How it All Began

A journalistic series on the history of Maoz Israel Ministries

The Real Life Story of Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
(Part 1)

How it All Began

I was 19 years old when I first came face to face with the massive stones of the Wailing Wall. I had come on a tour with my parents and several other well-known ministers. One of these ministers who was known for his boldness turned to the wall and began to pray. “No, no, no!” the local guide whispered in panic. They’ll arrest us if you pray.”

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How it All Began (Part 2)

When Ari Met Shira

Ari acted in about 100 films and TV shows, like C.H.I.P.S., Hawaii Five-0, and the original Wonder Woman series. He played football in the NFL, competed in international track and field, and became a champion heavyweight boxer. But he left it all behind to pursue a radically different calling in Israel.

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How it All Began (Part 3)

The First Congregation

Ari and Shira’s congregation was not the first congregation planted in Israel, but it was the first of its kind—unapologetically geared towards building a Spirit-filled Hebrew-speaking community of Israelis.

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How it All Began (Part 4)

The War, the Immigrants and the Training Center

“Ayal! Wake up!” My pleading and shaking did nothing to stir him until the first explosion hit. Instantly, Ayal bolted from his bed and ran to Shani’s room—as it was our designated “safe room”—and threw on his protective gas mask and suit. Then the six of us—plus the family dog—sat in the bedroom waiting for the promised instructions that would come on radio and TV if we were attacked.

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How it All Began (Part 5)

Israel’s Second Underground Railroad

This resistance gave birth to a sort of “underground railroad” of boats landing in the dead of night near the seashores and overland treks through mountain ranges or deserts.

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How it All Began (Part 6)

The Major and the Millionaire

By divine intervention, a Christian Millionaire and a Lebanese military commander became friends and planted two powerful spiritual weapons that have brought the Gospel to the dry and thirsty lands of the Middle East.

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How it All Began (Part 7)

Diary of an Israeli Soldier

We came across some journal entries Ari kept when he was fighting in the first Lebanon war in the early 1980’s. This rare inside view will give you an intimate look at the life of an IDF soldier during a unique time in Israel.

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How it All Began (Part 8)

The Right to Exist

After Juliette and her daughter committed their lives to Yeshua, her husband took her to court. The right of a Jewish woman to believe in Yeshua without the State of Israel taking her children and home from her was on trial. We had to stand with our fellow believer.

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How it All Began (Part 9)

Never Say Never

For years, as a nation, we would live day-to-day, in survival mode. PLO chief Yasser Arafat urged on his suicide bombers and creative killers—and you never knew where they would appear. It was a bit like the coronavirus of today. The danger was invisible—until it hit.

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The Birth of Tiferet Yeshua
How It All Began (Part 10)

The Birth of Tiferet Yeshua

As our nation celebrated 3,000 years since Jerusalem became its capital, our small group of believers gathered to celebrate our first service together a few miles north of Tel Aviv. We called it “HaSharon Congregation” as we lived on the Sharon plain near the Mediterranean Sea. We would eventually outgrow our home, move our meeting place to Tel Aviv and rename the congregation Tiferet Yeshua (The Glory of Yeshua).

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A Spark in the Dark
How it All Began - Part 11

A Spark in the Dark

Rabin folded the words of the song and put it in his left shirt pocket. He thanked the mayor of Tel Aviv for arranging the peace demonstration and told him this had been one of the happiest nights of his life. A few minutes later, that paper would be pierced by a bullet hole and saturated with blood. Ari and Shira's story continues as it intertwines with dramatic moments in Israel's history.

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The News & The Police
How it All Began - Part 12

The News & The Police

When the journalist asked to attend our youth conference we knew we had nothing to hide so we told her, "Sure!". She met with a number of the teenagers and talked to them about their faith. She was amazed to see young people so turned on to the God of Israel. After the conference, she called one of the youth team leaders and said, “I have been so moved by what I have seen, that now that I am home, I am afraid to turn on the TV or the radio for fear I will lose this wonderful feeling. The public needs to know about you all,” she enthusiastically exclaimed... Three weeks later an article with a screaming title, "Soul-Hunters", was published...

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Souled Out Comes to Israel
How it All Began - Part 13

Souled Out Comes to Israel

The pattern of humbly bringing what Souled Out had to offer to the people of Israel long enough to show local leaders how to do it (and then letting them adapt it into a more Israeli expression) is the difference between outside ministries that sprinkle rain on the Body in Israel, and those that dig wells for us to drink long term.

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Israel Wrestles with Democracy
How It All Began - Part 14

Israel Wrestles with Democracy

Jews had centuries of records and experience in being an independent people. But now, for the first time, they found themselves wrestling with their identity as a Jewish nation governed by the Law of God as well as a modern nation governed by “we the people.”

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Inhabiting Galilee
How it All Began - Part 15

Inhabiting Galilee

...When I look back, that was a profound turning point. Shira boldly challenged us, as Jewish believers, to examine the Scriptures about Israel’s restoration/resurrection. Pointing to passages in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, she set the stage for me to hear God’s voice in my heart.
(By Eitan Shishkoff as told to Shira Sorko-Ram)

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The Jerusalem Wedding
How it all Began - Part 16

The Jerusalem Wedding

From an early age, Jonathan stood out as a brilliant and talented charismatic prodigy. He began composing classical music as a small child, and as a teenager received invitations to play his flute before Israel’s prime ministers, president and Knesset members numerous times. At age 14 he was composing an opera, and at 15 he had already been a guest conductor in eight Israeli orchestras.

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