My Dream Came True
As a little girl I used to dream the same awful dream at night – a dream I still remember. In my dream I was on top of a very large hill. I was very afraid because I knew something was after me constantly, and I did not want it to get me. On this hill (it was very green and beautiful) there was a spiral path that I could see laid out ahead of me. The path was narrow – just enough for me to step on, and it led to the center of the hill where a gorgeous red flower – a kind I’ve never seen before – was blooming. I knew I had to get to it, but I could not cross over on the grass, and it seemed that the faster I ran from what was chasing me, the farther away from the flower I got. Because of this dream I often thought about God’s existence (even though I was specifically told He was a matter of fiction) and how I would like to know Him if He was actually real.
I was born in Siberia, and grew up in Lithuania when it was still a Republic of the USSR. When in 1989 Jews were again allowed to escape the communist regime by immigrating to Israel, my parents quickly jumped at the opportunity and in August of 1990 we arrived in Israel.
Apart from the heat, the language barrier, the incredible culture shock and the fact that I had just left everything I knew and came to a place where, supposedly, my family belonged all along, as a twelve-and-a-half-year-old girl I had to face the pressure of teenage life in a country which (it seemed) had no rules, barriers or limitations.
SEEING A BIBLE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE
After learning Hebrew fairly quickly, I was put in a regular Israeli class, where I studied Tanach – The Old Testament – among other things.
For the first time I read the incredible stories and learned about the amazing miracles God performed for Israel thousands of years ago. The Hebrew language of the Tanach was very hard for me to understand, however I did receive a wonderful gift from the state of Israel – the entire Tanach in Hebrew with the Russian alongside. That made things much easier, but, unfortunately, while we learned about the stories, no one spoke about God Himself.
It actually took a tragedy for me to realize the power of God existed today just as much as back in the days of the Bible.
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery one day when I was at school. She then continued radiation treatments which left her faint, sick and tired almost all the time.
LOOKING FOR A HEALER
Through a relative we found out about a woman who called herself a “healer” and we went to see her. The woman said she was a Christian, and that she was cleansing and healing people through prayer, setting them free from the oppressing spirits.
She covered us with a white sheet while she waved candles around in the air and whispered some prayers.
We let her perform “healing” ceremonies on us multiple times. My mom still wasn’t getting better. Finally, the woman said that since nothing else was working, she would pray for her in the name of Jesus – since that always worked in the harder cases.
Lo and behold, my mom started getting better immediately! Whoever this lady was, and whatever was in her chants, God in His mercy touched my mom. So we gladly started believing in Jesus.
Of course, we had heard about Jesus before – even in Russia, but since communism hated religion and faith in God, we didn’t even think about these things. We also knew what was done to our Jewish people for centuries in the name of Jesus, so believing in Him always seemed taboo. But now that my mother was healed, and since we weren’t in Russia anymore, we had no problem!
A CHURCH IN NAZARETH
We somehow heard about a Russian Orthodox Church in Nazareth, and looking for a community that believed in Jesus, we started going there once a month on Saturdays. As a 17-year-old, I was much more interested in boys than in listening to boring (though beautiful) chantings of a priest. I also did not want to tell him all my sins to obtain forgiveness, so I would always confess lying and get it over with.
After a few months I was baptized in water and learned a few prayers I could recite on cue. I had no idea what I was baptized for, or why I should say prayers written centuries ago, but I did what I thought I was supposed to do. Though I sincerely desired to know God, no one told me how to do it (or that I could do it!), and I thought a relationship with Him through a priest was the best I could hope for.
Within a few months I almost completely lost interest in my dead religion.
I graduated from high school and was getting ready to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). After my 18th birthday I started having doubts about believing in Jesus. Besides, my mother and I didn’t know any other Jews who believed in Him, and my reasoning was a Jew cannot believe in Jesus and remain a Jew.
I was afraid to talk about my beliefs because I didn’t want my friends to think I was crazy for believing in God. Also, my lifestyle by that time was not reflecting that of the only example I knew of people who believed in God – the ultra-Orthodox – and I was ashamed to admit that I believed in His existence.
I was brewing in this conflict for a few weeks, and then, one day, I decided that I no longer wished to battle myself on this issue. So, as funny (and horrible) as this now sounds, I decided to give God an ultimatum.
I GAVE GOD A SEVEN-DAY DEADLINE
“God,” I said, “If this Jesus thing is real… if He’s really your Son… then within seven days you will show me other Jews who believe in Him. Otherwise, I’m just going to go back to being a normal Jew and have nothing more to do with Jesus. You can just forget about me!”
Naturally, I would never dream about doing the same thing today, but at eighteen, after over five years in Israel, I acquired enough of the Israeli hutzpah to do it. I wanted answers from God and this was the only way I could think of getting them.
I started counting the days. One… two… five days passed and nothing happened. But on the sixth day my mother came home with the biggest and best news I’d ever heard.
She said she had a customer that day who started talking to her about God and His Son, and who was really surprised to know that my mother believed in Jesus. Only she called Him Yeshua, saying it was His Hebrew name. Mother also said the woman invited us to her house on Saturday (Shabbat) where they had a congregation with other Jews who believed in Yeshua.
I was excited. And then I thought to myself, “If God cared enough to do this for me, He’s so much better than I have ever imagined!”
I FOUND A HOME
Not coincidentally my mother’s client was a pastor at a local congregation! The next morning we visited and met dozens of other Jewish believers in Yeshua.
My parents tell me that I started singing when I was three. I personally don’t remember a time when I did not sing. So, when the music started on that Saturday morning, my heart was instantly drawn to God and all I could do was cry. Though I didn’t realize it back then, the Holy Spirit was moving upon me and I heard Him speak to me for the first time.
This was something I had never experienced before, and looking at the smiling faces of people around me I knew I was at home, where I belonged. I accepted Yeshua and invited Him into my heart that same day. This was also the day I stopped having my dream, even though I continue thinking about it until this day.
My transformation wasn’t immediate. In 1996 there were not many believers (especially my age) in Israel, and the fact that I joined the IDF soon after we came to the congregation didn’t contribute to my maturing as a believer either.
COLLEGE DAYS WERE SPIRITUALLY DARK
After the army came college and though for the first two years I maintained a good relationship with the Lord, my third and fourth years were harder, and I found myself with one foot in the Kingdom of God and the other in the kingdom of darkness.
Because I lived on campus, I had little contact with believers from my congregation at home. I didn’t know of other believers who attended the same university. I stopped reading my Bible. The only time I worshipped was when I would go home every other weekend and go to the congregation where I sang on the worship team. I did still pray every night, because I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I had no weapons to fight my sin.
I surrounded myself with friends who didn’t know God and had no desire to know God.
At night, especially after going to the congregation, I would lay in my bed crying and asking the Lord to help me overcome this backslidden state. I was thirsting for God, but I’d given up the fight with the enemy. I felt that the ground underneath me was splitting and time was running out for me to make a decision which way I wanted to go – to God or to the world.
After college I moved back home. Within a month I finally realized what I was doing, and this time I cried out to the Lord one more time, asking for His intervention and surrendering my life and my desires to Him. I repented of my sin, and asked His forgiveness.
I also asked Him to remove me from Israel for a time, because I knew that if I stayed, people who I called friends back then would continue bringing me down and my chances of surviving as a believer would be close to zero.
OFF TO THE UNITED STATES
Not even two weeks passed from the time I made my request, and the pastors asked whether I would like to go and study the Bible and worship in the US. I didn’t need to think about the answer. I knew my love for the Lord was real, and there was nothing more I wanted than to please Him, know Him and dedicate my life to Him.
In August of 2003 I started the fall semester at Christ For the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas. My life has not been the same since then. For practically the first time in my life I had literally hundreds of peers who knew the Lord. I was taught each day how to maintain a relationship with Him. I studied the Word of God and I was getting to know my Savior personally at last.
During and after school, for three years I lead worship at a local Messianic Congregation and at the end of 2005 I began working for a Messianic ministry with offices around the world.
I am still working with that ministry as well as translating for Lunchtime Prayer for Israel.
I’m so grateful for the opportunities the Lord is opening to me to bless Israel using my talents. Though my first passion is still worship, my second passion is doing what I do for the Kingdom; I’m not sure that too many people get to live their lives doing two things they are most passionate about on a daily basis.
Fifteen months ago I received another blessing from the Lord. I became a mother to a beautiful daughter. When I look at my children and think back to where I came from, I can’t help but praise God for His faithfulness, mercy and love.
INTERPRETATION OF MY DREAM
Just recently, as I was preparing to write this testimony, I believe the Lord finally let me understand the interpretation of my childhood dream. The red flower, of course, was Yeshua, whose blood paid the price for my atonement and salvation. What was chasing me was, of course, Satan – who was lurking around like the roaring lion seeking to devour me. The path I was on (and still am on) is the life God gave me, and the reason I could not cross on the grass was because everything on the path of our lives is carefully planned by Him, and every step is ordered and ordained by Him.
I’m thankful that He softened my heart so that I could hear His call and choose to follow Him. I pray and believe that His promise that all Israel shall be saved is closer to fulfillment than ever. And I’m looking forward to the day when all Israel shall say, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!”
I do not have an easy life. I’ve had days I would like to forget but which are still very vivid in my mind. But it is through these experiences that my faith in God grew and so did my love for Him. If I started to believe in Yeshua because He healed my mother, today I believe in Him and love Him because of what He took me out of. I would not change anything on my way because everything that happened made me the woman I am today.