From South-Africa to Gedera

I am a grandma, 71 years old, whom went to ALEH for 3 months, left and now came back for another 6 months.

It all started with a dream. Because of my age I wanted to know whether there still was something that God wanted me to do for Him. I asked Him to give it to me in a dream. Although waking up several times during the night, I did not have any dreams. But the next morning my daughter woke up and told me that she had a dream about me working together with Jesus, taking care of people on a green mountain like it is portrayed in the Bible. So she asked Him why there were so many people there and He said, “because there are so many people in need”. I then realized that God could not trust me with the dream because I would have made it off as a desire of my hart and not from Him.

A few years passed and as I was reminding God about this dream ꟷfor the time was perfect and I was still in good health, it came to me that I love children so much, I would like to work with children!

A friend of mine came to visit and I told him about my heart’s desire and he told me about ALEH. He figured, it could be a great opportunity for me. I went unto ALEH’s website and saw that they only take volunteers up to the age of 65 years. I thought to myself that cannot be true, for why did God show me this opportunity? I wrote an email to ALEH asking they would be willing to consider me, a woman of 70 years old as a volunteer. They wrote me back saying that I have to go for a doctors’ test and if I am in good health they will be able to accommodate me. Luckily, they did not mention ‘fit’. And then the struggle started as I tried to learn Hebrew. But as soon as I got here and started to use Hebrew words it gradually became much easier. But I also realize that loving them and smiling back is a language on its own.

And that is how I landed up at ALEH Gedera. The best place ever. Filled with emotion and anticipation I only had the feeling that I am performing Gods will. He provided for me in every detail. I experience the best values at ALEH Gedera; the loving kindness, dedication, respect and empathy.

I will never forget my first day arriving here. I could not keep myself from tears of thankfulness for this wonderful opportunity. The big smiling faces of the children and staff, watching them taking care of these vulnerable children and them allowing me to be a part of all of this: giving them a hug if they are sad or hurt, touch and speak softly to them when they are uncomfortable. They love music dancing and singing and I like to join them and make silly moves to make them laugh.

The best welcome was when I returned to ALEH Gedera after having been away for 2 months. Those faces when they saw me again! Shouting out my name and just running towards me with open arms. The deaf-mute girl showing me in her signs that she was crying for me.

The most important thing for me is to make them happy. But there are days that I feel they give me more than I can give to them. They feel like my own and make me feel so appreciated.

The volunteers of Gedera have a great spirit and even with the great generation- and cultural gap, we stick together, make turns to prepare a meal and have our own erev Shabbat.

I feel so humble and thankful to be here and looking forward to the next 6 months!

I have been all over Israel visiting historical places during my days off, but I just love Gedera. If it was not for my wonderful, caring and loving children and grandchildren I can see myself staying here forever.

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