Strengthen the Hands that are Weak
JNN News, October 24, 2018
When I saw the text message on my phone saying, “My father passed away,” I knew I needed to respond immediately. It was from *Esther, a single mother who had suffered a great deal. Molested by a family member, abandoned by her parents when she was only 12, she went on to marry a violent man who abused her and her four children. She had completely lost her hope and her faith in people.
We met Esther’s father during a speaking tour in California. *Shmuel was a Holocaust survivor who lost his entire family during WWII. He told us about his daughter in northern Israel, with whom he had reunited after 34 years, and said that she was in need of urgent financial and emotional help.
VFI immediately adopted Esther as our own and gave her the advice and resources she needed to live and raise her children well. Despite all that was happening around her, she was holding steady. She was in terrible debt because of her ex-husband’s financial misconduct, but she was recovering from her tragic past and making good progress. She had completely forgiven her parents.
Shmuel died in a hospital at the age of 84, with no family around him and no money to pay for his own burial. He had been emotionally destroyed by the horrors he’d experienced during WWII and had made some bad choices. In desperation, he and his wife left three of their five children behind in Israel and only took two with them to the USA. They divorced not long afterwards. Since then he had lived a lonely life.
We helped find people in Shmuel’s local Jewish community who would give him a decent funeral. We realized that Esther needed to go to California, as she was the executor of his will and she had discovered, disturbingly, that someone had taken money from his bank account. She could not have dreamed of paying for the trip herself.
Esther told us, “I'm so overwhelmed with the love and care you all give me. It helps me gain trust in God.” She told us that she considers us family, and she desires to be in a place someday where she can embrace others just as she has been embraced. Through this experience, she has learned that she is capable of doing things without always relying on others. She has grown in faith, and it’s amazing to see the transformation in her life.