Maoz Israel Report November 2020

Boots on the Ground

The Office, The Studio, The Nations

Meet the Maoz Office Team. Their life stories are riveting, their giftings unique, their passion contagious, and the impact they have is undeniable. They are your hands in the field; your boots on the ground. Here’s just a snippet from each of their stories.


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Shani Ferguson
By Shani Ferguson

For over half of the nation of Israel’s modern existence, the Maoz Israel Report has shared its front row view of what has been happening on the ground. From the earliest pioneering days of Jewish believers, to the political ebb and flow of this nation that was born in a day, the MIR has been an incredible resource for staying in the know about Israel from both a physical and spiritual perspective.

As the years have gone by, Maoz has grown from the tiny team of Ari and Shira and their part-time secretary, to becoming a powerful force for building the Kingdom of God in Israel with international offices in half a dozen countries.

And while we love to show you the many projects and various ministries with whom we partner, none of it would happen without the individuals who pour their blood, sweat, and prayers into the intense work of Israel’s restoration.

Their life stories are riveting, their giftings unique, their passion contagious, and the impact they have on making the Maoz team so efficient and effective—undeniable. Here’s just a snippet from each of their stories. You should get to know them—they are your hands in the field; your boots on the ground.

Omer and Liraz

Omer

My family immigrated to Israel from Peru in the late 1990’s when I was still a teenager. Before we moved to Israel I gave little thought to the idea of God. While I believed a higher power existed, He seemed too scary to explore. But the minute our plane landed on Israeli soil, something switched on inside me, and that began my journey towards knowing God.

A few years after getting settled in Israel, I heard about Maoz from some friends who were working there. I’ve now worked with Maoz for almost 20 years. The variety of projects I’ve been involved with over the years are both the most challenging and the most exciting part of my job. I specialize in graphics and have designed everything from books to music CDs to the Maoz Israel Report. (I even wrote the music for one of Shani’s songs in Garden of Secrets). I also oversee all of Maoz Español, which is Maoz’ representation in Spanish-speaking countries, and am very encouraged to see the awareness of Israel growing in these countries.

Liraz

I was first told about Yeshua by a boy in my school. He would go on to become my high school sweetheart, and today we are married with a beautiful daughter. I was born and raised in a very secular home in Israel and had no idea there was such a thing as a Jew who believed in Yeshua—let alone a whole community of such believers in Israel. The idea was intriguing to me, so when I found out a local congregation was offering classes on the subject, I signed up. It took a few months of teaching, but once I could wrap my head around this incredible truth, I gave my life to the Lord.

Although I attended services with my then boyfriend, I found myself wanting to be able to study more on my own. I sought out books for study and found many from Maoz available in our congregation. These books had a powerful impact on the richness of my new-found faith. A while later when one of my friends heard Maoz was looking for someone to lead their Hebrew publishing department they immediately thought of me. I went in for an interview and left feeling this would really be something I could pour myself into.

I’ve worked at Maoz now for eight years and I love the challenge of seeing a book through from the initial paperwork, to the finished product. I love the fact that each completed book can bear fruit many years into the future. But most of all, I love knowing that the knowledge and wisdom shared in these pages can change the lives of my fellow Israelis just like it changed mine.

Irina (left) and Veronica (right)

Irina

I grew up in a chilly corner of Ukraine, dreaming of one day moving to a warm nation with a warm culture. As I grew older, my dream became more of a determination that Israel, a nation built with such faith and hope, was the place I wanted to one day raise my children. When I turned 23 my husband and I moved to Israel. We would, indeed, go on to have two beautiful girls born and raised in Israel; both of them serve in the army today.

About nine years ago I came home after a long day at work and turned on the TV. As I flipped through the channels, I caught a minute of a woman speaking to a crowd of people. I didnt know at the time it was a faith channel, but I had a strong feeling suddenly that what she was saying was important. For several nights I sat glued to this channel watching different shows. I knew the next step was to find other people near me who believed like this and was overjoyed to find an entire congregation of new immigrants from Ukraine.

That year I finished my studies in accounting. and the pastor’s wife told me she’d heard that a ministry she knew called Maoz was looking for an assistant bookkeeper. At first I didn’t even want to go in for an interview. I had so little experience and to get a job at a huge respected ministry like Maoz seemed like asking too much. But I’m so glad I took a chance. From the moment I set foot in the place, I was overwhelmed by the warm and welcoming family atmosphere. They not only accepted me with the skills I had, they sent me to additional courses to fill in the areas I would need to eventually become the head bookkeeper—which I am today.   

As a numbers and stats type person, of course, I value the longterm stability and faithfulness that Maoz offers the Body in Israel. However, I also love witnessing miraculous answers from our times in prayer. And I especially love that our work often is the answer to other people’s prayers.

Veronica

I was born and raised in Denmark by Polish Jewish parents. When I turned 20 I decided to connect a bit with my Jewish roots and volunteer at a kibbutz in Israel. There I met a handsome soldier; we started dating. It wasn’t long after that we married and moved to Tel Aviv. There my husband began attending Tiferet Yeshua congregation, led by Ari and Shira.  I wasnt really interested in anything religious at the time, but at some point, I decided I preferred to go with my husband rather than spend Saturday mornings alone. Within a few months of attending, everything they were saying began making sense to me and at the end of one of the services I went forward and prayed with Ari to receive the Lord.

A while later, Maoz took a team of Israelis from all over the country to the MJAA Messianic conference in the U.S. and I joined. Since the body of believers is small in Israel, meetings are usually just a few dozen people. So, Maoz likes to strengthen their faith by showing them they are part of a much bigger picture, and this experience really strengthened our faith.

I got to know Ari and Shira on that trip, and soon after returning to Israel I began working as their personal assistant. One day as I was cleaning out some files, I came across an old prayer letter in which Shira had updated the Maoz prayer partners that the previously requested prayers for my salvation had been answered! 

After a few years I felt strongly that the Lord was calling me into the field of accounting. Even though they knew I would be leaving them, Maoz helped cover the costs of my studies for this next step in my life. I began overseeing the finances for several Messianic organizations and now, with a decade of experience, I have returned to serve Maoz as their Head of Finance as well.

I especially enjoy my role with the IStandwithIsrael fund as I know so many people who love Israel are trusting us to pass on their gifts to Israelis most in need. I love numbers and I love having the knowledge and ability to help organizations who are doing excellent work to have the same excellence in their finances. I strongly believe that excellence and accountability in finances is an incredible testimony to all the unbelievers we work with and ultimately gives God the most glory.

Kati

Kati

I immigrated from Finland back in the 1970’s. Learning Hebrew came easy to me and I quickly adapted to the culture. I married a lovely man and lived on a kibbutz where we raised our three children together.

As the kids grew older we moved to Tel Aviv and I heard about a congregation of Israeli believers called Tiferet Yeshua. I loved the Hebrew worship and Israeli feel of the services, and began attending on a regular basis. Within a year, Maoz hired me to take care of the various needs of the congregants. I took care of many practical areas but I very much enjoyed praying and ministering to people after each service.

Over the years my role at Maoz has evolved and I’ve been everything from a national conference coordinator to my role today as Ari and Shira’s personal assistant. I love being part of a work that is always looking at the bigger picture of God’s kingdom. Though this year’s restrictions have resulted in my mostly working from home (and canceled any options for conferences), my role as point person in vetting requests for IStandwithIsrael has kept me busier than ever.

I believe Maoz’ willingness not just to help individuals, but to help other ministries in the country has contributed so much to the unity of the Body here. Perhaps that is why I consider the last 15 years that I have worked at Maoz to be the best years of my life.


Shalom from Israel,

Even as we gathered all these personal stories from our staff, we found ourselves in wonder of how God has orchestrated each step, each person, each God-encounter for everyone He has brought to Maoz for His purposes. It is remarkable to see in all these stories how their investment in Maoz has helped them realize their own God-inspired dreams. And that is exactly how God works. He uses all of our circumstances to bring about our dreams for His purposes.

While we get to enjoy the Maoz team on a daily basis, we wanted you to get to know them as well—because—as a Maoz partner, this team is YOUR team. Their wins are YOUR wins. The fruit of their labor is the fruit of YOUR effort, as well.

This year has held incredible challenges as well as unique stories of triumph that only adversity can bring. We will never forget the rush of distributing funds just before the lockdowns to singles and families who, forbidden to go to work during the two lockdowns of Passover and Sukkot were simply unable to buy food. We experienced an incredible sense of purpose and duty—Israel needed what we had to offer.

Our FoA musicians did not take their role for granted during this time either, and worked long and crazy hours recording music with FoA artists like Shiloh Ben Hod, Birgitta Veksler, the Sakhnini Brothers and Evan Levine, to name a few. In turn, they couldn’t help but feel God’s appreciation when the studio was given special permission to stay open during the spring months-long lockdown. After all, worship is essential.

Often it is the years of plenty that yield unimaginable fruit, but it was this year’s pruning that brought the fruitfulness to the forefront for Maoz in a way only God can orchestrate. This team of “incredibles” is truly a tapestry of lives, built around HIS Kingdom agenda for Maoz—to make believers STRONG in Israel.

We thank you for your continued support and pray that as your story intertwines with the story of Maoz, you will find yourself in this same tapestry of God-fulfilled dreams.

For the future of Israel,

Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram  &  Kobi and Shani Ferguson




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