December 4, 2014
In the past few weeks, I have met dozens of children in Israel who feel like they were born to fail. Looking into their eyes so full of sadness and hopelessness, it became clear to me that one of the hardest things to endure in life is the feeling that you were never given a chance to succeed.
All of the people that I meet through The Fellowship touch my heart, but there was something special about one boy, David, that has left a deep impact on my soul.
David is 14 years old and lives in northern Israel. He has always dreamed of being a teacher. “I used to dream about getting out of poverty and hunger,” he quietly said, “but by third grade that dream died. I realized that it is just not possible.”
David, like so many other children in Israel, was born to immigrant parents. His parents made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) from Russia with his three older siblings, and then David and his three younger siblings were born in Israel. When David was just 6 years old and his youngest sibling was a newborn, his father left. The family was broken, sad, and desperate.
Still, David had something to look forward to. He remembers being so excited for first grade, a place he could go to learn, grow, and thrive and eventually break the cycle of poverty that he knew all too well. But by the time he completed half of the school year, he realized it wasn’t so simple. All of the other children in his class had parents at home who spoke fluent Hebrew, could help them with their homework, and teach them what they needed to succeed. David, on the other hand, came home to a dark and cold house, with his older siblings desperately trying to put together a meal with the little food they had in the refrigerator. His mother was out working until the middle of the night as a helper for the elderly, bringing home a minimum wage salary of only $6 an hour.
“I remember wanting to do my homework, but I had no one to help me with it. I had no desk to sit at, no quiet, no support, and barely any food. And, on top of it all, our electricity was constantly being turned off because we couldn’t pay the bill.” David tried his hardest to keep up with the class, but he quickly fell behind. By third grade, he lost all hope in succeeding and stopped trying.
The years between third grade and his life now have passed by like a nightmare. David often stayed home from school for no reason, and in the past year began roaming the streets all day instead of going to classes. He has been labeled a “rebel,” and no school has wanted to take him in. “I don’t blame them,” David said. “If I was a school, I wouldn’t want me either.”
But in the recent months, David’s luck has changed, and he has been reminded that God has never abandoned him.
While roaming the streets one day, a sweet woman named Dorit stopped to speak to him. They quickly established a close relationship. It turns out Dorit is a teacher at a school in a neighboring city. “As soon as I began talking to him, I realized that David is a very special boy,” Dorit told me. “He wants to succeed, and I want to see him succeed, too!”
Dorit worked out all of the paperwork to get David accepted into her school, and she even took it upon herself to sit with him each day after school to help him with his homework, yet they still had one huge obstacle in front of them. David would need to take two busses each way to get to and from school, and he didn’t have the money to pay for the bus tickets.
For the first two days of school, David rode his bike for 50 minutes each way in order to attend, yet Dorit quickly put a stop to that. “He was riding on a dangerous highway. It was a real threat to his life to ride his bike, but I didn’t know what else to do. It was then that I thought about contacting The Fellowship, the organization that gives hope to the hopeless in Israel,” Dorit said.
Thank God, within one week of hearing this story from Dorit, The Fellowship provided David with bus passes for the entire school year. Because of loving Christians and Jews around the world, David is now thriving in school, working hard to actualize his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher.
“I want to be a teacher like Dorit,” David told me with a smile. “I want to help others.” Thank you, friends, for helping to provide a future to the people of Israel!
With blessings from the Holy Land,