In part 3, Paul Calvert spoke with Kalman Samuels about the incredible sports facilities and programmes they have, currently benefiting thousands of disabled young people in Israel.

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Paul: Do you have any amazing stories from families who have been here and come back to you and say, "Look this is what has happened to my child?"

Kalman: We have it all the time. It is an ongoing process. Just this week I happened to be standing with a guest inside the front door, and a father of a very young child who is now three years old, and began in our me and my mummy programme, was suddenly telling me and the guest about the fact that his child is brought from Tel Aviv every day. He said, "This is my only child. When I saw the quality of services, I fought with all the authorities that you don't need to bus him, I will take this child myself." So he comes every morning to Jerusalem, an hour from Tel Aviv. He puts his child in the programme, does whatever he does during the day and he goes home at four in the afternoon back to Tel Aviv.

Providing The Environment And Skills To Enable Disabled Young
People To Fly

He told us that the doctors told him his child will never, he mentioned several milestones, some of them cognitively, and a couple of them in terms of being able to walk. He said this place is a place of miracles. This place has taught the child enormous amounts in terms of general cognition and they are now beginning to walk.

That is one of a thousand I can give you.

Paul: Have you seen God provide for this place and has that increased your faith?

Kalman: I have seen God provide for this place in miraculous ways, pushing me to despair and somehow bringing salvation. At times anyone else would have closed this place down because of the financial problems, early on especially.

I am always asked "Where are you going and what are you doing?" My answer is always "I don't quite know." Because I really don't quite know.

Someone once called me Forest Gump, which was blowing like the feather in the wind, and there is a lot of truth to that. I try and let God lead me. Obviously I have to have a plan, but anyone who walks into this building senses before he gets in, just to see the beauty and the enormity of the centre for people with disabilities, has to understand, this is the hand of God who has blessed the work of our hands. He's blessed in ways that when we started with five children, we could never have envisioned and never anticipated. I am sometimes asked, "You must be so proud," and I say, "Pride doesn't enter into the equation. I am humbled by the fact that the good Lord has helped us in this manner."

Paul: Why do you do what you do?

Kalman: When you have experience and you learn the hard way what suffering is about, in any given circumstance, and you realise that you have the ability with God's help to really impact people's lives, not to change their lives a little bit, but to change them in a way that till this programme came along, people's lives were not functional. It's like drowning in a swimming pool. These programmes are not an Aspirin for serious illness, these programmes are comprehensive responses. It's not even about throwing a life preserver to the person in the pool, it's about throwing a life preserver and helping him get out of that pool.

So yes the child still has his challenges, but when your child is here five days a week in the afternoon until 6.30pm until he comes home; when he sleeps over one night, meaning two days a week; when he sleeps over one weekend every six weekends; when he has summer camps over and above all the programmes the Government provides, then that person's life now has the ability to be a quality life once again.

Providing The Environment And Skills To Enable Disabled Young
People To Fly

So that motivates me. I am always humbled by stories that come my way, and seeing extraordinary good deeds that are being done here.

Paul: What is your prayer for the people that come into this place?

Kalman: May they not need this place. May God give their child a full recovery. May they be able to go on to do things, that they should become good friends of these children, and come and volunteer. That would be my prayer. But given the fact that they are here, my prayer is that God should help them, number one to be able to cope, and to have a little bit of Shalva (peace of mind). That is what we strive for and I do believe that is what we are very successful at, and bringing people that quality of coming to terms with what they have. Helping them to understand the limitations and at the same time never limiting themselves to those limitations. We always reach further and further afield, never losing hope and always believing that God can do anything. As the song goes, "Believing makes miracles happen."

Paul: What is your website for people who would like to know more?

Kalman: www.shalva.orgCR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.