Forsake Them Not by Olga Kopilova
The Holocaust is one of the most grievous events of human history.
6 million innocent people, whose only crime was to be born Jewish, were annihilated by other humans.
God’s heart grieves, and deeply aches for the loss and pain of His firstborn. God’s heart grieves over one of the biggest tragedies of the human race. We grieve with Him, and yet we rejoice with Him, with those who survived, with those who thrived, and with those who moved back into their true homeland, Israel, and lived successful and full lives.
The task of the Forsake Them Not team, as we still have precious Survivors with us, is to listen and to hear the truth of their stories. It is our responsibility to hear what the hearts of the Holocaust Survivors are trying to say beyond the pages of a history book, to uplift them in prayer and to become their voices for future generations.
As a team, we are blessed that we can bring love, comfort, and gifts. Our goal, as always, is to reach as many holocaust survivors as we can through home visits, scheduling and attending special events, phone calls, greeting cards and gifts. Over the years, we have learned that attention is what is needed most.
A listening ear, a hug, an unhurried visit – these are the “gifts” that are longed for. Each year the stark reality, that our time with these precious people, is so limited becomes more and more clear.
We know we must work while it is day.
The Forsake Them Not team makes many trips all around Israel to visit these survivors in their sunset years, whose glory is in the fruit of their lives and in the inheritance of their children. We are honored to know each one, and we are so grateful for all of the prayers and support of you, our faithful supporters, for enabling us to ‘forsake them not.’
Contact Forsake Them Not at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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May 2020 - Project Update by Olga Kopilova
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
In this fast changing world, with all its uncertainty, there is still the One who is Certain, the One who never changes, the One whom we can trust – the Lord God Almighty, Our Heavenly Father, the Rock of our salvation. He is the One who carried us through the month of April, with its many events and celebrations, all only observed from enclosed spaces of our apartments, separated from others in body, nevertheless united in the spirit.
Being unable to go out on the visits, we still connected with many Holocaust Survivors through phone calls and video chats, text messages and emails. Many sent us their greetings and pictures of their families, whom they are missing so much during the total lockdown of these past 7 weeks. Every day we were calling our precious friends on their birthdays to tell them we remember and to wish them good health and to, often, read them a psalm. What joyful moments those were! But there were also very sad and painful days when we learned that some of our dear ones just recently passed away. We can’t wait for the quarantine to be lifted so that we can see Holocaust Survivors face to face again.
It is impossible to give you an account of every phone call we made, as those are many, but we would still love to share with you few.
I was nervous to call Grigory's son on the 1st of April, Grigory’s 90th birthday. Just 3 weeks prior he had returned from the hospital where he was taken, to be treated for a recent stroke. I wasn't sure if Grigory could speak at all. Yakov, his son, was surprised to hear my voice, and very happy to pass the phone so that Grigory could hear my greeting. I sensed that he was so proud to pass the pone to his dad. Grigory's voice was alert and strong and I was thrilled to greet him on his birthday and to congratulate him on another victorious year in his long and full life.
Anna lives in Kiryat Ata and suffers from depression. She spends long days alone in apartment with her cat. She was so touched to get our phone call and so pleased to talk with someone. There were too many questions on her mind about what is going on in this current worldwide crisis. She expressed the fears that were on her heart. She, like the rest of us, has never experienced anything like this in her life! It was so important for her to have someone who would listen to her concerns and then bring her some words of encouragement and comfort. She couldn't hold back her tears during our conversation, and we were so pleased to offer her hope and company, even through a simple phone call.
Evgenia from Ashdod was so despairing in her anxiety because of her heart surgery being postponed, as nobody wanted to operate on her in the current situation, and also for a total lack of medical attention. For the past few months her only nourishment was through the tubes, which caused inflammation of the nostrils and dried her digestive system, so now she also needs another surgery on her digestive system. How grateful Evgenia was to receive our call in such a desperate condition, though it was hard to recognise her voice, as she was so weak even to speak! What a privilege it was to pray with her and to bring comfort in assurance that all our days are in God’s hands – He sees everything! Evgenia said she is missing us greatly and wants to see us as soon as the isolation is over.
Berta from Gedera lives in a luxurious retirement apartment and only a caregiver is allowed to come in and help with her daily needs. At 93 Berta is still very bright minded and pretty independent. The only Survivor of her entire family and a rare survivor of the Minsk Ghetto, she is also a war veteran and a brave warrior of a partisan unit of Belarus resistance. She immediately recognised our voice and was so pleased and happy to hear from us! She told us all her news, expressed her strong opinion on new regulations, but most of all she expressed her deep gratitude and appreciation for our care and attention towards her. Even in these challenging days, Berta remains strong and optimistic.
Thank you, as always, for your continued love, prayers and support. We realise that these times are trying for everyone, and we so appreciate your constant efforts in helping us forsake not our precious survivors.
Olga Kopilova, Forsake Them Not, Jerusalem.
“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)