From the start of creation, God designed our existence to be in relationship with those around us. We were not created to be able to survive on our own without contact with other people. We need interaction. We desire to see and be seen. We crave attention. Our nurturing God established His children to first be in relationship with Him and then with others. For this reason, I am a huge advocate of establishing oneself in a local community and building intentional relationships with those around us.
A little over eight years ago, I immigrated to Israel completely by myself. However, I never felt alone. For, you see, I was leaving a wonderful community that had modeled intentional relationship building, whether it was directly volunteering in congregational ministries or receiving one-on-one discipleship and mentorship. People were truly involved in one another’s lives and the fruit that it produced was evident. I experienced the beauty of friendships, and I had no doubt that God would pave a way for me to once again know these types of interactions in my new community in Israel.
Now, my “new” community of Tents of Mercy is like an adopted family. In particular, I have enjoyed being involved in our Women’s Ministry, which really means that I have figuratively a thousand mamas and my three little girls have a thousand and one doting Jewish grandmothers. I figure we’re set for life with this ratio. 😉 Indeed, the ladies in our community are an incredible picture of strength, dignity, determination, resilience and sacrificial love. I have been blown away in hearing their stories – each so different – yet so similar in their mutual quest for re-establishing their lives in a new land with a new culture and language.
This year, our Women’s Ministry is focusing on lifting one another up through prayer, words of encouragement and times of fellowship. At every meeting, we make a point to allow time for small group discussion and space for praying over each another. I can personally attest to a greater sense of openness among our ladies, as they more freely share with each other.
We are also seeking to encompass various types of activities or themes for our meetings. Our most recent time together focused on understanding what true beauty is according to God’s word. The discussion was lively, honest and inspiring. In addition, we shared homemade beauty tips using common items found around the house. Talk about helpful! We are truly blessed and thankful for this season of growing closer to one another while going deeper in our faith together! For as Matthew 18: 19-20 states, “… truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Thus, our women are stronger together than apart!