are each of you!  … for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people…” (2 Corin 6:16)  WOW!   May you be blessed and encouraged, as I am today with a fresh ‘glimpse’ of the fact that He is ‘enough’…He is ALL!

I had to giggle as I watched the news brief last night.  In very serious tones it was reported that a ‘caucus’ on the USA has been formed in our Knesset (Parliament – Congress) to ‘study and teach about the United States, it’s government system, history, geography, social systems and culture.’  I always wondered what a ‘caucus’ was but had never pursued it.

In this case I understood it to be a committee formed to study the USA and report back and teach the other Knesset members.  They all looked so serious as they sat around learning like students in a 6th grade class, absorbing new information and ideas.  The reporter explained that everyone thought there already HAD been such a thing for years, but there hasn’t been, and it was high time that we began to understand ‘where America was coming from’.

Of course, as a ‘former American’ this seemed funny to me…studying American culture in particular …but then I realized that it isn’t.  As I wrote in my last email, we are still a third world country dressed up as a first world one. But we are a third world country with a passion for learning and searching out truth (yea!) and I suspect that our policy makers are puzzled at America’s approach to dealing with the current problems in the Middle East.  This has been brought to a head by the situation in Syria and the current ‘policy’ to ‘arm the rebels’.  Everyone here is scratching their heads and so our politicians are now going to study ‘what makes them tick over there?’  Perhaps someone would find this food for prayer.

I want to thank you for your prayers for me personally.  I am walking free in Yeshua today by the power of The Blood and The Spirit, thanks to the help of a dear sister whom He used to pray with me.  How thankful I am for people who pay the price to be spot on (silver bullet prayers I call it…if any of you remember the Lone Ranger) through obedience on their knees.  I see now more clearly how to stand against the occasion that the enemy took to chain me up through the stress that The Lord is exercising me with these days. I am truly flooded with joy, peace AND better health today, in spite of the fact that the stress remains and increases.  He is so very good!  I love the way He uses His body as we walk according to His ways.

I find that I have less and less opportunities on the bus and train these days to talk with people, as iphones and ipods have literally taken over.  Everybody seems to be plugged in and fewer people are talking…or even looking up :-\  in this electronic age.  At work today, however, I had an encounter that perhaps contains a window that is both common to all man and also unique in some ways.

The part of my job that I dislike the most concerns a list that we receive every 3 months from the health fund. The job falls to me to call some 80 or so patients who received services during the past quarter but did not pass their plastic card.  (the Doctor gets paid by the card being passed) Now…this entails me disturbing people who may live cross town and to explain to them as patiently as I can in my best Hebrew that, yes they DID order something and that even if they DIDN’T pick it up, we DID do the work, print it out, etc, and that it is all recorded in the perfectly accurate computer (‘No…It didn’t make a mistake…no…I am not lying…No…it was really you…’) and that even though it is inconvenient for them to travel across town, wouldn’t it be nice to pay the doctor (since it isn’t from their pocket anyway).

Sometimes people argue and yell at me and I find that the most distressing part of my work.  This month I approached it with a good and cheerful attitude…until I came to Shlomo Alkalai!  I LIKE Shlomo.  He is a gentle man of about 60 who has had a really tough time.  I called him and asked him to please bring in his card.  I was totally unprepared for the abusive yelling that followed.  I finally said ‘Shlomo…I won’t listen to this.  I am hanging up the phone’ which I did, and promptly folded my list and stuffed it into a corner, heart pounding in my ears.  ‘That’s it for phone calls.  I’m NOT up to this!’ I decided. That was last week.

Just as I was getting ready to leave today Shlomo appeared at the door with his card.  Again he began to yell at me and I simply didn’t answer him.  I didn’t even look at him.  This was hard as I always liked Shlomo and he always liked me…what had happened?  Dr. Meshulam appeared and told him to stop yelling at the secretary ‘Zeh lo na’aim!’ (literally ‘that is not nice’) he said sternly.  Shlomo yelled ‘I am NOT yelling’.  We looked at each other and he began to share with me some things that I already knew, and others that I didn’t.  Shlomo is (I think) an accountant.  He is a kind and gentle man but his wife, Ruthie, suffers for many years from extreme depression for which she has been hospitalized often and remains heavily medicated.  Then she passed through several severe bouts of cancer requiring chemo and radiation that affected her legs (how they don’t know) and she is now in a wheel chair as well.  She has gained about 100 pounds during this time.  They have one lovely daughter who has succeeded in becoming a lawyer in the midst of all of this.  She lives in Tel Aviv.

Shlomo has had to move his office into his home since Ruthie must be watched 24 hours a day.  Their daughter, who works until 8 at night comes home once a week, cooks all night and spends the night so that Shlomo can go out the next day (one day a week) to buy groceries, run errands (like this one that I was imposing on him), pay bills etc.  The bills have piled up and as I listened the tears began to roll down my face.  I was thinking what a burden it was for him to have to come across town to run his card through.  We spoke at great length, both apologizing, of course.  I kept praying for access to The Holy Spirit to speak words of encouragement, but as the words kept pouring out of him I realized that what he needed to do he was doing.

Sometimes when we go through too much ‘trauma’ in our life, we sort of have to ‘recite’ it to ‘validate’ that all of this is really happening.  I learned that through my own experience, particularly when you are walking a lonely path.  All that I could do was listen and trust that as he saw my tears he would receive some comfort.

And now to take him to prayer. He and his family need prayer.  I make a distinction between a ‘religious’ man and a ‘God fearing’ man.  Here, the ‘religious’ fit certain criteria…dress a certain way, eat a certain way, pray a certain way.  Shlomo is a ‘God fearing man’.  A man who prays, goes to synagogue, keeps the kosher laws.

Perhaps someone will be given a burden to pray for this family, and that is why I share.  I want to thank you for allowing The Lord to lay whomever He does upon your heart.  I am always blessed to humility when one of you writes and asks how ‘Molly’ is or tells me that you are praying for ‘Rivka’ or ‘Amos’ or  ‘the taxi driver’.  It only needs to be one…but whom The Lord burdens, He also empowers.  Thank you!

And thank you again for praying for me and my family and for our nation and people. These emails have been a bit anemic lately, and I apologize for that, but I offer it to Him and am thankful for a moment to fellowship with you.  I would ask particularly for prayer for our younger daughter and her husband right now.  Thank you so much.  May we all draw ever closer and ever deeper to His Heart and may we let Him strip away all that hinders, for His kingdom and for His glory,

Lovingly,
your sister J

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Prayer: So Easy To Talk About, Yet So Tough To Do (Part 3)

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We arrived at her apartment by night in order to escape detection. We were in Russia (in the region of Lithuania, on the Baltic Sea). Ellen and I had climbed the steep stairs, coming through a small back door into the one-room apartment. It was jammed with furniture, evidence that the old couple had once lived in a much larger and much finer house.

The old woman was lying on a small sofa, propped up by pillows. Her body was bent and twisted almost beyond recognition by the dread disease of multiple sclerosis. Her aged husband spent all his time caring for her since she was unable to move off the sofa.

I walked across the room and kissed her wrinkled cheek. She tried to look up but the muscles in her neck were atrophied so she could only roll her eyes upward and smile. She raised her right hand, slowly, in jerks. It was the only part of her body she could control and with her gnarled and deformed knuckles she caressed my face. I reached over and kissed the index finger of that hand, for it was with this one finger that she had so long glorified God.

Beside her couch was a vintage typewriter. Each morning her faithful husband would rise, praising the Lord. After caring for his wife’s needs and feeding her a simple breakfast, he would prop her into a sitting position on the couch, placing pillows all around her so she wouldn’t topple over. Then he would move that ancient black typewriter in front of her on a small table. From an old cupboard he would remove a stack of cheap yellow paper. Then, with that blessed one finger, she would begin to type.

All day and far into the night she would type. She translated Christian books into Russian, Latvian, and the language of her people. Always using just that one finger—peck… peck… peck—she typed out the pages. Portions of the Bible, the books of Billy Graham, Watchman Nee, and Corrie ten Boom—all came from her typewriter. That was why I was there—to thank her.

“Not only does she translate their books,” her husband said as he hovered close by during our conversation, “but she prays for these men every day while she types. Sometimes it takes a long time for her finger to hit the key, or for her to get the paper in the machine, but all the time she is praying for those whose books she is working on.”

I looked at her wasted form on the sofa, her head pulled down and her feet curled back under her body. “Oh, Lord, why don’t You heal her?” I cried inwardly.

Her husband, sensing my anguish of soul, gave the answer. “God has a purpose in her sickness. Every other Christian in the city is watched by the secret police. But because she has been sick so long, no one ever looks in on her. They leave us alone and she is the only person in all the city who can type quietly, undetected by the police.”

I looked around at the tiny room, so jammed full of furniture from better days. In one corner was the kitchen. Beside the cupboard was her husband’s “office,” a battered desk where he sorted the pages that came from her typewriter to pass them on to the Christians. I thought of Jesus sitting over against the treasury, and my heart leaped for joy as I heard Jesus bless this sick old woman who, like the widow, had given all she had.  (Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten boom, ©1975, 2008, Christian Literature Crusade, excerpt from Chapter 31, “One Finger for His Glory.”)

Corrie ten boom did not mention the name of this sick old woman who prayed all day long as she pecked away on a typewriter. So, we don’t know her name, but I guarantee you this: all of heaven knows her name.

(Continued in Part 4)

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Sponsor A Child – Save A Family

Let’s say your spouse dies, what would most likely happen next?

Your family, neighbors, and friends would show up at your home to comfort you. They would bring food. There would be an outpouring of love shown to you through many different ways in the days following the funeral and the months afterward.

But not so, if you are a wife in rural India, especially in Mula’s case.

Mula and her husband loved each other, but he died from cancer after seventeen years of marriage. When that happened, Mula was blamed for her husband’s death, forsaken by both families, shunned by her friends, and despised by her community. She and her four children faced a desperate future.

Fortunately, her oldest daughter attended a Bridge of Hope school. Through this connection with Gospel For Asia, Mula attended a seamstress school and eventually received a sewing machine. She now earns enough through sewing to feed and clothe her family.

The reasons all this happened:

1. Someone sponsored the daughter for $35/month.

2. Someone bought a sewing machine from GFA’s Christmas Catalog for $85.

What may seem like pocket change to the people who sponsored the daughter or who bought the sewing machine, made a life and death difference to Mula and her family. And oh yes! Mula gave her life to Jesus.

Do you have any spare pocket change? It may be enough to sponsor a child, which may end up saving a family.

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