More Than the Original Dream

by Ayana Ondar

Shalom Dear Readers,

My name is Ayana and I came from Russia to volunteer with Abundant Hope International.

One of my teenage dreams was coming to Israel as a tourist for a month or so. But coming as a volunteer was the best decision I have ever made, because in one year I met wonderful people from all over the world, fell in love with the beautiful land, had a chance to learn Hebrew and had an honor to meet with precious Holocaust survivors.

They have become part of my life. So I would like to share with you with the story of a survivor, Polina…

Polina survived the life in a ghetto with her mother and two more siblings during the Polina Bershadskaya (Small)Holocaust.  Meanwhile her father went to fight at the frontiers against the Nazis and never came back.

Polina is a very welcoming and warm hearted woman. She was very glad for a visit. She has no family and only one daughter who is living abroad. She rarely sees her and feels very lonely.

One day Polina was walking home and a street robber pushed her aside and stole her purse. Her knee was severely injured, so she was taken by the ambulance. When I came to see her she was in a wheelchair with a cast on her leg. Her face and eyes were very sad, in fact swollen and red; because she cried for many nights. She was so desperate to recover and go back home.  No one would visit her and she was depressed. She needed somebody just to listen to her, and encourage her. At the end we were able to shortly pray for healing and a fast recovery upon Polina.

A few weeks later she returned home. When we came again for the visit, she opened the door and cried right there. I asked what happened to her, and she replied,

“As you see I am back home, and my leg is recovering very fast. You cannot imagine how happy and thankful I am. These are cries full of happiness. Thank you for being with me, praying for me and visiting me in my darkest time of my life.”

I have found that the Lord loves to surprise us when we just go out for a visit and spend time with the precious survivors.

We thanked the Lord for His goodness and rejoiced together. I am amazed how simple Baruch HaShem (Small)words and acts of kindness brought many changes into the life of Polina.

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