Shalom to all!! It has been a very long time since I last wrote and I must say that I have missed you all, my family in Messiah. But it's been a time of much reflection and recuperation, and since these updates have always been a result of 90% inspiration and 10% perspiration, or aspiration, or respiration, or whatever I can call it, today after a long, long time, I once again felt the familiar nudge of the Holy Spirit motivating me to sit down and write again. During this long "break", we haven't stopped telling the story of a tragedy turned to triumph that the Lord accomplished through our family, and by family I don't mean just our immediate one, but all of us together as family in Yeshua, as we prayed, cried, travailed and rejoiced before the Lord together these past 3 years. The result has been a testimony that edifies and inspires all who hear it, and it is not done yet.
Ami has graduated High School! He graduated well. In Israel graduation ceremonies are not cap and gown affairs with formalized ceremonies. Like everything else, we have our own more casual and comfortable style. The kids put together skits, songs and dance to express their appreciation and senses of humor concerning their last years in school. Ami participated in this, and was in several of the skits. He also received a certificate for excellence in sports! We were of course very proud, and he, as always, took it in stride. All of his friends in the next few months will be inducted into the army, but Ami has had it in his heart for the last couple of years to study in college in the U.S. and to hopefully be able to play basketball on a college team. This will entail passing the U.S. college matriculation exams, and so to this end, he'll be going to the States in September, living with good friends in Brooklyn for a few months, and will work at our congregation in the U.S. He'll take the matriculation test there - and we'll see if he will be able after that to fulfil his dream. We would appreciate prayer for this, as so far the Lord has led and guided. I don't want to give any particulars at this point, but we'll let you know as time goes on what happens.
With all the news of earth shaking proportion that is going on in the world and Israel, including the upcoming possibility of a declaration of a Palestinian State in the U.N. and what would happen after that in the region, not to mention all the upheaval currently taking place all across the Middle East in the Arab nations, our court case has ceased to be of any major interest in the local media. We understand that, and as a matter of fact this has been a tactic of Jack Teitel's defense lawyers, to drag the proceedings out so that the press and public attention will diminish. Believe it or not, the proceedings to determine whether Teitel is mentally fit to stand trial are still going on, and we ourselves are not even aware of further hearings as they are being held behind closed doors. We have left in it in the Lord's hands and we pray for him and his family.
Ami and I had a divine appointment the other day. All day long, I needed to go to the supermarket and I needed a ride. Ami said he would take me, but somehow it took us all day to just get in the car and go as one thing after another kept on stopping us. Have you ever had a day like that? I was expecting to just be dropped off, but a few minutes later, Ami all of a sudden appeared in the supermarket, telling me he was going to help me! A rare occurrence. I noticed a woman entering the store who looked familiar, but I couldn't place her. When we got to the checkout, I noticed that she was talking to Ami in a rather intense conversation as he loaded the things on the conveyor belt, and as I was bagging. When she saw me looking at her, she came over and introduced herself. "My name is Darcy, and I am Jack Teitel's sister in law", she said in perfect English. I had already met one of Teitel's wife's sisters, Sarah, who was Ami's English teacher at the time of the attack. Sarah was in my Weight Watcher's group for a while, and we had some interesting conversations. When Teitel was arrested, however, Darcy was the spokesperson for that side of the family and I now remembered that I had seen her on the news and several talk shows. I remember thinking how posed and dignified she was when I watched her speak. At that time she said that her family completely denounced what Teitel had done, and were cutting themselves off from him completely.
Darcy told me that she was so sorry for the suffering that Ami and our family had had to endure at the hands of Teitel. She said she remembered seeing a documentary report about Ami on national television before the arrest, and that she had cried through the whole thing, never imagining that her family was the cause of such a tragedy. I thanked her for her apology but I told that we were OK, our lives were continuing and Ami and our family were able to overcome by the grace of God and because people all over the world had prayed and loved us through the pain, trauma and recovery. I then said, "and you know, we have forgiven him". She physically recoiled when I said that, and she said, "You are better people than me - I can't forgive him for what he has done to my sister. She is left in shame to raise four children alone". I told her that forgiving Teitel doesn't mean excusing his actions, but that we forgave him in order to leave him in God's hands. We didn't want to be victims twice, and we wanted Ami and all our family to be able to heal, and to be able in time to leave the incident behind us, and go on with our lives. I told her that is what has happened. She asked Ami if he's playing basketball, and he said, "Of course!" She told him that she was so happy for that. She said that she never comes to Ariel, and has never been in our supermarket before, but just today she had a doctor's appointment with a specialist and she had to come to the clinic here. We all knew that our meeting was God ordained.
Please continue to pray for Teitel and his family - for salvation to visit their households. Please pray for Ami as he prepares for the American college matriculation exams, and for his upcoming season in NYC.
If you want to see the documentary that Darcy was talking about - go to: http://www.myspace.com/video/vid/54709192
And while you are at it - check out www.amiortiz.com to read about the whole story and to see many other videos, articles, pictures and reports. You can check out past updates on the "Leah's Updates" page, and pictures, videos and articles about Jack Teitel and the hearings as well.