Leah* studied the man passed out on the couch. There was no waking him. Hurriedly, she packed a diaper bag and lifted her sleeping infant from the crib. Clutching the child to her breast, she slipped through the door, down the steps, and into the night.
Bruises covered her bony body, attesting to his abusiveness and the times he locked her in the apartment without food. She fled to make the streets her new home, thinking it the safer choice.
Her Siberian Jewish father immigrated to Israel years before. After great sacrifices, she too went to Israel and showed up on his doorstep. He waved her and her two-year-old son away, shoving them into the street. A kind male neighbor took them in. She felt he loved her, but when she became pregnant again, he slammed money on the dining-room table and commanded her to get an abortion. Not fully understanding the consequences and believing she had no choice, she submitted herself to the procedure. She felt awful, filled with sorrow and shame when it was over. “I will tell no one,” she vowed. Wanting to start over and forget what she had done, she left to live on the streets.
Time passed, and her longing for love led her into a new long-term relationship. This time when she discovered she was pregnant, she refused to abort. The temporary family dissolved, and Leah and her son again found themselves homeless. She heard about Be’ad Chaim, ANM’s pro-life ministry partner in Jerusalem, and went to see the director, Sandy Shoshani.
“She was alone, insecure, and spoke quietly without looking me in the eye,” said Sandy. “I confirmed we would help her, and everything would be alright.”
Leah met with Sandy every week during her pregnancy to discuss the hope and salvation found in Yeshua (Jesus). They discussed His amazing love — a love she had longed for all her life. Her heart was open, and when the Holy Spirit touched her, she quickly accepted Jesus as her Messiah. Tears of sadness turned to tears of joy, and deadpan expressions turned into smiles and laughter. She experienced true life and love for the first time in her life.
The night Leah gave birth, she called Sandy, her new friend. Sandy drove her to the hospital, sat with her during long hours of labor, and brought in a midwife to help her with the delivery. Be’ad Chaim’s program called “Operation Moses” helped her with housing and everything the baby would need for the first year. Each month Sandy brought more diapers and formula for Leah’s baby girl named Anna*. Since Leah breastfed her baby, Sandy asked, “What is happening to the formula?” Dropping her head, Leah confessed that she and her son were drinking it to survive. Be’ad Chaim offered additional help.
After mothers birth their children, Sandy gathers them at the Be’ad Chaim office for meetings on the gospel, parenting, and healing from their pasts. Soon after Leah met Yeshua personally, she began to meet her new family. She grew in the Lord, comforted others, and took classes with Sandy to be one of the counselors. However, every thought and feeling she experienced from the abortion came rushing to the surface one evening.
The grief she held inside for so many years erupted after a meeting, and she collapsed on the floor, saying, “My baby was a human being with a heart, hands, feet, and everything. He couldn’t scream, ‘Don’t Mom, I want to live!’” Heartbroken and weeping uncontrollably, she questioned, “How can God forgive murder?”
One of Be’ad Chaim’s purposes is to help women understand God’s complete forgiveness and forgive themselves. Healing washed over Leah as she and Sandy planted a tree in memory of her baby in the ministry’s “Garden of Life.”
Leah comments, “I am a totally different person now. I can speak, laugh, and sing. I am free and full of life!”
As she counsels others who are considering abortion, the first question she asks them is, “What do you think you have in your belly?”
Saving One Child and One Mother at a Time
Abortion is legal and encouraged in Israel. More babies have died from abortion than in the Holocaust — some 40,000 lives a year. Yet in September, Be’ad Chaim celebrated the birth of the 3,500th baby saved through their program. Thank you for helping to make this life-saving ministry possible.
You can help mothers in Israel choose life by supplying them with baby clothes, essential baby gear, diapers, and counseling. Just visit ANM’s Christmas Gift Catalog.
*Names changed for security reasons.
Header image: Be’ad Chaim website.