On Stand for Children's Heart Surgeries
Jessica Thurley, March 21, 2013
Recently I was at an ICEJ conference in Billinge (Wigan), where I had a stand for Shevet Achim to raise funds and awareness! I was selling hand-made crafts and sets of cards on which were printed photos of flowers, boats, and wildlife I had photographed in Israel. I was amazed at how much of my stock went -- most of my Israel cards were sold, and all my Star of David Hama Bead coasters! I was blessed to have sold so much, and I was very happy to have raised £112.60 for Shevet Achim!
Everyone was very generous and interested in what I was doing. I enjoyed making lots of bracelets, necklaces and suchlike beforehand, and I'm looking forward to making lots more for my usual stall at our church.
I love using the gifts God has given me to create crafts which I can sell to raise money for such a worthy cause as this ministry. I think the work they do is great and I want to help as much as I can! You're never too young to start raising money or awareness, or even supporting the ministry with prayer. God can use all of us for His work!
Jessica Thurley, North Wales
Doing My Part
Jessica Thurley, October 28, 2012
My name is Jessica and I'm fourteen years old. I first saw the work of Shevet Achim in action when we visited the Wolfson Medical Centre in Tel Aviv, Israel when I was just five (above picture). On that occasion I filled a suitcase with soft toys to give to the children.
The ministry brings mostly Arab children with heart defects to Israel. They are assisted by Christian volunteers who help them get to the medical centre, where they are treated by Jewish hospital staff. These doctors work all year round to bring about specialist treatment to the children.
Our Church started to support Shevet Achim recently and then I began to get interested in the work and decided I would like to raise money for the ministry. I have a stall selling hand-made goods at our Church outreach every week, and the profits go to Shevet Achim.
I also give a monthly update to the congregation, telling them about the children being treated in Israel and how they can pray.
More recently an article about how I raise funds was written in the Shevet UK June newsletter. I was also interviewed in October at a Christian conference by Peter James, one of the UK Trustees. He asked me questions about my involvement and how I raise money.
I really enjoy supporting this amazing work. It's encouraging to see how so many children's lives are affected by the brilliant devotion of staff and volunteers who support this project.
Jessica Thurley, North Wales (14)
Images of Hope
Caroline Cox, October 22, 2012
St. George’s Church in Barcelona has supported the work of Shevet Achim for a number of years. Recently Sally Morton, coordinator of Shevet Achim UK, spoke in a church service here and shared the Shevet Achim calendars. The photos in the calendar beautifully captured the way heart surgeries in Israel bring restoration to young families, and are beacons of hope in difficult situations. Sally put me in touch with the makers of the calendar, and we were delighted to work together to feature Shevet children at a photography exhibition with the theme, Hope.
On Saturday the 29th of September a good number of people braved the torrential rain in Barcelona to enjoy a dry, cozy environment, witnessing visually the many ways people have interpreted hope. We had tea and coffee available for people while chatting about the images. This created a friendly, welcoming environment. Laughter and tears were evidence of how people were moved by the photos, and there was an overwhelming feeling that we can open our eyes even wider to see signs of hope around us. It is a poignant message for a city like Barcelona, where signs of economic crisis are visibly impacting the lives of people.
We will be displaying the photos after a church service for those who were not able to join us owing to the weather. And a big thank you to Shevet Achim for supporting our exhibition.
Climbing The Highest Peak In Wales
Clive Owen, September 16, 2012
Tony pointing to the summit of Snowdon
Our sponsored “walk” up Snowdon (the highest mountain in Wales and second highest in the UK) last Wednesday, September 6th was completed successfully. It was a hard climb but my friend Tony Hathaway and I made it to the top. Our aim as we traversed the rough terrain was to collect donations for the children under Shevet's wing. This spurred us on as the weather suddenly closed in on us, and as we made the summit we could hardly see our hands in front of our faces. Such is the nature of mountains, and especially Snowdon, in North Wales. It has that reputation: valley floor flooded with sunshine but mountaintop shrouded in cloud, mist and even rain. However, we rejoiced in the ability from the Lord to undertake this small venture for “our neighbour” who is like ourselves. We arrived home after a seven-hour ascent and descent, and a five-hour drive back to Newport, feeling tired but overjoyed.
Clive and Tony with the Shevet balloon, designed by Clive’s granddaughter Ella
We hope to repeat our mountain climbing venture next year for the same cause. The climb has been sponsored by those from our Fellowship and friends of Shevet UK.
Chair of Shevet UK
Treats for Heart Treatment
Candace Wisely, 11 March 2012
Each Friday in the month of February, six sophomore ladies at Southwest Christian High School in Chanhassen, Minnesota treated their classmates to homemade snacks and baked goods. Together they are in a discipleship group, and decided to raise money for life-saving heart surgeries in the Middle East.
The girls learned of Shevet Achim through an alumnus of their school named Natalie, who spent three months at Shevet Achim last summer.
As word got out about their project, requests came in from other groups in the school for delectable treats like lemon bars, banana bread, brownies, coffee cake, puppy chow and rice crispy treats. As they delivered the treats, an envelope was left for donations to Shevet Achim.
By the end of February, $720 was collected, surpassing even the goal! These funds were given toward an Iraqi girl named Doaa, who is receiving heart treatment in Israel in March 2012. The discipleship group looks forward to praying for Doaa and her family, and also plans to keep the rest of their school informed of this precious child’s progress.
A Heart Like Shiloh's
Ryan Gregg, 23 February 2012
Meet Shiloh, a six-year old local leader from rural Manitoba. She is not your run-of-the-mill cutie. Behind these sparkling blue eyes is a heart that cares for the hearts of others.
For Shiloh’s sixth birthday, she asked her friends to give her things that she could give to the children at Shevet Achim. On the day of the party, presents came in: crayons, coloring books, dolls, play-dough, hair ties, note pads, stuffed animals, and even a new toothbrush.
Shiloh’s grandparents are Christian leaders among the indigenous tribes of Canada, and recently led a group of pilgrims to Israel. When they came, grandma and grandpa brought an extra suitcase over the Atlantic, full of Shiloh’s birthday presents. When the pilgrims came to Jerusalem, Jonathan and I walked down Prophets Street to meet them, to receive Shiloh’s presents for the children, and to say thank you.
Shiloh’s grandparents are understandably very proud of her, and held up her picture to the group. I felt that Shiloh’s character was also being held up, as an example to us non-children of what a generous heart looks like.
On the back of the photograph is written: “To the children of Shevet Achim: your stories have touched my heart. For my 6th birthday party I asked my friends to bring things that I could give to you. Love, Shiloh.”
Afterwards, some people from the group danced in a circle, praising Jesus with song and motion. I got in the mix too; I’m the guy with the checkered sweatshirt and blue undershirt. We weren't dancing quite that fast, but you get the idea.
I am most inspired by the biblical promise of Shevet Achim when children spontaneously live it. It seems the world is simpler through the eyes of a child, its many complexities falling simply into a few rules of kindness. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Children understand this. Shiloh understands this. And I want a heart like Shiloh’s.
From and For a Heart
Rachel Klas, Kirkland Washington, 26 December 2011
I have a job that tends to leave me a bit... tense.
So, when I stumbled upon a local arts center, I signed up for Clay 101, joking with myself that the fee was cheaper than therapy.
I kept my job, so I kept taking classes, and I found a disproportionate amount of sanity in making squishy messes.
Meanwhile, a friend introduced me to Shevet Achim. I loved what they were doing... and felt totally useless. I couldn't just flit over to Israel, I know only first aid, I don't speak any Middle Eastern languages, and my finances are insignificant. What could I possibly offer?
Eventually, I did get better at working with clay, and I started making a bunch of little people with their hearts in their hands.
I am intrigued by the concept of offering love with an open hand. This is what is so inspiring about Shevet Achim - they freely offer hearts, literally and metaphorically, turning strangers into friends.
I got positive feedback on my little people, and someone even commissioned me to make one for them.
Right about then, Shevet Achim announced their Local Leader initiative, offering anybody the option and opportunity to find creative and personalized ways to support Shevet Achim. Could I offer something through this?
As it turns out, the arts center runs a store that sells work from their students and local artists. I mustered my courage, took some of the clay people out of my top kitchen cupboard, and brought them to the store to be evaluated for sale. The store actually accepted some of them!
I made little tags for each one, explaining that all of my profits would go to Shevet Achim and giving the web address. In that way, these clay hearts can raise both funds and awareness for the beating hearts housed in Shevet Achim.
Now, I'm not saying that everyone reading this should take up clay or try to sell whatever's in their kitchen cupboards. I'm saying that I found overlap between a byproduct of my everyday life and an opportunity to help Shevet Achim - an overlap that adds purpose and joy to my everyday life.
I'm not sure what all will happen with my little clay people, but I am grateful for the opportunity to do something from and for a heart.