In 2004 the Lord impressed on me these words “It’s about the people; it’s all about the people!” The focus ON the Survivors BY the people who bring them joy and relationship has a reverse impact on the givers…” – Susan Heagy
The light of Adonai truly shines through the work of Abundant Hope Intl., as I witnessed in the joy of the Survivors when I had the incredible opportunity to volunteer with a group from Lexington Christian Academy, my school, in June.
I cannot thank you enough for providing my mother and I, alongside the rest of our group from Kentucky, an opportunity to serve the Survivors; for graciously allowing us to stay at Beit Shalom; for the many aspects of Jewish culture you exposed to us; for the personal wisdom you shared with each of us; and for the love you invested in our group. Your words concerning the necessity of loving the people of Israel have given me a new perspective. Once again, I cannot thank you enough for all of these and so much more.
The opportunity to serve the Survivors alongside Abundant Hope International in June has had a profound impact on my life. In being a witness, I have told many the accounts of the Survivors with our group, emphasizing the need to never forget their lives.
In fact, last Thursday, in chapel at LCA, I had the opportunity to share the story of a Survivor I was blessed to meet in June by the name of Cipora, who related to my mother, another student, and myself her life during and after being in Auschwitz for seven months. Our encounter with her has profoundly shaped the way I strive to love others and moved me to carry on her testimony by sharing it with others. I pray continually that HaShem pours His immense love into the lives of the Survivors, particularly those touched by AHI, for His love through AHI has transformed the lives of so many Survivors already.
Surprised by Quilting
As much as I loved my new quilting friends and our Mondays together, quilting was clearly out of my comfort zone. Almost panicked, I asked, “Lord, what do You have in store?”
Then came this email. My friend Susan was sending stories of Holocaust survivors from Israel, and she mentioned the Heirloom Project, which involves quilts. I wondered, “Lord, do You want me to make a quilt for Israel?”
One day I told my friend Mary, “You’re going to laugh when I tell you this, Mary, but I’m in a quilting group.”
Her eyes lit up, and she pointed to her attic. “These quilt squares are from my mom before she passed away,” she said. “Take them. Use them. They need finishing.”
Soon my friend Laura called to report she had a handmade quilt top for me, “If you want it, just attach a back.”
Meanwhile I kept reading these stories of Holocaust survivors and asking my husband to listen with me. Then my friend Elsa called to say a lady entered her sewing shop, wanting to give away her sewing machine to a beginner sewing student, and Elsa thought of me. Practically pleading, I prayed,
“Lord, what is happening here?”
And as curiosity grew, the idea developed to not simply ship these quilts to Israel but to personally deliver them! For us to do that, my husband and I would need to make application to Abundant Hope International to volunteer. Lo and behold, we’re approved, and now my friend Kim is travelling with us to Israel, which is extra exciting because she’s the one who invited me to quilting in the first place!
All this is happening 14 years after first meeting Susan in the writer’s group! How I love the way the Lord orchestrates details, even while we’re unaware and seemingly unqualified, yet He qualifies us. A huge thank-you goes to my quilting friends April, Christina, Elsa, Kim, Mellie, Phyllis, Ricky, and Veronica for their encouragement and generous handiwork. The Lord is good.
– Linda Montez, www.livingletters.blogspot.com
Year after year, volunteers come from countries around the world. They stay at Beit Shalom, visit with the Holocaust Survivors; some make house repairs, a few give personal services; many have tea while Survivors ask questions about their personal lives. A few cry, many laugh and all ask our volunteers to return.
There is time for the beach, touring 5,000 yr old Acre, visiting Jerusalem and relaxing on Shabbat. But this isn’t why they come, or return. It is the draw of Holocaust Survivors, who respond to a simple show of love, a hug, a kiss, crying and laughing with them. It happens because both are forever changed. Come and find out! Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 717-557-5775 or write us. Come to Israel and experience it for yourself!