May June July 2012

Shalom Dear Friends, Supporters, and Prayer Partners,

The past few months have passed quickly. We apologize that we have not issued a newsletter during this time. At the women’s center, we have gone through a time of major reorganization, re-evaluation, and intense shifting. It is hard to believe that nearly a year has passed since we first secured the home that would be the first Teen Challenge women’s center in Israel. “I”, one of our volunteers from the United States who arrived soon after the painting and preparation of the home was completed, helped organize the center. She continues to be an integral part of our volunteer staff and now serves as our assistant director. She reflected on the beginning stages and progress. “We have learned a lot since that time,” “I” said. “We have had several women and two babies living here. Some stayed a short time, but two others stayed four to five months. This is a cause to celebrate what God is doing in their lives and ours,” she said. “He (God) continues to provide for all our needs and teaches us along the way,” she added.

We have experienced some trying and faith-stretching times recently, but we have found the Lord’s faithfulness to be with us. Despite the challenges of learning the “ins” and “outs” of how to operate such a ministry center and sometimes wondering if we were “on track,” we have been encouraged greatly and assured by Teen Challenge leadership that things are going along as expected for the first year. We look forward to soon visit of our International Director and his family. Our local director and his family make frequent visits. Their input – sharing of their own experiences in such a ministry, prayers, and support – has been invaluable and greatly appreciated.

As we welcome another student, we also have had two students leave. Our most recent student is from the Ivory Coast. She comes to us with a need for much spiritual healing. We expect the arrival of another student next week. Julia, who was with us since the first part of the year, has gone back to her home in the northwest part of Israel with her child and been reunited with her husband. He recently completed a drug/alcohol rehabilitation program. This was our desire for Julia, to see her family reunited and ready to face the challenges of life with a fresh perspective of hope in the Lord. This is the heart of this ministry. We want to see the women overcome their former lifestyles and learn a more excellent way to life. We believe the love, support, and concern that was imparted into Julia will continue to guide her in her pursuit of a better life. She is determined to use the skills she learned in the hairstyling lessons to earn a respectable income for her herself and her family.

Our other student, Nadia, was with us only a short time. While we offered her love, support, and guidance, she decided after a few weeks that she is not ready to make the commitment to stay in the program. The door will remain open to her to return, if she desires to return.

We currently have a family staying in the center. They are in between moving from their former home to their next one. They greatly appreciate the blessing the center is for them for these few weeks. Please pray for this family, as they face major adjustments in their life here in Israel. They also seek the Lord’s will concerning travel possibilities.

We have had several inquires about the center in the last week and expect more students to arrive soon. There are at least two ladies who will arrive at the center within the next few days. We are thankful for the invaluable and committed volunteers who stand ready to receive the women. In addition to “I”, who oversees the day-to- day operations of the center, we also have other staff members who have been with us for most of the past year. Barbara, our volunteer who teaches hairstyling, has taken a few months to travel to her home in the USA to visit with family and friends. She plans to return to us in September and will resume her classes. She plans to teach other women in the area hairstyling skills and to continue to visit the nursing home and Holocaust survivors’ home to give free haircuts. Ruti remains a great help in the office duties, as she keeps the financial records up to date. Stacey presents Bible studies each morning to help each student learn the value to allow Yeshua (Jesus in Hebrew) the Lord to be first in her life. Through this, the women learn how to apply these valuable teachings to their individual life be a better woman of God, a better wife, and a better mother. Stacey also teaches Hebrew reading and writing to those women who don’t have these skills, so these women can survive in the workplace where Hebrew is necessary. We also continue to have short-term volunteers to serve at the center. Past volunteers came from Germany, Brazil, and the United States. If you are a woman with a passion for God and to serve the women at the center, please write Polly at the e-mail listed in this newsletter. We also have had work teams to visit the center and assist with various projects. As mentioned in past newsletters, they have performed general repairs, erected fences around the property, remodeled the tree house for the children, and helped us prepare a garden where we are growing vegetables. Currently we are doing some needed repairs on the center. We also plan to add a toddler playground area and a place to sit and relax outside in the back of the center.

Staff and students have enjoyed summer outings, including going to Omer, a suburb of Beersheva where we join friends in a weekly praise and worship meeting. We also plan to take trips to the Dead Sea and other outdoor activities. While the students are in a “restricted/supervised” atmosphere while they are in the center, we do not want them to feel closed off completely from society, especially to be with Believers.

It is with sadness that we share about the death of one of our former students, Reem. After she was with us for four months, where she received much healing from past hurts and disappointments in her life, she recently returned to her former lifestyle. She had multiple health issues, and after she could not get the proper care she needed, she died. We believe she is with the Lord. This was a time of deep sorrow for all of us here at the center and others who met her.

We were blessed to have several individuals and groups visit the center in the last few months. Despite the triple-digit temperatures in the Negev Desert, they made their way to come visit the center and learn more about what us. We invite you to visit, too. Please see the invitation below, for more information. We’d love to have you drop by for a cup of tea or a glass of cool water.

If you haven’t visited our website in a while or ever, please do. We recently updated it and all of our newsletters are posted there, in case you missed one. There is additional information about this program, along with the purposes and goals we have for the Lord’s ministry in this center. We have added information to help make the donation process much smoother and more convenient. Please share our link with others. http://www.arkinthenegev.org

We cannot express our deepest appreciation for your continued financial support. With the triple digits we have endured for the past couple of weeks in the unseasonably hot weather for July, it has been quite a challenge to keep the center at a comfortable cool temperature and not operate the fans and air conditioners more than necessary. Within the next few months, our attention will shift to how to keep the center heated. Your financial gifts will help maintain a comfortable temperature in the home. Those of you who have visited a desert or perhaps live in one now can relate to how hot it can become in the daytime and how cold it can get at night.

Please let us know when you make a donation by PayPal so we can better keep track of it. Also, when you send a non-tax-deductible check to Israel, please make sure to let us know the date you mailed it, so we can be aware of its expected arrival. Be sure to make these checks payable to Teen Challenge Israel. For tax-deductible contributions, please see our website for donation information.

We are currently updating our contact records and need your help. Would you please reply to this email address and send us this information? 1) Full Name, 2) Mailing Address, 3) Telephone Numbers, and 4) Website address, if applicable. Thank you very much.

I (Polly) am planning another journey to the USA this fall to share about the center. I hope to be there in mid-October to mid-November. My main focus will be in the State of Florida. If you live in Florida or have contact with others there and know someone who would like to host
me in a church, Bible study, prayer group, or home meeting, please
contact me as soon as possible.

In personal matters, I (Polly) recently moved to a new home. As some of you know, my former home was across the street from the women’s center. My new home is a couple of blocks away. It is a blessing to have office space where I now can better coordinate the center’s documents.

Thank you again for your patience with us during this extremely busy time. We apologize for the length of this newsletter but wanted to bring you up to date with the exciting things the Lord is doing at the Ark.

Blessings and love with gratitude from Zion,
Polly Sigulim, director
Staff, volunteers, and the women and children in the Ark