“But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.“ (Luke 22,32). Thus spoke Jesus at that time to Simon Petrus – and to me personally in 2010, pushing me to repentance.
Isn’t that a great gift of favor?! He has called my name, he has never let me down and he has a concrete plan for me:
„And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.“
I had the opportunity to visit several foreign countries and continents – but Israel is the only one, I feel at home. I’ve experienced their hospitality and friendliness towards us, the German, even on the ground of Yad Vashem, the memorial of our german nazi past. I wish with all my heart, to get to know God’s people in more depth, to become a genuine friend of Israel and finally „one body in christ“ according to Ephesians 2.15-16!
If my mom would not have prayed for me, I would not be here: Prayer moves!
Help in Times of Temptation and Doubt
As a child I was lucky enough to grow up in a Christian family.
My parents soon started to be very interested in the topic of Israel and to pray for the Jewish people and the state of Israel. Their love and strong interest seemed to me very strange because I could not understand nor comprehend their way of thinking. Neither in my local church nor in my youth group could I find any reference.
Nevertheless, I realized that my God is, of course, working with nations (not only with the local Christian community) and his Son not only is a savior but also a king and a ruler.
After I asked Jesus to reveal his true identity to me, I realized that on his cross was the inscription INRI, not INSC (Iesus Nazarenus Salvator Christianorum). This revelation became a blessing to me for I could see from the existence of the Jewish people and the state of Israel that God is real even today. Normally, according to the law of logic, there should be no more Jews left on earth (after all the progroms, expulsions and the holocaust) and the State of Israel should have ceased to exist (according to the waged wars, wishes and plans of the majority not only of the Arab nations). In any case, according to the will of God, this will never become reality. For it is mentioned in Jeremiah 31:35-36:
35 Thus saith the LORD, who hath given the sun by day, the ordinances of the moon, and of the stars, unto the light by night; Who stireth the sea, that his waves may roar, the Lord of hosts is his name: 36 If these ordinances can be cleansed before my face, saith the LORD, even the seed of Israel shall cease to be a people before my face.
Knowing this is a true help in times of temptation and doubts indeed.
Gave God One More Chance!
I was born into a Christian family and had two loving parents who tried to raise me as well as possible. They also tried to incorporate Christianity and Christian values into our family life, although back then they didn’t really know what Christianity and living as a Christian meant. For me this meant singing in the children’s choir, attending church and Sunday school, and going to several church camps.
I was a good boy; always laughing, getting good grades, never destroying windows nor trampling the grass. All these years I considered myself a Christian but at the age of 13 I started questioning God, the Bible and the church and eventually decided against God.
I perceived the church and stories of the Bible as brutal and outdated and began to really hate Christians and their teachings. I didn’t want anything to do with a God who killed his Son. From that time on I started focusing entirely on myself and tried to fill my empty soul with all kinds of different things.
But nothing worked. When I had finished school at age 18 I couldn’t find a job nor a place to study and therefore had to apply for a voluntary service at a Christian organization nearby. I still hated Christians and did not want to work there at all. But God in his mercy put me there.
This was the very first time I got to know genuine believers who gave their everything to help the poor and needy. And this made me question my beliefs about Christians and Christianity. It didn’t take too long and I found myself praying (a most arrogant prayer): “God, I give you one last chance”. Despite my arrogance, God revealed himself to me. I fell in love with his word and his people and finally understood why Jesus had to die. God started to renew my heart and is doing so still.
All praise be to God!
From Anger to Praise
I was born into a loving Korean family, We are very close and live in harmony but we didn’t have any religion or beliefs.
I had a good childhood with many friends and happy times with my family. My father was very kind and loving to his two daughters and my mother loves to take care of everything for our family. We laugh a lot and I have memories of many unique family trips.
One of my friends was always inviting me to come to her church where her father was the pastor. But it caused a dilemma because I wanted to watch a Disney cartoon at the same time! But she called me every Sunday morning. She was a really good friend and it was hard to refuse her all the time, so sometimes I did go with her.
But I didn’t believe in Yeshua; I just knew the notion of Yeshua. I knew that He was on the cross for our sin and that He is love. I understood those kinds of things in my brain but not in my heart. I wasn’t interested in Yeshua and felt that the church was boring.
Anyway I had good relationship with my friend. She was warm, open-minded and always had good counsel for me. She was really nice and I loved her, but I didn’t go to church often. I just visited her family house to eat delicious foods.
Even though I had a loving family, I became very hard on myself.
I was a excellent student in Korean elementary school and middle school and soon I was determined to be #1 on every test. I ignored my friends and was obsessed with studying. I was proud of everything yet had terrible complexes about myself. I was ashamed of everything, myself, my achievements and even my family. I began to fail at everything. My heart was full of anger and lost control often.
I tried to push myself in another dream, filmmaking. I went to study filmmaking in Australia, but because of financial and other situations, I returned to Korea. Then I became an English teacher in a Christian school. I wasn’t interested in God, but had to attend the weekly worship services. The school was for children of rich families and was very competitive. I always felt inferior to my students and my co-workers. I tried to ignore my suffering.
One day I heard a bad news about my father – he had a heart disease and had to go to hospital for a short time. Again I tried to ignore the pain in my heart, and pretended that everything was great.
Even though my father was sick, I tried to make a short film with my friends for myself, but my camera, a gift from my father and some money were stolen. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t control the situation.
Then one day a friend called me with a great offer. “Hey! Sister, I’ll sell my new camera which is better than yours. You just pay me a little.” Of course I said, “Okay, where should I go?” I was surprised when she said to come to the church where she was working. But then she said, “Because I met Jesus!” I was surprised, but it didn’t matter, I wanted the camera.
And I went to the church, It was the ONNURI CHURCH in Korea. We met in the cafeteria and she gave me a camera and the book, Mere Christianity by C.S.Lewis. She had written, “I hope that this book will change your life” , “Um…Okay Thank you so much ” I said.
And suddenly bad things happened to me. My sister was angry because of my wrong attitude about my father. Our relationship became biter and she moved out without saying anything to me. My relationship with my co-workers had become quite difficult and painful. I was suffering deep in my heart and couldn’t control it. I was really broken and felt I couldn’t breathe. It was really strange as I’d never experienced that kind of emotion.
I tried to find the solution in the book my friend had given me, Mere Christianity. I found myself desiring God. I wondered, “Who is God? I need to meet Him.” During the morning service at the school while we worshipped I begged, “God, please meet me. If you are real, please meet me.”
Suddenly I was surrounded by warm and comforting air. It was actually hot. I cried out, knelt down and said “I am so sorry. It was my fault ” Then my empty heart was full of the warmth of the Holy Spirit. The joy of God filled my heart and my soul. It was God’s amazing grace as Holy spirit met me.
Since then My life has changed a lot. I went to the church to worship and praise God. I love the Word of God and spread the Gospel to my family and friends. My family started worship to God at home but we still need to heal our broken hearts for each other. But I trust the God of Israel is doing this work for my family! I visited my friend, when I was a child had kept inviting me to church. She now lives in Israel. God has also given me a love for the Jewish people. I hope for opportunities to comfort them and ask forgiveness for this many sins of the church in the past.
My friend introduced me to Lunchtime Prayer for Israel and am blessed to be on the Korean translation team.
Thank you for everything, God and friends!
Mariana, a Dreamer & Discerner
Raised in Eastern Europe as an Orthodox Christian, I believed in one God. However, I also believed that different religions each called this one God by different names. I thought that as long as a person believes in God, no matter what religion he or she followed (Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Muslim, etc.), that if the person was good and did good things, he or she would automatically go to Heaven after death. I was very mistaken.
I was 22 years old when I read the Bible for the first time in its entirety. It took me about a year. I liked the Bible very much. It was different than any other books I had ever read. What got my attention was the amazing love that God the Creator has towards people. The God of the Bible is so patient. He loves His people very much even though they are rebellious and forgetful of His goodness.
Then, when I was 25 years old, I had a dream. I was in Heaven. I was on my face on the floor, right next to the throne of God. God Almighty was seated on His throne. He spoke to me. His voice was like all thunders and waterfalls combined together. His light was extremely bright, so bright, I had to cover my face the entire time. The Bible says “God dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Timothy 6:16). This dream is still so vivid for me.
In my mid 20s I started doing yoga, which I later found out was a spiritually dangerous practice. I was so involved; I even considered becoming a yoga teacher. At that time a friend of mine and I visited an evangelical church in Los Angeles, and we were told we shouldn’t do yoga. Their specific words were “yoga opens the devil’s door.” My friend and I didn’t listen. We even laughed about what they said. We thought they were old fashioned and narrow-minded. It was many years later when my eyes were opened. Yoga is not just a harmless physical exercise. The demonic realm is real. Practicing yoga opens the door for evil forces to enter the body.*
The event that totally changed my life happened in December 2012. One evening around 7 p.m., while my husband was in the living room, I went to the bedroom and started reading my Bible. As I read, suddenly I heard the audible voice of God. I was stunned. His voice was like a thunderstorm, supernatural and very powerful. God told me: “This is what I want you to do: sit and read the Bible! What happened to your foot four years ago happened because you were going the wrong way. And, never do yoga again, because yoga opens the devil’s door!” (I’d injured my foot four years prior.) The Lord God spoke to me like a caring parent – firm and commanding. His voice was like that in my dream years before, but this time, I was hearing it, and I was awake. I sat there completely still, and I was afraid to move. I never expected anything like this would happen to me. I’m not sure how long I sat in the bedroom trying to process what had happened, but eventually I joined my husband in the living room without saying a word about my experience.
It was at least six months after this event, before I was able to share anything about it with anyone. As you can imagine, I worried about what people would think. Even though my family and friends knew that I was a normal and very stable person, a supernatural event like this one would be very hard to believe.
I started reading the Bible regularly.
And I quit doing yoga.
Over the years I’ve experienced several supernatural events, each of which draw me closer to God and fill me with His love through Jesus.
One day as I was home alone and thinking about my past and the many mistakes I had made in my life, I got down on my knees and told God that I was sorry. Somehow memories of sins past were brought into focus at this moment. I began to confess my many mistakes and I forgave myself and other people. I don’t know how long the whole experience lasted, but in the end, I fell on the carpet exhausted. In an instant, I had the feeling as if something bad was being physically removed from my heart. Then I felt an unspeakable joy. Since then, I have had no fears. I had never imagined such inner peace. I had a peace that surpassed my understanding. I was free. I was saved by the grace of Yeshua Messiah. For the first time in my life I realized the Holy Spirit was a Person. Before I thought He was a dove, or the wind, or the sixth sense we know as intuition. I was so wrong. The Holy Spirit is the third divine person of the “Triune God”.
Another experience happed when my husband and I went on vacation to Cayman Islands. One day my husband and I were relaxing in our hotel room. While my husband watched TV, I decided to take a nap. I closed my eyes and it was as if I could see a super bright, brilliant light coming out of my heart almost streaking down my arms. As I felt this indescribable love I realized the light was Jesus.
I stretched my arms trying to hug the light. I said with joy: “Jesus!” The moment I heard my own voice, I realized I was not asleep, and I remembered that my husband was in the same room with me. I immediately opened my eyes and saw that my husband was staring at me. My arms were still together in a position as if I was trying to hug someone. In the Bible Yeshua says: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). I am so thankful to the Lord Yeshua for everything He has done for me! His love for us is beyond comprehension. God loves us all!
I continue to have other experiences and dreams which all are based in Scripture.
Since my salvation we have attended several churches, moved to the UK and now are living in San Diego, CA where I am a member of Messianic Congregation Kehilat Ariel.
Amen! Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power,
and might be unto our God, forever and ever! Amen! (Revelation 7:12)
* There is a lot of information online exposing the spiritual dangers of doing yoga. A good resource is a documentary film “Yoga Uncoiled,” produced by video-journalist Caryl Matrisciana, a well-known expert on ancient and modern world religions, contemporary cults, paganism and the occult.
Learning and growing
I have had a growing heart to learn and serve in a ministry that will help Christians know more about their spiritual roots as well as reach out to Jewish people to help them know and feel the love of Jesus Christ and God’s desire to have a relationship with all of His creation.
I grew up in traditional church and years ago I could start seeing the correlation between the altar set up and the Temple–between candles (lampstands), table for Communion (table of showbread), etc. As a teenager I attended Young Life—a Christian outreach for High School students—and invited Christ into my heart. Since then I have hungered to know how Jesus walked, lived, and worshiped. About 12 years ago the church we attended held an instructional Seder right before Good Friday and I was captured. Since then I have wanted to learn all I can about the Jewish faith and the people of Israel. I fully believe for myself that I need to know more about the different theologies and customs of Israel, and her people, so I can help bridge gaps, share my knowledge with Christians and support Israel as a nation.
I finally got the opportunity to go to Western Seminary and took the class touring Israel and was even more captured. I enjoyed spending time with the Israeli children who loved my name 🙂 My spiritual heart is in Israel and Jerusalem. I pray for the church to support Israel and hunger to learn more about her spiritual roots. I pray for Israel and her people every day—to be surrounded by peace and God’s love.
My husband and I are currently are enjoying a Torah Study led by one of my Western professors (who also helped nurture and feed my Messianic hunger). As we began to study the Torah we quickly learned that this is not a short Bible study. We are learning that our study will take many years to begin to understand all of the depth of knowledge and love that Torah has within its pages. Our study group is learning the differences between following Torah as Christ did (being Biblically Jewish) and being culturally Jewish. We are learning how to focus more and more on our relationship with God and Yeshua and how to bring how whole hearts to Him—He in turn opens His heart to us in love.
I am here to serve the ministry in any way I can. I have the time and would like to put my MDiv to use as God leads in reaching out to bridge the gap between the Christian and Jewish people.
A hunger to read the Bible
I had never heard the gospel before 2011; I just lived in my own world, and I felt that was good. But sometimes there was a strange feeling inside my heart that somebody was always watching me, especially when I was doing something bad or wrong. Because whenever I did something wrong I felt regretful or ashamed. Then a few days later I would learn a lesson. So I thought maybe there is a God in heaven. But who knows?
When I entered in the Northeastern University as a freshman everything around me was new. As an ambitious young boy I thought it was time to fight for my bright future. I became really busy with all kinds of school activities. I was the monitor of my class and the leader of a Chinese Kung Fu Club. I was so proud of myself at times thinking that I could do everything by myself. I didn’t need others’ help, much less from a so-called “God.” Of course I didn’t think much about God then, because I was too busy.
However God never forgot me. Gradually HE began to show himself to me. The first thing I remember very clearly was a book that had been put on my desk in my dormitory. That day when I returned to my dormitory with my roommates, we each found a book on our desks. We definitely had no idea who sent these books and how he got into our dormitory. But that was not important. After all, we lost nothing. The important thing was that the book told something about God. Actually, it was a little ridiculous, so my roommates just threw them into the trashcan. However, I put it away to read it later, maybe more carefully.
A month later a fellow student came to me and asked if I had read Bible. I said no, but I also told him I wanted to know more about it. I knew so many people in the world loved reading this book that at least I’d like to follow this fashion. He invited me to attend their fellowship. “No problem” I responded. I offered my telephone number and told him to contact me when they hold a party and he did do so. Unfortunately, I was always busy doing something every time he called. So I missed many opportunities to know God. What a pity!
Soon we began to prepare for the final test. One day when I was reviewing my notes in a classroom, one of my classmates came into the same room. Her name is Joanna. She is a very talented girl but she seemed to have no interest in any school activity. I asked her to help me with my revision, and after that we went to have dinner together. Just as I was going to eat the delicious food, she closed her eyes and said something I didn’t hear clearly. I was so curious that I asked her what she was doing. She said she was thanking God for the delicious food. Then I laughed, and asked her “You mean you are talking to God?” She said, “Yes!” I laughed again “Are you kidding me? How can you possibly talk to God? By the way, how do you know there is a God?” Then she began to explain a lot of amazing things to me which made me see a new world I had never heard of. Finally she asked me whether I was willing to believe God. Of course I didn’t, I still had many questions and couldn’t given me any answers. I needed time to think about them.
A few days later the winter holiday arrived, and suddenly I lost two grandpas! One was my father’s father, and the other one was my mother’s father. The whole family was busy dealing with all kinds of things and none of us were happy.
I began to think about life. Life is so fragile, loved ones may disappear at any time before you notice. None of us can know what will happen tomorrow, so what should we do today to make our life meaningful? And what’s the meaning of life? I believe us human beings are definitely not just a dust in the universe, but a special creature with some responsibility upon us, so who are we? I didn’t know then.
Before long the new semester started. I was busy and soon forgot all those questions and being so sad. I didn’t think much about God things any longer. But then one day I became so eager to know more about Bible that I bought a golden Bible on the Internet. The interesting thing was that I became so interested in those stories in the Bible and I even read them in class. My passion for the Bible attracted Joanna, who had shared something about God last semester. She gave me a video in which the famous pastor Zhiming Yuan was preaching.
In the beginning I thought the preaching was boring and had nothing to do with me, so I wanted to turn it off. But an idea occurred to me that we should do things from the beginning until the end. Therefore I finished watching the video. At the end of the video the pastor called on all the people to receive Jesus as their own Savior and I did the prayer to accept Jesus into my heart.
To be honest, I didn’t know much about Jesus, but what he preached convinced me and made me aware that Jesus is the truth that I can follow.
In the following days I felt so peaceful in my heart and often I didn’t know why I was smiling.
It was such a new experience that I was curious. Of course I suspected that maybe it was Jesus, but I wanted to know more for sure.
I began to spend more time reading the Bible, praying and serving God in the church and fellowship. Little by little, God became more and more real to me. On August 3rd, 2011, I was baptized.
That night I had an experience that really left a deep impression on me.
A pastor from Ireland organized a special meeting, in which every one of us were asked to confess our sins to God and forgive each other. Then he invited the Holy Spirit to touch us. Soon almost every one of us began to speak in tongues, and many people began to cry. I didn’t cry, but laughed. About one hour later, all of us were very happy. We sang praise songs together, jumping and clapping. Wow, What a wonderful scene it was! From that moment on, I knew God really exists. God is love, and HE is willing to dwell inside us and be our Lord.
I have followed Jesus for about 5 years. When I look back on those days when we first started walking side by side, I just can’t help thanking Him. So many times, I felt very lonely and helpless, all I could do was to cry to him and beg for his mercy on me. And every time he would come to me and sit a while with me. It is Jesus who raises me up, it is Jesus who comforts my soul, and it was Jesus who stands by my side every time I pray in his name.
Jesus is my Savior, my Helper, my Teacher and my Lord! Because of him, I know the truth. Because of him, I am full of love every day. And because of him, I am reminded that “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
I really hope that more and more people can know the truth of God, as the saying goes “May they who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.”! (Judges 5:31)
It’s True….Isn’t It?
When people ask me ‘when did you discover religion?’ (as they describe it here in the UK) I am always at a loss because the only way I can describe my experience with any truth is to say ‘it discovered me’.
I grew up between Ireland, France and Canada without any ‘church’ background remotely. My godfather was a leading astrologer and my family were as a rule interested only in New Age spirituality if anything.
In the summer in 1996 when I was a 13-year- old schoolboy, my Grandmother took a cottage by the Welsh coast and one sunlit June afternoon I discovered a New Testament in the bookcase. I decided to write an impromptu short story about the crucifixion, seen from the perspective of an onlooking Roman Centurion. I had, at best, sketchy knowledge of the ‘legend’ and was drawn to the story from a purely fictional point of view.
I sat in the armchair meditating on the words with imagery flashing through my mind and suddenly the astonishing happened, I burst into tears and my heart began to beat a hundred miles an hour while these invisible arms wrapped themselves around me.
I stood up trembling and walked into my Grandmother’s room where she was napping. Sittting on the edge of her bed I looked at her through tear-filled eyes and said “it’s true isn’t it?”. She without even questioning responded “yes, it is”. There and then I prayed my very first prayer, welcoming Jesus into my heart.
On 21st July, a month later, I was baptized in the sea. Surrounded by other teenagers, I spoke out the words of Paul in Ephesians 3:18-20: ” And I pray that you will all know what is the length and breadth and height and depth of the Love of Christ which surpasses knowledge that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God Himself”.
My whole life changed. I enrolled into a boarding school with a strong faith system travelling around North America with a strings group and speaking to youth in various churches.
Sadly, during my university days in Paris, France I came to the conclusion that I wanted to “explore” what the world had to offer and that there was no room for God in my life anymore. My twenties were a wilderness, filled with adventure, travel and wonderful friends but spiritually I was empty and disinterested.
One balmy summer’s evening when I was 27, after a night’s partying, I was walking through London’s Notting Hill when I heard the sound of a choir singing from the open doors of a famous church. For some reason, I walked in and stood at the back, feeling stirred by the old familiar sounds of the music. I opened my mouth and said one word “Jesus”. Suddenly the very same arms I felt when I was 13 wrapped themselves around me, jolts of electricity ran through my body and tears of joy, wonder and regret coursed down my cheeks.
The feeling of homecoming was overwhelming and beautiful. I went home and opening my old faded Bible, I saw in my schoolboy writing that it was the exact same date I had been baptized 14 years earlier. I knew then that He would never let me go again.
That was five years ago and every day as I open my eyes I feel His gentle Spirit in and around me, an everlasting covenant has been made. I am a child of my Creator and will be until my last breath. I have been drawn to Israel twice so far, each time digging deep into a well of new wisdom and revelation, spending my 30th birthday praying at Jerusalem’s Western Wall and also having the privelege of baptizing a new believer at Ein Gedi with Joan.
I know as a deep and sure truth, that He has planted within me, that Israel and its people is who His Heart beats for and I can only humbly join the song of Love and Redemption He sings over the land.
This is my inheritance as His son.
Learning to Trust!
My story begins the year I started studying abroad. In 2010, I dropped out of a Korean high school and started my high school education in USA.
That I was leaving home and beginning a new life didn’t really even “hit me” for many reasons.
One of the main reasons was that our family was not rich and actually could not afford the tuitions I had to pay for the school in the States. But God was intervening in my life. I begged my mom so hard that I needed to go to the States for my future and that I needed a fresh start.
My mom was so reluctant about me going to study abroad because of money. She was also concerned for my security as she could no longer take care of me physically. We were not even Christians at the time but I am sure God changed my mom’s heart and she finally told me that she would support me. Since then, God always helped my family financially but it was not always easy.
I spent 3 years in the States during my high school years. I did my sophomore year in Atlanta and then moved to North Carolina for my junior and senior years. The school coordinator thought it would be better because it had a lower tuition but the same academic level, but God had a different reason. I became a Christian through my North Carolina host family. I am so thankful God put me into the Morrison’s family so that I would know Him.
The Morrisons are my second family; I cannot imagine life without them. They taught me that life is not all about money, education, and self, that Jesus is the Savior of our lives. They literally changed my whole perspective. Thanks to them, I went on a mission trip to Honduras, was able to serve others at Church and in my community, and was no longer the person I was used to be. I tried to plan, fix, and control everything on my own based on my own strength. But now, I realize and know that Jesus has already planned out everything for me so I trust Him in every situation or circumstance.
Upon graduation God didn’t let me to stay in the States; all my college applications were rejected. I did my very best to remain there but I could not beat God. I finally gave up and told God that He could guide my life so that I’d be in the place where He wants me to be. Of course, there was uncertainty and I was nervous what was going to happen in my life but at the same time was so relaxed and felt so good.
After several weeks when I decided to go back to Korea for college, God started working. He opened up the place for me in China with a full scholarship!!!!! I was so happy and yet nervous because I was going to a country I had never been to. Also, I was afraid because I was told that churches were persecuted as well as Christians. But I knew China was the place where God prepared for me to stay and I would be just fine as long as He is with me!
As you probably know the life situation, or living standard, was quite different in China. It was hard for me. Many times I questioned God, “Why did You put me here? When will you get me out of this place?”
He never answered my questions directly, but during those days in China God changed me completely. Now I know His answer was to form me into a better Christian.
By the time that I had a love for China and realized His purpose, He gave me OK sign to leave!!! A door was open in the UK. I was so thankful!!!!!
God has never left me and has always been faithful! I got to know so many great friends in China. I met Leslie over there in Womendejia, which is like a Chinese Bible study for Chinese students. Some of my Christians friends and I started to run Bible study every Saturday called, the Refreshing Tree and it is still meeting every Saturday. Even some of the people who have left the university continue to come.
To be honest, I was very pretentious and arrogant before I was moved to China. I mean I was in the States and had a great host family living on the lake. But through Womendejia and the Refreshing Tree, God taught me how to be humble and to be a person who can help and support for the God’s Kingdom!
On my last day in China, I had the opportunity to share my story in Womendejia and I completely broke down and wept for a few minutes before speaking through tears and sharing my experience of life at SWUFE, the university in China I was in. God had transformed me……….
So here I am now, in England, starting another adventure with God. I have no idea what’s going to happen but I know He will guide me through 🙂
Due to security reasons, several of our translators must remain anonymous. Thank you for praying for all of our translators!
Encouraging children to pray for Israel
My wife, Diane, and I have been married for 34-1/2 years. We both became Christians in college in 1979 when a fellow student started a Bible study near campus. We started dating and were married 2 years later. We got involved in church right away and have been involved in one-way or another ever since.
God has blessed our marriage in many ways, but 3 daughters have been our biggest blessing. They are all out of the house now and following their faith, which they found at an early age.
We met Joan in 1998 and since then have prayed for the people of Israel through Grace Community Church (Madera, CA).
Diane and I both love and pray for Israel. We believe that as more people pray the God’s promises through the daily posts of LTP His word will bring the message of hope and life to the chosen people of God. Being a schoolteacher I want to see the younger generation pray for Israel.
I want to live!
I`m Jihye Roh (Jubilee).
My parents are Christian so I was born into a Christian home and grew up in Presbyterian Church with ‘conservative ‘ perspective.
But as I grew up I realized that I wans’t a Christian, I just attended church service as a family tradition.
When I was 17, I was about to commit suicide. I was in a subway station waiting for a train to come so I could jump in front of the running subway.
But just then my dad called me and he said, “Do you know why God created dust? Without dust we will die because of ozone. God created everything with their own purpose to exist even dust. Then, you must think about why God created you and said ‘it was very good’.”
Because of that call, I started to agree that God really existed and I had lived to find out the reason I created.
When I was 21, I went on a mission trip to Ghana, Africa where I helped to set up kindergarten curriculums for 4 months. During that time, everyday, at least once a day, someone came to me and said “Jihye, you are so adorable. You are so bright girl. God loves you so much”. The time in Africa slowly changed me to start loving others with His love.
I think that God sent me there to restore my self-esteem through people.
When I was 24 I went to Jerusalem to teach art to Ethiopian Jewish kids. I thought that I could do something for God. But through this trip God delivered me from spirit of suicide with which I’ve struggled so much since 15 years old. Even though I went on many mission trips, I couldn’t break through the spirit. But one day God healed me perfectly.
And that experience made my life fully turn to Jesus.
After God healed me, He gave me new identity in Him through new job.
Last year I went to the States and met an American woman in Iowa. She is a strong intercessor and prophetic painter. Having had a very conservative childhood I didn’t know much about the Holy Spirit. I told her that I had seen a tree in a vision and really wanted to draw it.
Then she and her team stood up and came to me and said, “We believe the Lord wants to give you a special gift so that you will flow in the Holy Spirit. As you pray you will see colors and movements to paint.”
The day after that, during the Sunday service, all of a sudden I saw something like big green waves filling up the sanctuary. And after that God keep showing me what to draw.
I know that God has given me a special gift, it’s like my painting is intercessory prayer. He has given me the gift of discernment about people groups, nations and issues so that I can pray and paint.
As I pray, He teaches me how to paint, what brush to use, and even what color to use.
I can`t draw without the Presence of God. And I am always praying for Bible references for the pictures. I believe that God says to the person who gets a picture through Words, and He will let them know how He loves them as He did to me.
Looking back I realized that for my whole life I totally misunderstood God. I never could believe that He had a good plan for me, that He loved me and wanted to have a relationship with me. Most of all I could believe that He would choose me among so many people in the world. I thought, “If God is good, why does He allow others to bully me? Why does He allow me to want to commit suicide? Why did He allow my close friends die?”
But I was wrong. He was always there, and waited for me such a long time to have relationship with me.
Now I know and believe He decided to love me before the world created and He will love me more than anyone forever and ever.
So I decided to follow His way for His glory, and help people to come closer to Jesus and bring them to Jesus Christ for King`s glory.
German - Retired
I am married, have three children and five grandchildren. I work at a kindergarten with the little ones (1-3 years). I found YHWH at the age of 16, but it was more than 30 years later that He turned my life upside down. While on my first visit to Israel 2008 that I saw how much non-biblical traditions had influenced what the world (and the Jewish people) know of Christianity. Somehow the purity and simplicity of Yeshua’s message got lost.
That led me on a search of His Word, from Genesis to Revelation.
I found myself turning to the “ancient paths”, not in my faith in the atonement of Yeshua, but in my expression of my faith.
Keeping a biblically kosher home and celebrating Yeshua through the feasts of the Lord has been a real blessing to me for a variety of reasons. Many of my friends and family do not understand and sometimes I feel very alone. I recognize that we all have different expressions of worship, but as long as we keep Yeshua central, we will find unity at the Cross.
From the very beginning of living with Him I felt a great love for Israel, and when I was there for the first time, I also felt in love with His land.
So I am glad to help people pray for His land and His people!
French Translator (Retired)
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.
The Whole Family is Involved My name is Sergio, I am the husband of Ana Paula and parents of Paul Melquiades*. We are senior pastors of the Ministry House of Prayer in Pelotas, Brazil.
Our family and church have a deep love for Israel and know that the Lord has showered his blessings to all peoples through Israel.
We love Jesus and those who do His Work.
Hugs! Family Guimarães
Portuguese Translation (Retired)
Hi, I’m Iana, I’m from Brazil.
I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior at age 15, in 2003 when I was depressed because of my parents’ divorce. They were separated since 1996, peacefully; but to make it official all the peace was gone. There was a point I constantly thought of committing suicide, I could not see the point of life anymore. Living with my father, we moved to a neighbor city and I started High School there.
In this new school, a classmate invited me for dinner at her friend’s with a group; I didn’t know it was a Christian group. The following week she invited me again for the group and she explained to me it was a Bible study group that sometimes had dinner together. At the end of the Bible study she shared the GOOD NEWS with me and I hesitated: how could such a weak person follow Jesus Christ? After hesitating, I said: “I want to follow Him, but I don’t know if I am capable of it.” She gave me a wide smile and said: “What matters is that you want it, let’s pray.”
After praying I didn’t feel anything special but when I arrived home that evening I felt something I had never felt before – I felt my heart fulfilled as if it were empty before. I laid on my bed and I stared the ceiling for about 20 minutes trying to figure out what was happening with no TV neither radio on. It was a marvelous feeling!
My dark thoughts vanished and I found myself seeking sermons on TV. I felt the desire to know the Bible, God gave a meaning to my life and reasons to smile. I got involved with church and I have been on this journey with Jesus. I am so thankful God takes care of me 24/7; I am happy nothing can separate me from HIS LOVE.
I’m into languages and I love doing translations. I’ve worked as an interpreter before for American missionaries in short-term mission trips in North Brazil several times and now I work as a full-time teacher in South Brazil. Sometimes my path seems confusing, but I trust the Lord is putting the pieces of the puzzle together and I am sure in His time a picture will be revealed.
Joanie and I were introduced by a dear friend via e-mail, it’s been a joy serving with this Ministry. I love being useful for God’s work!
Trusting the Lord
I grew up in small family, a single mom and two sisters in Korea. My dad died when I was 7 Years old. Sadly, I don’t have a happy memory with my dad except that he was in the bed because of his illness, or of my mom. I think my childhood was a kind of gloomy and lonely in a way under the circumstances. But I was happy in the Sunday school of the church. I enjoyed all kinds of activity such as singing in Choir, playing on Christmas Day, dancing in Worship service and even I loved the time of the bible quizzes and memorizing bible verses. As long as I remember, I was church girl that always stayed in the church. It molded me into good shape. Thank God!.
As I grew I struggled in the relationship with my mother. I didn’t like her, nor respected her. I knew what the Bible said but I could not do what it said. My conscience was bothered me but I couldn’t love her. Because of the guilty feeling, I stopped going church when I was in college and expected that I’d be happier with new freedom.
But I was not happy at all. It was worse. An inexpressible emptiness and confusion overwhelmed me. That empty feeling ruined my college life. I had neither desire nor passion for my life. Everything looked like worthless but a thought of deep down in my heart kept saying “You need to fight these feelings; don’t give up!” I looked for anything to hold. I started to learn Japanese. I think that’s what held me and kept me going.
But I was continually fighting that overwhelming empty feeling even as I worked as a tour guide and interpreter for Japanese tourists after graduated University. I kept asking but never found the answers to my questions, “Why do I live? What do I live for?” Gradually I got sick and finally had to quit the job.
My mother suggested that I visit my older sister who’s living in USA.
The first Sunday after I arrived in the USA, I went to the church where my sister and her family attended. I experienced a great relaxation and a peace that I’d never experienced before. I felt like I’d returned home from a long journey. One female group leader of the church invited me to the Bible study. Finally I found the answer – Jesus was the answer to all my questions. I promised myself that I’d never leave church and His fellowship again. Since then I’ve never had the empty feeling any longer.
Now I began to wonder what His plan was for my life.
Seven years later I met my husband. I had been praying if it was the time for me to go back to Korea, or to stay in USA. Or if I wanted to be married.
My husband-to-be came to the university from Japan to begin a PhD course. I met him on his first day at the university while I was visiting a friend who was in the same department! I saw my husband in the office with my friend. Three years later we married.
A man’s steps are of the Lord; How then can a man understand his own way? (Proverbs 20:24 NKJV)
My husband became a Christian tree years earlier than our marriage through a student next door of his dormitory. So when we married, my husband was deepened in the Bible. We served Japanese American United Church in NY.
We’re fully committed to the church. I joined the Sunday school and my husband led the Bible study in small group. It became to “man to man care”. Many Japanese young fellows became Christians through this care.
When I taught Sunday school, I found in myself that I love children and happy with them. Although I wanted my own baby for many years, we could not have our own child.
I had no chance to express to my husband that how desperately I want to have a baby. Because he was so busy for both of the school and the church, I decided to pour it out to the Lord God instead. My prayer started with reading 1John, a chapter by a chapter everyday. When I red the 1John 5:14-15,
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him”.
I bursted into tears for an hour and next day also emotional crying on same verses. When I started the prayer, I was afraid I might lose faith on the issue but He searched my concernment. He gave me perfect answer for my prayer.
I stopped praying for having a baby with peace of mind and trust in His plan whatever He has.
Our steps are of The Lord indeed!. How then can we understand our own way?
Unexpectedly my husband’s PhD dissertation took 10 years. In those 10 years, he spent most of his time for teaching bible and counseling people who were in serious trouble such as suicidal, drug involved, having a fair, etc. The Holy Spirit touched them and they accepted the Gospel and baptized.
One of them is now serving as a manga missionary to spread the Gospel through cartoons.
When he got the PhD, It was 2009, the United States confronted increasing unemployment. It seemed hard time to him for being an employed in America.
We started praying every morning in the church near by our flat.
Even though our goal was getting a job, unwillingly we prayed for different thing. We prayed separately, but each of us prayed for the Holy Spirit. We experienced the presence of God and received a private prayer language.
Our prayer continued to next year for an year and a half and then found ourselves on our way to India! During the prayer of every morning, The Spirit of God healed each of us, our brokenness, low self-esteem, with His love.
I mentioned above about my gloomy childhood, so was my husband’s life. We both were broken. Our father God had cared about us and when we’re in middle age, we met real father, our Heavenly Father.
We worked in the University in India for a year and nine months. The University is located suburban of New Delhi. My husband was teaching civil engineering and eight-month later I was hired for Chinese students as a esl teacher. We thought we going to live in India in rest of our lives.
Surprisingly one day we had to leave India and return to Japan without job. We were welcomed by Kelly, who was saved in New York and had dedicated her talent for spreading the Gospel into the world since then.
We have stayed with Kelly and her family. We were 24/7 with her, listening to her, praying with her, and gradually involved her ministry for a year, and have seen wonderful works of the Lord God.
At the same time, the Holy Spirit has worked for the staffs of Kelly’s ministry and for the church members including church leaders of Kelly’s local church that we’re attending as well.
They are healed and find their gifts, they also aware of working of the Spirit and praise the Lord.
The two pastors ( father & son ) of the church now admit that work of the Spirit for their church and believe God sent us for the church. The pastors have started teaching about The Holy Spirit to congregations in his sermon. ( They’re careful when they “Holy Spirit” out in public considering the atmosphere of the society. )
The pastor’s wife who had been diagnosed of “interpersonal phobia” several years ago. Through my husband’s counseling by the Spirit, she repented. She’s recovered completely and happy to work for the church.
We knew nothing but our steps were of The Lord.
We travelled to Japan without understanding our own way just trusting God’s leading. Its going to be more than a year without occupation, no income to live, but our father God gracefully provided us our daily bread and place to sleep through beloved people.
As yet, there is no job opening to my husband so far, he desperately sending his résumé over the world.
Of course it’s joyful to see the restoration among the people and we are grateful for being His instrument. But we have a question to The Lord, ‘until when…’
From Refugee to Daughter of the King.
I was born in post-WWII Germany in 1947 in a refugee camp to Holocaust surviving parents who were born in Poland. All my mother’s family were murdered by the Nazis, and all, except one brother who immigrated to Palestine before the war, were also killed in the Holocaust. After the war, homeless and without possessions, the Jewish Agency took them (separately, they didn’t know each other then) along with other displaced Jewish refugees to a refugee camp in Germany. My parents got married in the camp and there I was born in 1947.
Given a choice between going to America or Israel, that was soon to become a state, my parents chose to live in the Land of the Jews – no more persecution, no more wondering from place to place, no more holocaust – that was the refugees’ hope.
We were loaded up on one of those old boats filled with numerous other refugees, waiting at the Haifa port to be allowed entry into Israel. In May 1948, Israel gained her independence and we were allowed to make “Aliya” (immigrating to Israel).
We were given an Arab deserted house at an Arab ghost town near Lod called Ramla. Even with the hardships and daily survival battle of living in a new land, It was interesting growing up with the State of Israel.
I was a very outgoing, talented little girl, and excelled in almost everything; reading, drawing, dancing and singing. I wanted to be a ballerina at the age of 5, but didn’t get much encouragement from my parents, because we were a very poor family of six. One night (I was 8) we moved to the poor area of South Tel-Aviv without preparing us, kids for the move. I became despondent in the new place, often gazing at the window of the classroom – it took me a long time to adjust, I was no longer the center of attention and became very introverted and shy.
I liked to learn in school, especially reading and languish. I loved the Bible stories as literature and distant history of the nation I belonged to. However, I decided that the God of the Bible they believed in did not really exist.
However, I admired my forefathers’ wisdom and courage. I thought that the Jewish religion was the best, most decent and fair of all religions. Growing up in a poor family forced me to go to work right after elementary school, but because I wanted education I went to evening high school with the ambition to became a writer or journalist, but gave up that “dream” after two years of study, and settled for a career of Architectural drafting, after finishing a short course in technical school. I loved reading American novels, I imagined myself living there in luxury, so when my boyfriend invited me to come to America, I jumped on the first plane (my first time at the age of 19) and arrived in Los Angeles, California – I thought was “the Promised Land.”
I did not live happily ever after. I wasn’t happy, not in America, not in my marriage and not with myself. Actually, being happy became the primary goal in my life. I had everything, a big beautiful house with a swimming pool, a live-in maid to clean and help take care of our two little sweet children, money to buy whatever I wanted, an active social life, a Cadillac and trips to exotic places around the world, a dream life for anyone, but I wasn’t happy. I didn’t value myself and was dependent on people to validate me and my abilities. I turned to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with hunger and burning desire to know Him – I had to know if He existed – I had to know if He is the true God. I was seeking Him with all my heart, and did not let go until He showed me through a series of events that He was real. I knew they were not mere coincidental acts; God of the Bible is the true and living God.
I had many questions, and talked to Rabbis and experts in Judaism to find answers. They didn’t satisfy me, and deep inside I still felt the nagging push to find happiness – something was missing at the center of my being and I didn’t know what it was. Even though I had revelation of Him, I did not feel right with God.
Reading the Hebrew Bible was very difficult because of the biblical Hebrew language, and I often found myself frustrated, not understanding, especially the Prophets. Until one day I picked up an English Gideons Bible from a hotel room and took it home. My initial desire was to read an easier version to try to understand the Tanach better, but to my surprise there were more writings at the end of the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John…I knew instinctively that they were the New Testament books. I had never read them because I was taught they were the Christian books of the Gentiles, and that they were anti-Semitic. That Yeshu (I never knew His real name – Yeshua, which means Salvation), But when I started reading the first book – Matthew, from the very first few verses I was fascinated and surprised to find out how Jewish and Israeli it was. His genealogy – from the house of David, His parents – devoted Jews who believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, kept the Law of Mosses and celebrated all the Jewish holidays. Most of all, I was impressed with the character of Yeshua (Jesus), He wasn’t at all like I was thought. I sensed as if He spoke directly to me, and felt His love and acceptance. His honesty won my heart – He was strong yet gentle, loving and wise. But I couldn’t agree that He was the Son of God. Was He the long awaited Messiah of Israel or the “God of the Gentiles”?
The more I studied about Yeshua and the way to salvation, God was pulling my heart and also showing me I was a sinner, and that only thru His atonement in Yeshua I can become right with Him. – I started seeing myself the way God saw me – a sinner. All my “goodness and righteousness” were like “filthy rags in His sight” (Isaiah 64: 6). I saw everything I did to others from God’s perspective, that I was not as good as I thought I was. With this, I felt His great love and mercy; I wanted so much to be pleasing in His sight.
Believers in Yeshua started to come into my life and affirm what God was already showing me, and from hearing radio and television Christian programs I knew in my heart that Yeshua was the Messiah and savior of Israel and the world.
A few times I found myself on my knees, confessing my sins and asking Yeshua into my heart and save me. But the next day I would sink into despair and fear: “What have I done, I was probably hypnotized into becoming a Christian!” I spent many hours crying out to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, my God, to show me once and for all if Yeshua was truly the Jewish Messiah, His son – I will believe only Him and not any man. One day, while I was lamenting about it, I felt of sudden as sense of peace in my soul, quiet in my mind – all my thoughts and feeling came to a halt. A still small inner voice said: “Get up and open the Bible and where you open it you will have the answer.” I knew God was directing me and in much excitement and expectation I got up and opened the Bible with my eyes closed, and when I opened them they fell on His words from Isaiah 53: 5, 6, 8 … “He was wounded for our transgressions and was bruised for our sins…We all like sheep have gone astray each one to his own way, yet God laid on Him the iniquity of us all…stricken for the transgression of my people, says the Lord…”
At that momentI knew for sure that Yeshua died as a sacrifice from God, not just for me but also for God’s people Israel, my people. I knew for sure that Yeshua was my savior, and that I got the answer directly from my God. All doubts vanished, and I was able to feel Yeshua’s love enveloping me, reassuring me, and accepting me.
That was in 1984. Many years past, my life changed because I have changed from the inside. My faith life grew and developed. I have been through a lot, there were many ups and downs, there were difficulties and downfalls, and there were victories and achievements in my faith life and my earthly life. Yet through it all, I never doubted Yeshua’s love, He has filled me with His Spirit and given me peace and joy that are incomprehensible.
“In the world you’ll have tribulations” Yeshua said in the book of Yohanan (John) 16: 33, “but be of good cheer because I have overcome the world”. Yes, through faith in Yeshua I can truly say that I am happy, independent of circumstances or human beings.
Through Yeshua I grew in knowledge of God, I have turned away from my old sinful life, have repented and given Him my heart and life and in turn He has changed me in monumental ways.
In 1996 I returned to Israel and have been living in the Land ever since. Today I am experiencing God’s many blessings; a beautiful home full of love, peace, joy and happiness. God has blessed me with a Godly husband who loves Yeshua and loves me with a Godly love. All my needs are met and I lack no good thing. Above all, I have right standing relationship with my God, My Lord and Savior – I truly can say that I have never been happier in my life.
I Thank God everyday for His mercies and goodness. I pray that all of Israel will come to know and accept His Messiah Yeshua and experience His great blessings.
Leslie – Chinese Team
My grandma and my aunt were Christians when I was young. At that time, I would follow them to the church and read the Bible as a storybook, sometimes I even taught some elderly people to sing praise the Lord.
But after they both passed away during my junior high school, I didn’t have anyone to lead me in life with Jesus Christ. So I didn’t go to the church or read the Bible after that.
But God will not leave his little sheep outside of the sheepfold.
During my sophomore year in college, I was the vice-chairman of the English Drama Association of SWUFE; I wanted to invite some foreign friends to attend our activity. Brendan was the only foreign student and he was in my financial management class. A teammate gave me his phone number so I texted him if he had time for our activity.
He said he had one fellowship to attend that day so he couldn’t help. He told me it was a Christian meeting, so remembering my good experiences as a child, I decided to attend. So that Friday night I came to the fellowship “womendejia (our family)” with him!
That night was amazing. As soon as I went into that room, I was overwhelmed by a strong touch in my heart. And when we sang songs, I kept crying quietly without knowing why. And what’s more, when they were sharing their ideas about the verses of the Bible, I started to raise my hand time after time just because I couldn’t hold back my emotion to say it loud. And after all that, the sisters and brothers in our fellowship prayed for me to decide to follow Jesus. Then I burst into tears feeling that I had finally come home!
But the next year, in my third year I was confused and frustrated and even wanted to drift from our fellowship. Actually I hadn’t attended our fellowship for almost a month at that time. I thought maybe I would be an unbeliever again.
But once again God sent someone into my path. I met Mirco, a German exchange student. The Holy Spirit sent him right to me; he saw all the blessings around me. After that night, I was surprised that Mirco wanted to continue to chat about the Lord Jesus. Since then, I’ve had lots of help from him, as we’ve talked about my family, my reason to believe and why I felt confused and helpless. The timing was perfect. Mirco dragged me back from the edges of falling off the cliff. I believe there isn’t any coincidence when I met Mirco after Brendan. My dear Lord kept trying to take me home.
Sometimes it’s hard not to feel that I don’t deserve to be loved the way God loves me because I’m just a “normal person.” And yet God’s love is not “normal. ” I know that I am loved with the Father’s deep and unconditional love in Jesus.
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
I became a Christian in March 2009 as Jesus showed me the power of the supernatural world.
Before I was involved in every type of esoteric stuff (reiki, channeling,…).
I wasn’t sure if Jesus actually lived and certainly denied His deity. I ignored His claim: “I am the only way to the Father. Only through me you can come to God.” This phrase was against everything in what a esoteric, spiritually open person believes.
This group believes that there is an universal source that creates everything that exists. Everything is energy and god is that energy. Everything comes from that energy and everything goes back to it. But it is an unknown energy with no personal attitude and all religions are good and will lead to this energy (god).
That night in March 2009 I learned the truth. The Lord said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8.)
I really wanted to know the truth although I had created such a big picture of my own world view, I was sure that Jesus was not the answer. But that night I learned the truth.
I didn’t know that earlier that day, my Christian friend prayed that this night would be a night of revelation and decision; that all evil powers would be revealed.
That evening we went to a musical about Jesus and his life. But this program showed a different aspect of Jesus’ life – His power over the spiritual world. Actors who played demons went around the audience and whispered in the ears of people speaking lies. They were reminding people what happened to Judas as the demons whispered, “aaahhh yes, take the money, betray Him, tayke the money….”
I was really impressed that Christians knew about angels and demons. Of course I thought that the Christians didn’t understand the whole truth about the spiritual world.
The esoteric believer believes he has power over the spiritual realm of angels and demons.
I was wrong.
Once we got home after that musical, the guys asked me, “So Mirco, tell us to which god do you pray, because it cannot be to our God. We pray to Jesus but you do not.
They knew that I prayed to the “universal source…some unknown energy.”
I tried to answer them, but every time I wanted to say, “Come on guys, it’s all the same,” I was unable to speak.
It was like someone or something was holding my throat to avoid prevent me from speaking. I moved my lips and wanted to speak but nothing came out.
For the next 5-6 hours my friends helped me get free by proclaiming the mighty name of Jesus and by worshiping Him.
I recognized that Jesus is sovereign and has all authority over angels, demons and all supernatural and natural powers. The Bible and all the testimonies about Jesus are true.
It was a hard battle, but I surrendered my life to Jesus and went under his protection. Since then my life has so dramatically changed that I thank God for every day and for every blessing.
Lunchtime Prayer for Israel was started two years ago as a result of a weekly prayer meeting with several American friends. I made the comment, “America will never change until America changes its attitude towards Israel.”
One of the women asked, “How do we pray for Israel?” Her question surprised me as she always and only prays Scripture. “Pray just the way you always pray, pray the Word. Pray God’s promises to Israel.”
“What promises?” she asked in frustration.
That’s when I realized that if she didn’t know God’s promises to Israel, neither would many other Bible believing Christians. For the next few days I used Facebook to offer daily prayers for Israel using God’s promises. There was such a great response, we developed the website you are now on.
Lunchtime Prayer for Israel goes to countries I’ve never visited but I’m so grateful to God for each one of our prayer partners. Truly the word of the Lord is going forth from Jerusalem!
So you want to know a little about me?
I grew up in New Jersey in a Jewish home. While my family wasn’t “religious”, my parents considered themselves very Jewish. My dad was an atheist and mom an agnostic, but like my maternal grandmother, I knew God existed. I just didn’t know what I actually believed about Him.
In the last years of high school, I was very involved in a national Jewish youth group. There was a bit of spirituality but mostly it was about the boys. Then during my university years I began to attend various churches, but again more for social rather than for spiritual reasons. Finally I decided to get serious about being and living as a religious Jew.
“I learned to keep a kosher home (maintaining four sets of dishes) and studied the Jewish holidays.
But by the time I was 40 my life was a mess: a failed marriage, broken relationships, and various career changes. “I knew it was the bottom when I entered a hospital’s Mental Health Ward.” While there rage gave way to the pain I’d been stuffing for years.
One day as I was walking around the hospital I looked at the hills and remembered Psalm 121:
‘I lift up my eyes unto the hills, from where comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.’
‘He that keeps Israel never slumbers or sleeps’
I shook my fist at God and challenged, “Well, I’m Israel, and I’m here….where are You?”
Of course God was there and heard me. I imagine Him rolling up His sleeves and smiling, “It’s about time!”
Within a year He sent a messenger, dressed in a three-piece business suit to tell me about Jesus. When I saw a reenactment of the crucifixion and heard the words of Isaiah 53, I was astounded. All I could think, “That Jesus, not the one I saw hanging on a cross, but THAT Jesus was rejected, abandoned and betrayed. He understands. And He did all that for me!”
I was overwhelmed. Suddenly the Jewish holidays of Passover and Yom Kippur made sense. Jesus was the fulfillment of everything Jewish.
On April 20, 1986, two days before my 40th birthday I gave my heart, future, my life to Jesus. Three months later I was baptized and four years later graduated from Western Seminary with a MA in Biblical counseling. Admittedly I wasn’t and am not a very good counselor…my response to people’s issues is, “Just turn to Jesus!”
I haven’t been able to keep quiet since. I’ve been to 20 countries and still traveling telling people of God’s holiness and love available by faith in Jesus.
“Both the Jewish people and the Church need to see Jesus from the perspective of the Old Testament, especially through the feasts and celebrations of the Lord. We tend to forget that Jesus came to and through the Jewish people.”
“As a believer and as a Jew, God’s call upon me is clear: fill the earth with the knowledge of His glory – Jesus the Messiah.”
I love proclaiming the Gospel in many forms especially visiting churches to facilitate a Passover celebration. When I have the time I’ve written some books on the feasts of the Lord:
Celebrate Jesus! The Christian Perspective of the Feasts of the Lord
Celebrate God’s Love: Christmas/Hanukkah, Fact and Fiction