Latest News from Rod and Margi Powell
Grandfather Frost, that is.
“Ded Moroz” is a fictional character who, during Soviet times, became the main symbol of the New Year's holiday that replaced Christmas. Unlike the secretive Santa, “Grandfather Frost” delivers presents to children “in person”. Some dear friends sent the most marvelous care packages for our residents and their children. And on New Year's Eve, Rod a.k.a. Grandfather Frost, delivered them. One kid, Nikita, is still talking about it. And although he's almost certain that it was Rod under the beard, he's also decided that Rod is Grandfather Frost's BFF. SCORE!
In more recent news, just today there was some unsavory activity in Tel Aviv where Rod and his pal, Jonathan, go to minister to the down and outs. A guy came out of seemingly nowhere and upended their table and created an ugly scene. Were they on someone's turf? Who knows. Thankfully, this sort of thing is unusual and they're usually free to minister as the Lord leads. In their weekly outreaches, they're meeting more and more Africans as well as the usual customers.
On a cheerier note, our dream of creating “warm homes” in a Christian community is slowly taking shape. But the work is hard to measure and it's impossible for Rod and me to be objective about the progress. Besides, we're kind of making this thing up as we go along:-) One of our many challenges is in knowing how to disciple these people. Each resident has personal “baggage”, fears and insecurities which make it hard for him or her to trust others including, at times, Rod and me. How can we help integrate them into a church? How can we help them feel more connected with main stream life and society?
Here are some specific ways you can pray for our friends:
Sveta works a full-time job for minimum pay and maximum stress. She's involved in a long-term fight with the legal system for her five-year old son to be returned to her full-time care. The courts have made egregious errors and the real loser is the child. We pray that he'll be returned to Sveta asap and that he'll be happier and better placed with her.
Ira's our friend who has a type of Schizophrenia. It seems to us that it's a cyclical illness and she's not doing at all well at the moment. Her “job” is more like adult day care for mentally ill people. She lives in squalor, is broke, depressed, dirty and sleeping all the hours that God sends. I'm taking her to the doctor tomorrow to see about adjusting her meds. I'm wondering if she needs to be hospitalised. The idea terrifies her.
Vova is Ira's teenage son. 18, he's living with us on school nights. Without our help, Ira says, he'd have shot out of there like a bullet! He has a lot of social and emotional challenges and, I'm not going to lie, it's not always easy to share our 750 sq ft flat with him. I don't think he has any real friends to speak of so relies on us a lot to meet his social needs. Still, he's making good progress in his walk with the Lord and at school. At home, we're finding our stride in learning how to live together.
Patrick is working full-time as a chef in a Christian guesthouse but is receiving a salary that's not commensurate with his experience. He's in a serious relationship with a lovely Christian woman, Sharona, and he wants to be able to support himself and her before they move forward. Should he stay and negotiate a better salary or move on? (By the way, he could earn lots of money as a sous chef in a restaurant. But – as he says - there's a lot of ego and substance abuse in the top end of the industry which he'd like to avoid.)
Please do pray for our former resident, Jennifer. We're in discussions about taking her and her baby back. Besides lots and lots of boundaries, she needs to make a clear break from her boyfriend. It's a toxic, co-dependent, abusive, enabling (and every other kind of bad you can think of) relationship so leaving him won't be easy for her. Unfortunately, he lives a stone's throw from our flat which complicates matters further. We're praying that God will help her do what she can't do for herself.
Some of you follow my adventures with language learning. As it happens, I have the nicest, kindest sweetest Russian teacher whom I adore. She's the Anne Sullivan to my Helen Keller. Anya may not be a miracle worker but she's a terrific teacher and a good friend.
In closing I want you to know that we received a wonderful response to our recent appeal for extra funding for our work here in Israel. We're overwhelmed with thankfulness for your help and will do our utmost to be good stewards of your hard-earned missionary dollars (or pounds, as the case may be).
Bonus points to you for reading this far!
Love to you and yours in 2013.