Friday, October 17, 2008

Meet Melissa

The woman was overwhelmed by the baskets of clothing and didn't know how to choose.

Meet Melissa, volunteer personal shopper, who helps immigrant Jewish women find appropriate clothing to start a new life.

For more than a year now we have had Melissa volunteer in Open Gates once a week on our busiest day. Sometimes we have as many as 80 people come to us from all over Israel on a single day! We are so grateful to the Lord for bringing Melissa to us, as she is such a valuable addition to the Open Gates team with her cheerful smile and a heart willing to serve. Melissa is a full time student in one of the universities in Israel studying for her M.A. in Jewish History. She has a very busy schedule, but nevertheless, gives of her time to bless God's precious people. Enjoy some of her thoughts about working at the DC.

My mother used to tell me that I should consider being a "personal shopper," because I've always enjoyed helping others find clothes that are simply perfect for them. This is not a career I have pursued professionally, but the Lord has surprised me by using the skill He has given me to bless His people.

For many women, clothes are not just a necessity, but a delight. Our Father in Heaven is responsible for clothing the lilies of the field in greater splendor than even King Solomon (Matthew 6:28-30)! If He takes such tender care of the fleeting flowers, will He not even more so provide garments for His People? Yes, He does each day at the Distribution Center!

Recently, a family of three Jewish immigrants from India came into Open Gates. They had only arrived in the Land days before, and were still awestruck by the newness of the culture they were encountering. The man was the only English speaker in his family, so he translated for his wife and son. His wife was dressed in traditional Indian garb, and was overwhelmed as she surveyed the many baskets full of western-style clothing. Her husband explained that his wife did not know how to choose or size this type of clothing because she had always worn saris in India, but that she wished to have new clothes to look like the other Israeli women. We found long, flowing, flowery skirts for this dear woman that made her face light up in approval. They were not so different from her saris as to make her uncomfortable, yet "western" enough to give her confidence that she could begin to settle into her new life as an Israeli.

From the Venus Bridal & Venus Modest Bella range

Volunteering at the Distribution Center has been lesson after lesson about the provision of the Lord. I have personally experienced the blessings of the Lord through the Distribution Center, especially through the gift of a splendid, designer wedding gown (with accessories!) from CFI's Bridal Salon for my wedding next February. It is beautiful beyond what I ever imagined my wedding gown would be! God sends exactly the items from around the world that will meet the needs and desires of those who come through Open Gates. Clothing donations are shipped to Jerusalem from Christians all around the world. Depending on the region of the world they are from, new immigrants are usually looking for certain styles or items of clothing. The Lord has this in mind, and brings to Open Gates exactly what will make Israelis smile, feel comforted, and be blessed!

Matthew 25 says that at the End of Days, when the Son of Man comes in all His glory, He will bless and give inheritance to those who looked after the needy, including those who clothe them. What a privilege to be a part of this ministry that is providing for the needy and blessing the Jewish People simultaneously! Zephaniah 3:16-17 says the Lord will take great delight and rejoice over His people in Jerusalem, and I sense that is what He does each day in Open Gates at CFI - providing for and delighting the hearts of the precious ones He is gathering back to the Land of Israel from the ends of the earth!

--Melissa, USA
Ed. note: article used with permission.


CRUCIAL NEED AT BRIDAL SALON

The CFI Bridal Salon has a crucial need for white or off-white open bridal shoes. They have many closed shoes but need more sandal-type modern open style shoes. Summers are very hot in Israel. New or nearly new would be ideal. If you can assist please send your donations to: CFI - Bridal Salon, P.O. Box 1813, Jerusalem 91015, Israel.

You don't have to cross the world to find a woman in need. How can you serve the Lord by meeting the needs of women and girls right where you are? I hope Melissa's story has inspired you. Click here for more ideas.

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