Our kids were small when we immigrated to Israel, so as a family we quickly embraced all aspects of Israeli life. We knew if we dove in deep, in one generation our family line would know nothing other than life in Israel. We got our kids into daycare and found jobs, but we weren’t sure how to find other Jewish believers in Yeshua like us.
“As I look back, I see how God used different people, including you, to make sure I did not forget my dream and learned to trust in His goodness. I think that the same can be said by many believers who have received the timely help from your organization. From our entire family, we thank you for your help in this difficult time. May the Lord bless all those who have helped make my dream come true. May God return to you a hundred-fold.”
Then one day I opened my Bible and a piece of paper fell out with a number on it. I remembered the man who gave it to us when we were back in Kiev. He had given it to us when we told him we were moving to Israel. I called the number and reached a family of believers who happened to live in our town! They invited us over for dinner and helped us find the congregation that would become our spiritual home to this day – 19 years later.
Soon after arriving in Israel we wanted to touch, feel and see our homeland in detail. We began to travel all over the country visiting modern places as well as ancient ruins. I fell in love with what I saw and wanted to learn more about each place. I was mesmerized by the civilizations that had left footprints on this land – and was in awe of living the fulfillment of prophecy that foretold our return to this land.
When our friends and family came for a visit, I was eager to share everything I had learned about my beautiful country with them. They all commented that my love for the land was contagious and that I should pursue being a tour guide. Back in the Soviet Union, my wife and I had been trained for very simple jobs, so I never dreamed of our professions being anything more than just basic factory machinery workers.
Over the years, each time we had different friends visit, they would say the same thing. Each time I gave them all the reasons it could never happen: tour guides require higher than average Hebrew skills; my boss wouldn’t allow me to take the time off and even if he did I wouldn’t be able to study without a salary. And clearly, the course was just too expensive…
When our friends and leaders in the congregation began to encourage us to give it a try, I determined that if God could take care of the things I couldn’t control, I would take the steps I could. They told us about how ISWI helps believers in Israel and just like that, all the reasons that I had convinced myself would make this dream impossible were gone! My boss agreed to give me the days off for my education and my ISWI application to cover the study expenses was approved!
I have now completed the first year of studies and have overcome every challenge Hebrew has thrown my way. I’ve learned so much of the cultures and traditions of Jews and other peoples who have passed through here. I have one year left and I can’t wait to share my knowledge and love for this land with the world.