​Israel Honeymoon Over

August 15 2018

In my last blog, I explained how Israel changed my life … how excited we were when we first arrived in Israel. But the excitement evaporated in just a few days.

Why? Millions of people visit Israel every year, and they return home with their lives forever changed … how could I say that the excitement was gone so soon? Well, those who visit Israel, they return home … but we stayed. Don’t get me wrong, I love living here, but as all cross-cultural workers experience when moving to a new country, we faced challenges. We didn’t know the language, the customs were strange, and so many things were different. We began to feel frustrated. I had thought because I knew English that learning Hebrew would come easily … my mistake. Also, soon after we arrived, we needed to find a house because the hospitality center didn’t give us much time to live there. Our realtor was a Russian woman. Wait, what? I don’t speak Russian, and she didn’t speak any English. Only by God’s grace were we able to find a place that we could afford and was ok to live.

During the first year, we also attended classes called “Ulpan” every morning to learn Hebrew. In the beginning, it was good, but as time went on, I felt uncomfortable not having a job, and the course wasn’t good.

We also had to buy a car. We purchased a 1982 French car that looked like a big white refrigerator driving down in the street. And soon, we realized that open windows weren’t sufficient circulation for the Israel heat.

But we were happy with the new congregation. But even there, the language was a barrier. Yet, when you worship with people of the same faith, you are happy … that is until I met a big guy that sitting beside me. As we started to talk (in English), he asked my name, and I asked his. His name was Harry. Soon, my mind started to find any Jewish guy named Harry. I couldn’t. He then told me that he was German. When I heard that I became paralyzed. Why would God send me to Israel to meet a German? Was this a joke? After all, that happened in WWII? I must admit that I had a hard heart toward Germans at that time.

Long story short, Harry become my best friend. He found me my first real job in Israel. And, praise God, he helped me find a better car!

Shortly thereafter, Harry requested that I visit Germany to share about my life and ministry. I said, “What?!” I didn’t want to go. Regardless, Batel and I soon found ourselves flying to Germany. Our month there was a time not only of sharing but of deep healing for my heart. On many occasions after the services, I had older people approach me, offering their hands and words of apology.

But the deepest healing came a week before our return to Israel. We visited a concentration camp in the north of Germany called Bergen-Belsen. This is where Anne Frank died after being sent there from Auschwitz. It was a very sad time for me and Batel to relive this history.

Then, we drove to Bergen (three miles from the camp) to visit a fellow believer. When we arrived, they served us coffee and shared about their history. “This house,” they said, “has been in our family for more than 120 years.” I paused in thought, thinking about the time of war, 70 years before, realizing that their family had lived in the midst of the war. When I asked about the war, a silence filled the house. We all felt uncomfortable. But I insisted, and the man said that his father had been a Nazi and that I was the first Jewish person (with my wife) to enter his house. Then, we all started to cry, like we cried as children. After recovering my breath, I said, “What your father did is not your fault. He’d never receive me in his house, but you opened your door, and in Jesus, we are the same.” Our tears were tears of healing for us both.

By Moshe, OMS worker in Israel

Tags: israel, outreach ministry, reaching jews, forgiveness, wwii,

Israel Can Change Your Life

August 7 2018

“Moshe, can I come to study the Tanach (Old Testament) with you?” This was the phone call that I received from Alex, a person that I had met just once before.

Before I share if I met with Alex, let me back up and share a bit of our story first.

My grandfather escaped WWII from Germany and my grandmother from Poland. They came to Argentina and later moved to Brazil, where I was born. Being a Jew, I always wanted to come to Israel, but when I was ready to move to the Holy Land, I met my wife (We met in the Bible School, and when I saw that we were the only Jews there, I decided it was best that we get married!). So, 20 years later, and with four kids, moved to Israel 11 years ago.

When we first came to Israel, there was no “calling” involved. We just felt we wanted to return to the land that he had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I had been in ministry for 10 years previous to this and was in a “desert” period, which every good Jew should be in the desert, like Moses and Jesus.

The first person that helped me find a job was a German man. I thought that God was kidding because not so long ago, my grandparents escaped Europe because of the Germans. God knew that I needed to learn about forgiveness, and Harry became one of my best friends.

With our new life in Israel came the need to learn Hebrew and adapt to a new culture. After we found a Messianic congregation (a Christian church with Jewish flavor), our spiritual gifts start to flourish in this new culture. After five years of serving in that congregation, God called me (just like he did with Moses) and told me to start a new Messianic congregation. After praying and talking with my wife, she called me “mishuga,” or crazy in Yiddish, because she wondered how we could start a work in Hebrew as new immigrants. But we moved forward in obedience.

This is when Alex comes into the picture. He called to ask if he could study the Bible with me because he heard that I would be starting a congregation. Long story short, he and his immediate family started attending from the beginning of Beit Avi (My Father’s House), as well as the mother and grandmother of his wife and his parents. After a year of study, Alex came to the knowledge of Jesus as the Messiah.

God had a ministry for me and my family. Israel has changed our lives!

Tags: israel outreach, outreach to jews, jewish ministry,

​A Call to Israel

August 11 2016

Since he was young, Moshe* felt God calling him to go to Israel. This calling would lead him to begin a growing ministry there that he began with One Mission Society (OMS).

Though he grew up in South America, Moshe had ties to Israel through his family’s Jewish heritage. During World War II, his grandfather, a Jew, escaped from Europe to South America. Moshe is the second generation of Messianic-Jewish believers in his family. He was raised in a Messianic-Jewish household where he believed in Yeshua, God’s Son, but still had Jewish ties. Growing up, he did not practice Judaism, but he continued to claim his “Jewishness” as he describes it, a claim to the culture as part of himself.

This tie to his Jewishness developed a desire and a call in him to journey to Israel. After Moshe got married and had four kids, his family moved to Israel in 2007, using the Law of Return, which states that every Jew has a right to return to the Holy Land.

Once Moshe and his family got settled, he took a job selling solar-powered devices that contained God’s Word inside of them, which led him to attempt to sell them to OMS in 2008.

Shortly after this first encounter with OMS, economic problems hit Israel. The company Moshe had worked for laid him off, but immediately after that, OMS proposed a new opportunity. After further conversations, Moshe began working with OMS in ministry.

Moshe is not only the sole worker but also the director of the OMS Israel field since 2009. Part of his work is leading a house congregation that he started three and a half years ago. The congregation has grown to more than 20 people, mainly immigrants from countries all over the world. Moshe believes the best way to reach these people is through relationships and evangelism.

Moshe said that Israel is important because of God’s covenant with them. This nation is where everything started, the source from where the world was given God’s truth. It is like using valuable recipes from your grandmother. When we bring the message of Yeshua back to Israel, it’s like returning all those recipes back to your grandmother’s family.

Bringing God’s message of love and his Son back to Israel is a difficult task. But it is about meeting people where they are, Moshe said. When he talks with people, he talks about Yeshua starting in Genesis, not Matthew or Romans. He can explain from there why he believes in Yeshua and why it makes sense to him. Moshe said that God gives him good conversations with people.

“When you act as just a messenger, you give room to the Holy Spirit,” he added.

The entire body of believers in Israel is no more than 20,000, Moshe said. But the numbers are increasing across the country. As the ministry progresses, Moshe wants to keep reaching out to the Jewish community.

God has been working in Israel in the hearts of his people through Moshe’s ministry. One of the stories Moshe shared about God working in Israel happened when he announced that he was starting a new congregation. Eventually, the original congregation he was with accepted his decision but still didn’t agree. Moshe stayed with them until the end of the year and then he left to begin his ministry. However, he questioned if he was moving too fast.

In November 2012, he received a call from someone who wanted to know more about his new congregation. This man was not a believer, but he wanted to know more about God. Moshe discipled him for one year. Throughout this time, the man looked like he was a believer but he still had not made a decision.

During the man’s one year discipleship, his wife went into labor. As the man was with his wife, a big wind blew their door open. The man closed the door. But the wind blew it open two more times. In her labor, the wife said that is was the Lord’s Spirit coming to say that Yeshua was the Son of God. After that, she gave birth to a healthy daughter. Two months later, the man’s wife told Moshe that she accepted Yeshua as her Savior. Her husband was still unsure, but he finally agreed as well. Moshe baptized the couple as new believers.

Stories like this are happening in Israel as God moves across the nation. Please pray for Moshe and his ministry, especially as he seeks mature believers to help with the home congregation. He also hopes to start congregation multiplication and prays that God will lead him and his congregation in the right direction in regard to that vision. Finally, Moshe prays that his growing home congregation can figure out if they need to find a new place to hold meetings and services.

“The Jewish people have a call to be a light to the nations,” Moshe said. His prayer is that they can rediscover that call and that God will work in their lives.

*Last name withheld

By Jess Mitchell, OMS Summer Communications Intern

Tags: israel, jews, ministry, calling, congregations, yeshua,