Moshe Morrison

Teaching Elder
Tents of Mercy
"He knows the deep hidden reasons why some seem to suffer more than others, but His goal is for our path and the path of Yeshua to intersect as early as possible."

"Though Katya and I were faithfully taking Yarden to services, the Holy Spirit began to convict Katya that Yarden needed more from her than transportation."

Every one of us has a road through life that we must walk. Oftentimes we question why certain things happen on our own particular path, especially if they are difficult. There are events that are not the consequence of our own choosing, things that we face because of wrongdoing in the world. Ultimately, though, we come to realize that it is God who establishes our going and gives us the grace to walk as we ought to walk. He knows the deep hidden reasons why some seem to suffer more than others, but His goal is for our path and the path of Yeshua to intersect as early as possible.

Yarden is one of those individuals whose way has been filled with suffering. She was born in the southern part of Israel to a large "Haredi" family (ultra-religious, Orthodox Jews). She was the first daughter, after two brothers. Yarden was born totally blind. From the age of three she was in a kindergarten for blind children and began to learn Braille. Until she started first grade she did not think of herself as being different. Once she began school, however, she noticed that the other children excluded her from their social activities and she felt rejected.

Haredi Jews live according to a very strict interpretation of Jewish law, which sets them apart from the Jewish community. The neighborhood in which Yarden lived was a mix of religious and secular Jews. Haredi children were not allowed to talk to or have any kind of contact with the non-religious Jews. Yarden remembers being a little jealous because the secularists had greater freedom. To make matters more complicated, her mother was very critical and never happy with her children. This is a serious thing when you realize that the culture in which they lived demanded that women continue to produce babies whether they liked it or not. As a result Yarden has no memories of happy or fun family times.

Yarden was six years when her oldest brother began to abuse her. This went on for years. When she was about 8 1/2 she tried to tell her mother what was happening, but she told her she was a liar and refused to believe her. Only when she was about 10 did one teacher at school began to realize that something was wrong. It was almost another 2 years before social services and the police got involved. Yarden's brother was removed from the house and she was sent to a religious boarding school for the blind in Jerusalem. Yarden enjoyed the school but was there less than three years. When she was 14 she came home for a brief vacation and her second brother took up where the first brother left off and impregnated her.

Playing a game with a blindfolded friend
Sharing a Shabbat dinner with the Morrisons
When Yarden returned to school the situation came to light. She was given an abortion and became very depressed. She was sent to a mental hospital and put on medication. After 3 months she was placed in a group home in the north. While there, she attended a special needs school, but she was so medicated and psychologically disturbed that school authorities did not believe she was capable of learning.

Yarden's life took a dramatic turn when a friend who had become a believer invited her to attend a Messianic congregation in Jerusalem. During the service someone began praying out loud. Yarden began to cry and her body shook; suddenly she felt like she had come home to the place she had been looking for all her life. A lady came over and asked how she was doing. They spoke together and prayed and Yarden received Yeshua. She knew something had changed inside and she began speaking to others about Him.

Yarden began attending a Messianic congregation in a nearby town but then moved to a group home in our area. Her congregational leader put us in touch with her and we started to take her to services with us on Saturday mornings. One of the girls living in the group home knew of Yarden's faith and contacted an Orthodox organization that actively opposes Yeshua and His followers. They came to the group home, took Yarden away with them for a day and attempted to deprogram her. They verbally abused her and threw away her Braille Hebrew New Testament along with some musical tapes they did not approve of. By the grace of God Yarden chose to resist them and told them to leave her alone.

Not long after this traumatic event Yarden suffered a serious injury. While attempting to exit a train she missed the platform and fell onto the tracks, fracturing a vertebra. To this day she cannot get up from a seated position without help and ascending and descending stairs brings severe pain.

Though Katya and I were faithfully taking Yarden to services, the Holy Spirit began to convict Katya that Yarden needed more from her than transportation. The enemy was clearly seeking to destroy Yarden, but Katya struggled with the personal cost it would take to involve herself in this troubled young woman's life. Yarden had a lot of difficulty relating to people. She was withdrawn and dissociative, yet that was no excuse to hold back. Just as Katya began to follow the Spirit's leading and invest more of herself, Yarden decided to move back to her parents' house. Living in the group home was depressing; Yarden hoped her situation might improve at home.

Unfortunately, the abuse resumed. Yarden's mental state deteriorated and she became suicidal. One day, in the presence of visitors, her mother and a sister got angry with her and physically attacked her. The guests literally took her out of the house and said it wasn't safe for her to be there.

Yarden returned to the north for a women's conference hosted by Tents of Mercy. Katya saw that she was in deep emotional despair and had not had anything to eat or drink for three days. On top of all her other problems, due to the latest trauma she had experienced, she was also suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Katya knew she had to do something, Yarden could not go back to face further violence and abuse. She told Yarden, "I won't let you go back there. You will come live with us." This was a challenging experience for our whole family. Yarden was severely emotionally damaged, had no social skills and very little basic knowledge (Yarden did not even know the world was round). We (and especially Katya) had to patiently and persistently teach her the most perfunctory tasks. It was more like looking after a small child than a twenty three year old woman. However, we all recognized that Yarden needed a place to live and that for her sake we needed to open our home.

Today Yarden is a different person. Together, Katya and Yarden gradually cut back on the prescription drugs she had been taking for years. After a number of months she was totally drug free and her mind was much clearer. Turns out, she is extremely intelligent and is quite capable of learning. She also began to lose weight. When she moved in with us, though only 5'3" tall, she weighed 222 lbs. Today she is 120 lbs!

Yarden now has her own computer with a special program that reads out loud to her what is written on the screen. She also has a device on her computer that reproduces the words on the screen in raised Braille letters. Because she did not receive a standard education, she has been taking classes at a local adult learning center for the past year and a half. She recently received a diploma certifying that she has completed 12 years of schooling (similar to a G.E.D.). Her goal is to attend university and ultimately find work where she can be a help to others.

About three months ago Yarden rented her own apartment. She loves having friends over for Bible studies and playing cards. She is looking forward to learning how to cook for herself. Katya still meets together with her each week to help her with life skills. Though Yarden no longer lives with us, she is still very much a part of our family. Yarden said that if the Lord had not opened our hearts to open our home, she would not be alive today.

By Moshe Morrison
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06:10 02Aug11 Carolyn Metcalf -
Thank you so much for sharing this story. Beautiful!

08:31 02Aug11 Mercibel -
Wow! Extraordinary article! It touched my heart, makes me think to be a help to others individuals, no matter age or background.

09:45 02Aug11 Garnett Miller -
I cannot remember an article that has touched me as much as this one. There are so many women who suffer abuse and to them no one cares. Thank you for showing her Yeshua cares. Thank you for your willingness, faithfulness and humility in this ministry.

17:50 02Aug11 anon -
Truly a Miracle of G-d and willing servants that obeyed the Voice of the L-rd. I could so much relate to this story only with me it wasn't siblings but adults; relatives, parents, neighbors, ets. All this after surviving the Holocaust and coming to the US as an orphan. A beautiful testimony of G-d's AWESOME MERCY and LOVE.

14:12 03Aug11 Neville Rowe -
A Blessing. I would like to read it to a young boy who is blind to encourage him.

19:07 06Aug11 LO -
What a beautiful story and testimony of Abba Father's Love and Faithfulness! How awesome that Yarden is in the process of coming into the purposes and callings for her life! It is a testimony of life at it's fullest! Thank you for your love for this beautiful young woman!

17:50 08Aug11 Philip Park -
This is a wonderful story of the love that Christians around the world should know about. It is a great testimony of the love that Christians have for others. Yeshua has taught us that we should walk the extra mile for others. Katya clearly has done this for Yarden.

Also in this issue of the newsletter:
Daniel Juster: Universalism, Hell and Immanuel Kant
Eitan Shishkoff: His Mercy Endures Forever
Marty Shoub: Welcomed Again to Napoli Bay
Asher Intrater: Personal Reflections on a Court Case