Two of our single mothers

The atmosphere was peaceful and intimate. Strands of tiny white lights twinkled against bamboo lined walls. Tables were spread with white cloths and the smell of delicious food drifted in from the buffet. Candlelight glowed softly on the faces of the lovely ladies seated around the tables.

Welcome to Tents of Mercy's main sanctuary - transformed to honor a very unique group of ladies, our single mothers. This special dinner was created to bless and minister to these women who have experienced so much pain and who carry the heavy responsibility of raising a family alone.

While the mothers were served a meal and shared together, their children ate pizza and watched a movie in the fellowship hall under the care of several teenagers from our youth group.

On Their Own

Many of the single mothers in our congregation are immigrants who made aliyah to Israel with their husbands. Expectations of building a new life and raising a family together were destroyed by adultery, desertion, divorce or death. Others came to Israel alone with their children, newly widowed or grieving from the aftermath of a shattered marriage.

Like single parents everywhere, these women are solely responsible for their family. But here there are the added challenges of a new country, language and culture. Many are far from family and friends who might have eased the daily burdens. Jobs are harder to find when one can't speak Hebrew fluently. Former professions may not be practical or viable. Children, doubly stressed by immigration and the breakup of their home, are often troubled and difficult to manage.

Some of the evening's participants

More than most, single mothers in Israel are in need of loving encouragement and practical support. With this in mind, the leadership and other members of Tents of Mercy planned a dinner to tangibly express our desire to serve these mothers and their children.

Supporting Each Other

Eitan and Sarah

One of the planners of the women's banquet was Talia Asher. Talia knows the difficulties facing single mothers first hand. The death of her husband, Gamliel, less than two years ago and her subsequent struggles as a widow and mother to a young son have made her much more aware of the plight of single mothers. During the dinner she shared some of her thoughts.

"We are all trying to find God as our husband, but there are so many obstacles that we can't always find that love. Tonight we have felt that love strongly."

"We want, as a 'kehila' (community) to stand together to receive the heart of God and support each other. We are on a search to find God and see each other through His eyes. We need to ask Him how to establish this ministry in our congregation."

"Our burdens are too heavy. There is not enough time in a 24-hour day to do all that we need to do. But with God, there is a solution. We have an identity and a place in Him. When we seek God together, we are on the right path."

A Special Place in God's Heart

Moshe Morrison was the guest speaker for the evening. He shared God's perspective on the plight of the single parent family.

"Women who are raising their children without husbands to love and work together with them are especially precious to God. This is also true regarding fatherless children. The Torah uses the term widow, but this special love of God for single moms extends not only to those whose husbands have died, but also to those who have suffered the pain of divorce." In Deut. 10:18 God executes justice for the fatherless and the widow. In Deut 16:4 God commanded that widows should be rejoicing with the rest of Israel during the festivals. They should in no way be left out or made to feel incomplete!

Listening to Moshe teach

The theme of God's special care for "the widow and the fatherless" was followed through the Bible. When Moshe concluded his talk, the faces of the women were visibly softer. The atmosphere was charged with the positive knowledge that God loved them and their community affirmed them.

One of the ladies wept and shared how she had come almost expecting to be admonished and told how to behave as a woman raising her child alone. Instead she was loved, encouraged and told that God loved her and she was doing what He wanted her to do!

Aid the Widow and the Fatherless

Enjoying each other

Eitan summed up it up by saying, "This evening was a fulfillment of the kind of community that I feel God has called us to be. God is watching all of His congregations to see how we treat the widow, the divorcee, the fatherless and others who have experienced rejection. It is a condition for His blessing. I also saw that these moms were not waiting to be served, but each was actively serving the congregation and wider community. This is a truly redemptive response to hardship. I am proud to be serving Yeshua with these women and their children."

We have a vision to continue the ministry that was launched during the banquet. There will be regular times of fellowship and a network is being put in place to help with practical needs such as childcare, transportation, fixing things around the house, etc.

Please be praying for us and these special moms as we seek to serve God and each other in a more effective manner. We want to mobilize the members of Tents of Mercy so that no one is marginalized or rejected because of their circumstances. Every member is to be treasured, honored, assisted to serve God uniquely. May we become a community which reflects His character and obeys His command to care for the widow and the orphan.

By Leora Mazurovsky

A Note From Talia

As I think about God's love and compassion for our women, I am reminded of single women in the Bible, whom the Lord sovereignly chose to be the only demonstration of His grace and greatness to their generation. Over and over through the pages of the Old and New Testament we see women, who were honored to be a living proof of what God can do with their oppression, pain, poverty and misery.

God's sovereignty to reveal Himself and to perform miracles to the most oppressed and forsaken is the ultimate expression of His power being demonstrated through human weakness. It carries an incredible testimony of beholding and living out the miracle of God's love and blessing in a world that totally rejected and did away with them. They were the ones that carried the most intimate and personal revelation of God in their lives.

Are we going to believe that our women are called to be a witness to our generation as well? Are we going to grasp hold of God's love and walk in it? His power to resurrect, heal, vindicate, justify and restore is at work today in the same measure as it was centuries ago.

As we cry out to God, our hearts will be enlarged and prepared to minister God's compassion and grace to many around us. His power is going to sustain us and be a mighty testimony to many lost people around us. Are we ready to be a living proof of what He alone can do?

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13:49 06Apr06 anonymous -
This article encouraged me to not stop praying for my neighbor. "Lord, I believe you spoke to my heart, and gave me the faith to believe for A's healing. Please send help to hold up my hands in this battle." Thank you for this article - a reminder that we're not in this alone!

14:12 06Apr06 Lina -
As a single mother, I applaud your efforts, and ask you not to forget your commitment to widows and orphans. Too often, single mothers are maginalized and isolated. We REALLY need help in practical ways, on a long term basis. It's easy for well-meaning people to put on a luncheon, pat themselves on the back, and then go on their way, forgetting that the burdens of the single mothers last for more than 18 years - per child! These needs include: money, fixing things, help with making major decisions and drawing up a budget, encouragement, and physical contact. I pray that you will perservere in this effort, and that other congregations will be inspired to do the same.

14:58 06Apr06 anonymous -
I too became a single mom about 3 years ago, very unexpectedly. Our church family and leadership have been overwhelmingly supportive; they're some of the means the Lord has used to be a husband and father to our family. If you are looking for more ministry ideas, our men's ministry has made itself available to fix things, and has even provided the labor to put a roof on my home (talk about being "covered"!) In addition to practical things, some of the ways that I've been ministered to have been in areas that are luxuries to those of us on a stringent budget---things we don't get to do for ourselves and/or our families: hair cuts, movies, fresh flowers, a restaurant meal, a new worship cd, perfume. I have received all of these, and each time, it has made me weep to be so taken care of with "treats" like these that I'm unable to afford. These are the things that bring home to me that my Father indeed cares about more than our needs; the things that make me feel like His princess, for what father doesn't like to lavish treats on his children when he can? It's rather an odd sensation to not be able to make ends meet in the home and yet have a wonderful meal out with your family because you've been given a gift card to a lovely restaurant! Kingdom economics are so different from worldly econcmics! This single mom's life has been a new adventure in many ways; I would say to single moms who may be reading this, God has good plans for you, no matter how bleak your circumstances may appear at the moment. God bless you and your family.

22:02 08Aug06 Evelyn Gonzalez -
Encouraging article. As single moms we do feel very alone and rejected - many times as if God has abandoned us. His promises are forever there, though. "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Thank you, Jesus

Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Dan Juster: Muslim Tribalism and Biblical Liberation
Eitan Shishkoff: Fields of Hope
Asher Intrater: Discipleship Manual
David Shishkoff: Travel Log of Asia Trip