My wife and I were four months away from immigrating from Ukraine to Israel in 2004 when she was killed in a freak car accident. I was devastated, but decided to continue with our dream to move with all five of our children (ages 1-18) to our homeland.

For three years, after we arrived in the country, I prayed asking the Lord if He wanted me to remain alone or to remarry. Then, in 2007, I met a woman named Naomi who stole my heart. She opened her heart not only to me but also to my children and within two years we were married. It took time for each of my kids to accept a new mother but soon we became a family. I continued in my work as a family counselor and pastor and Naomi was a teacher. Together we had two more children and I felt as though my life and happiness had been restored.

It was during the COVID lockdowns that Naomi began complaining about pain in her back and a colonoscopy revealed stage 4 cancer. We fought for two years against the evil of this disease but in the end, I lost her.

It was overwhelming. I had barely been able to work for two years as we struggled to hold the house together and the bills that had piled up were sky high. My kids were devastated—again. And I was a pastor. What could I tell those I counseled about faith and God’s goodness?

Still, I see God at work. My friends and associates rallied around us to help and together with ISWI stepped in and covered the bills. So, while our pain is still raw, at least the financial pressure has been lifted. I believe my story isn’t over and I will say like King David, “Hope in the Lord for I shall yet praise Him.”