by Susan Heagy
When I arrived in Israel in January 2004 I went into my room to think and pray.
Over those first weeks I had some blunt conversations with the God of the Universe to find out what I was doing in this country so far from the USA. Why? How? Help!
One thing He told me when I was trying to understand the amount of faith it would take to go forward:
“I want you to have the kind of faith it takes to stand with your toes over the edge of a high cliff, and step off into the air, expecting Me to extend the ground out under your feet!”
It was easier to expect angels to keep me from falling. But to think of the ground growing?? That was a bigger faith than I thought I could find. I was wrong. Over the years God has consistently, repeatedly, miraculously done marvelous things.
Consider I arrived in Israel January 2004 with $50 in my pocket, no savings account and friends who promised to support me for $150/month for six months. I came to visit Holocaust Survivors and no more. I did not plan to stay past that six months but God had other ideas…
Today, 14 years later, we rent a house called Beit Shalom in a neighborhood of villas in Akko, located north of Haifa along the Mediterranean Sea. We have an office and my quarters on the 2nd floor. We are surrounded by Holocaust Survivors within walking distance and we have them to our house for events. We visit them five days a week, take them for doctor appointments, do repairs for them, bring them music and love them without conditions.
We are beginning a new program bringing Veterans to meet Survivors. We are praying for a building in the center of Akko that is handicap accessible and big enough for Survivors, Volunteers, Guests, visiting Veterans, distribution of aid and hold events. God has given us an expanded vision.
Some of the circumstances of living in another country are:
- Language difference. Consider I work with Russian, Hebrew, German, Yiddish, French, Romanian, Czech, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Japanese…
- Grocery shopping. Not all labels have pictures. Sometimes you buy something and find out it is not what you were looking for!
- Driving. Took some getting used to and not ALL the signs are in English… but I like it- most of the time.
- Neighbors. Okay, some are good; some there are issues. Unfortunately our conversations don’t work well since it is usually Hebrew, Arabic or Russian…
- Holidays. Since I work with the government and sometimes need the public transport, all the Holidays and closed offices can be frustrating. Oh, that reminds me…
- Post Office. Much better now than years back. But, if I want to pick up a package I do not know if it will be 10 minutes or 2 hours…
- Different currency. Not bad at all. I am find using shekels. But when I have to figure the value and do I want to make that purchase or not… and, what is this receipt for?
- Medical. If I need to see a doctor I must use the emergency room. Just walking in costs 1000 shekels (about $350). I don’t go much at all but a few years ago when I was bitten by a poison spider and necrosis (flesh eating) began, I gladly took advantage of their services. Otherwise, return to home country for needs.
- Trips out. When I plan a trip either to the USA or another country to speak it is necessary to have someone stay at Beit Shalom to keep things going and, of course, feed Tiger the Resident Cat. Always looking for volunteers for this need.
For myself, besides the awarding lifestyle listed above serving the Survivors, I am tasked with finding and maintaining visas to stay in Israel and run Abundant Hope International. It is not simple and I have committed to following the laws of the Israeli government; me and all Volunteers who work with us.
Over the years I have been here on Tourist Visas, Volunteer Visas, extensions on Tourist and Volunteer Visas and Work Visas. Now I have come to the end of these visas and must apply for a different one.
Here is where I stand and ask God to extend the cliff. It is also where I ask for prayer from all of you. I truly need wisdom and favor and faith on this next venture. I need the next visa.
Jeremiah 6:16 tells us to stand and ask, observe and follow His direction. God promises we will find our answers. So that is where I am today. I am standing and asking for His directions.
Please join me in prayer as I plan to continue this amazing work God began 14 years ago. Amazing. Really, amazing.