When I married a Jewish man in the former Soviet Union, I didn’t care about his religious background at the time. But, after my first daughter was born I had a very powerful inner transformation and gave my life to the Lord. My mother also had no interest in religion and didn’t take it well. “I’d rather you had become a prostitute than a Christian,” she told me.
Within a few years, we moved to Israel with two children and once here we had four more. By some miracle we were able to purchase a tiny apartment at a 92% discount because of our status as immigrants; it wasn’t anything fancy, but it was a home!
I always loved working hard. Even during my pregnancies, I worked up to the day I gave birth— and then two months after each birth I was back in the workforce. I worked as a psychologist for young children and on the side did everything from factory work to ironing in a laundromat. I even pursued continuing my education and earned a higher degree. But as soon as I presented my diploma to the place I worked, they let me go. Apparently, they didn’t want to pay me the extra hourly fee required when someone has a degree.
My husband was very talented as an artist but had no formal training, so he had no way of monetizing his giftings. He also struggled with depression which made a stable job difficult. On good days he was supportive of me and even encouraged me to pursue nursing, which I did. Then he would get into an emotional slump and would become violent toward me and the kids. I was studying for my finals in nursing when he flew into a rage about something and smashed my computer. A neighbor called the police and that was the last day we would be together as a family. I would never finish my nursing courses.
I continued raising the children alone and he didn’t keep up with the alimony. Though we needed money, I made it a point to only work jobs with flexible hours where I was free to leave and be with my kids when they needed me. Working hard paid off and I remember looking at my bank account and seeing at the end of the month I was 2,000 shekels ($650) in the plus!
It was a beautiful moment that lasted about that long. It seemed like the very next moment my neighbors from the apartment below called me downstairs to show me a leak in their ceiling.
I brought a plumber over to seek out the source of the leak. He began chipping away at the wall to find the water pipes. The building we live in was built some 50+ years ago—when water pipes were made of metal. He quickly found the leak but showed me, as he kept chipping away at the length of the pipe embedded in the concrete wall, that the metal pipes were brittle like clay.
“You’ll have to replace the entire length of the pipe all the way to the kitchen, or you’ll just pay a lot now and find a new leak in a few months,” he explained.
He was a Godsend as far as plumbers go. Good, honest—and he believed me when I promised I’d find a way to pay him. I gave him my 2,000 shekels to get started, but he kept working well after that amount ran out.
The whole “renovation” experience was a journey of faith as I would walk outside praying for help and bump into a friend pulling out money from an ATM. “Can I borrow money and pay you back in a few months?” “Of course!” they’d answer, and I’d run back with money to the apartment. The plumber (who knew I had no funds) would just stare at me trying to figure out how I kept coming up with chunks of cash.
It was strange to me. I found my friends who were barely making it would readily give me hundreds of shekels when I asked for help (I promised to work and return it, but in the end most of my friends wouldn‘t let me pay them back). I had other friends who were better off financially, and they weren’t as eager to help. “Maybe tomorrow, another time…” they always had a reason they couldn’t help right then.
When the amounts here and there fell short, the leaders in my congregation told me about I Stand with Israel. That was when I was able to pay off the amount I owed the plumber and end the water leak saga. I’m not only grateful to have received help from ISWI, but I love that God answered my prayers through His people. He brought us together —you an organization looking to help believers and I a believer crying out to God for help.