December 2018

/December 2018
December 2018 2018-12-06T09:24:59+00:00

ISRAELI BELIEVERS RECEIVE SIGNIFICANT AID FROM MAOZ PARTNERS

Newlyweds, Sasson and Sophie: Sasson is a Messianic youth leader. Sophie has received help from IstandwithIsrael to learn a vocational skill in hairdressing and makeup, to contribute to their family’s income, including a baby on the way!

This month we’d love to show you some of the fruits of  your labor as partners with us through IstandwithIsrael. Some of the most in need among Messianic Jews are immigrants from the former Soviet Union. They come without any financial backing. If they are middle aged or older, there is little chance they will learn enough Hebrew to find a good job, even if they come with doctorates and excellent former career experience. Some are young Messianic Jews, who desire to get a college education or study for a special vocation. Many of these young people that have received help from our partners are now flourishing in their work and witnessing of their faith in their communities.

Once in awhile we can also help Israeli believers with a mortgage so they can actually put their roots down deep in Israel.

We know that if Messianic Jews can buy an apartment, even a small one, it stabilizes their lives, as Israel doesn’t really have a concept of rentals for longtime residency, and thus people often have to move every few years, disrupting their lives and those of their children. This year, we have distributed a total of $485,000. Here are just a few of the more than 55 individuals, families and organizations you have blessed in the last 12 months.

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SHAUL & JULIAAdonai Roi Congregation—Tel Aviv

Shaul and Julia are some of the most talented and innovative musicians in Israel. They are strong believers and carry their testimony everywhere they go.

Shaul was born into a Jewish family and came to faith at age 14 through my grandmother who was a Messianic Jew. My wife Julia is from a Christian background and came to faith at the age of 12 through her grandmother and her twin sister.

When we were both 15 years old, we met at a Music Academy in Moldova. We married at the age of 18, and a year later, in 1996, we made aliyah to Israel—even before our parents! Shaul’s first assignment in the land was to serve in the IDF for three years.

Today, we have three wonderful children—15, 13, and 9.

It is very hard, almost impossible, for a young couple in Israel to purchase an apartment without their family’s financial support. We have a business for musical performances on stage, and musical activities for events of various organizations. The business is doing well, but taxes are very high. After more than 20 years, we have not been able to save enough money to get a mortgage for our own home in Israel.

Thanks to Istandwithlsrael we received a donation which enabled us to secure a mortgage. We want to thank all of you, dear donors, personally, for the huge blessing we received through you!

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LEATiferet Yeshua Congregation—Tel Aviv

Lea was born in Estonia and made aliyah with her family at age six. From an early age, she worked to build a future that her parents never had.

Lea was raised in a loving family. However, as new immigrants, my parents faced many obstacles—a new language and low salaries that enabled them to provide me with only very basic things in life. I began working at the age of 13 in order to continue school.

After finishing high school and my military service, I took an office job. I have received financial support for studies in Marketing and Project Management and a Campaign Management course (which deals with Google, Facebook and virtually every field in the internet)—a very sought-after course in these days.

Today I own a flower arrangement business. Because of the skills I learned, I can manage my business, take care of marketing, and am expanding my work.

When I was six years old, Yeshua revealed Himself to me and healed me from a sickness. I remember this revelation like it was yesterday, and His presence has been with me during all these years. I want the way I live my life to be a witness of God’s care for us, no matter what the challenges.

I owe my personal advancement to lstandwithlsrael and their donors who have enabled me to accomplish my calling.

I am grateful to God every day for the opportunities to study that made my dreams come true! All this has happened thanks to you.

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SOPHIEBeit Hallel Congregation—Ashdod

Sophie married the youth pastor, Sasson, in her congregation. She has studied hair styling and professional makeup.

I was born into a believing family and belonged to a congregation, doing volunteer work there, which I continue to do today.

I married about a year ago right after finishing my high school studies. At 20 years old, I needed to study a profes­sion that would give us a realistic income. I wanted to learn skills that I enjoyed and would be good for our family. However, as a young couple it is difficult to cover tuition fees for almost any subject, and thus we took a loan to cover my studies.

We had already found ourselves in debt after our wedding, and getting only minimum wages, we were having a very difficult time trying to repay the loan and have money to live. When I became pregnant, we found ourselves in a very pressing and hard situation. We turned to Istandwithlsrael for help.

With that help, we were able to cover our debts and have a new beginning. We were, thankfully, much less preoccupied with our financial situ­ation and were able to focus on serving in our congregation. We praise God for this support which strengthened our faith, as it was a real miracle of mercy for us. Sasson, who serves with his father who is the pastor of Beit Hallel, loves working with the large group of youth growing up in our congregation.

The IstandwithIsrael aid fund is a huge blessing for the Messianic body in the Land, as life in Israel is financially very challenging and many people find themselves in financial straits.

We want to thank IstandwithIsrael. We do not take this for granted. Your support helped us to overcome the challenges we faced during our first year of marriage, and to have a fresh start!

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LENABeit Hallel Congregation—Ashdod

Lena was accepted into musical studies at the prestigious Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv. She teaches music and is part of the worship team of her congregation.

In 2012, my husband Baruch and I emigrated from Ukraine to Ashdod. We were both studying intensive music courses at Bar Ilan University while working part-time jobs. We are also supporting my elderly mother who emigrated with us.

I continue to learn Hebrew, and work part-time as a guitar teacher. In 2014 our daughter was born, and in 2016 I was accepted into the university in order to earn a teacher’s certificate and teach school.

In this second year of a two-year studies program, we prayed that the Lord would help us with my tuition, and He answered by sending help through you. The fear that neither of us would be able to graduate if we could not pay off our tuitions is GONE!

I believe it is very important for lstandwithlsrael to financially assist Messianic believers in Israel in times of crisis, or during studies, giving them an opportunity to find a good job, and to serve in local congregations. Thank you.

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MARIAAhavat Yeshua Congregation—Jerusalem

These pictures are from Maria’s unit. For this reason we could not show you their faces.

Maria trained soldiers in the IDF and is now working on a degree to continue fitness training as a career.

I was born in Finland, raised in Estonia and moved to Israel with my family when I was nine years old. After finishing high school I served in the Israel Defense Forces as a trainer of combat soldiers in an elite IDF unit. This year I married the love of my life, and we began to establish ourselves as a new family here in the Land of Israel.

I was born into a God-fearing family, and had a deep yearning for God since a young age. But when we moved to Israel, I found it very intimidating to talk about my faith, knowing that the ultra-Orthodox authorities might try to force us out of the country, even though we are Jews.

Slowly I started to fade away and became less and less confident in my faith, although I did continue to attend a local, believing youth group and youth camps. As I turned 17, while attending a youth conference in Sweden, I encountered Him and stood before a decision; I would follow Him. After taking this step everything changed. I felt like my deep yearnings and love for Him and my purpose and life calling was revived again.

With this knowledge I went into the army when I turned 18. I served in the IDF for two years but my service in 2014 ended in a tragic way; our unit lost three soldiers in the last Gaza operation, Protective Edge. I had gotten to know them well during my service.

While the operation was going on I was doing all I could to support my fel­low soldiers. But I finished my service shocked and deeply wounded in my soul, after realizing what my friends endured before their deaths and understanding the deep pain of their families. With that heavy burden upon me I felt like the Lord was calling me to go to Sweden to a Bible school. There He “sent His word and healed me” and I was healed, filled with His love and a new purpose.

I came back to the Land with the deep knowledge that God wants to save the bruised and hurt people of His nation and He wants to touch their hurts and heal them (their souls). I also loved my task in the army as a fitness trainer and saw it as a profession I wanted to continue.

I asked lstandwithlsrael for assistance to apply for fitness training courses so I could also train outside the army. I acquired lots of skills and experience from the army, and I hoped I could also help other people around me. The course itself cost more than what I could pay with my monthly income. lstandwithlsrael sup­plied the money so I could continue to do what I did in the army.

Thanks to the help I received from lstandwithlsrael I was able to contin­ue working in a field I was passionate about and put to work the skills that I received during my army service.

Following my studies I married my best friend. Since this time, I have reset my eyes on the coming years, and feel the utmost excitement pursuing my Bachelor ‘s degree here in Israel.

Because of the generous individuals of Istandwithlsrael there are numerous people in the Land who receive such an opportunity as I have. Without your love, prayer and support, the dreams of so many in this country would have been much more difficult coming to fruition. I honor you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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GEORGECity of Life Congregation—Sderot

George and Rina and their 13-year-old daughter live in Sderot, where more than 8,600 rockets from Gaza have fallen on their town of 25,000 citizens.

I made aliyah from Uzbekistan. I was between jobs when I needed some serious dental work. In addition, I was (and still am) taking care of my parents, who are both over 80. This was a rough period for us, at the same time I needed the dental work, my dad fell and broke his pelvis. After his surgery he needed care, and so did my mother.

My parents moved into my brother’s home, but I continued to take care of them by taking them to the doctor, paying utility bills, paying for their medication, and more.

God really helped us through IstandwithIsrael, making it easier to pay for the expensive dental work in addition to all my family responsibilities. I am now in charge of a humanitarian aid program initiated by our Messianic congregation.

My wife Rina, who was educated in counseling and has now learned Hebrew, is in the process of developing a counseling practice to help support our family.

I am deeply grateful to IstandwithIsrael donors, who supported me during hard times so I can finally have healthy teeth.

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GALINACongregation Katzir Asher—Acco

Galina found herself with a broken heart and an unpaid mortgage.

My niece gave me a Bible as a gift. I placed it on a shelf for several years, until trouble came. Then I began to read it, and found in it my Savior and Messiah, Yeshua.

Our family made aliyah from Ukraine to Israel some years ago. But in 2017, my husband left me. We had been married 39 years and were close to retirement, when suddenly I found myself alone, with an unpaid mortgage for my apartment and rising interest. In my heart there was hurt and a lack of forgiveness. I was not able to sleep without a sleep aid. There was a constant battle raging in my mind.

At that time, I asked for help from IstandwithIsrael. I was praying and believing that God would not forsake me. And then I received help!

The sum was enough to pay off the mortgage. Moreover, everything in me supernaturally changed! I forgave my husband and received freedom in my spirit, soul and body. For me, this was not only financial help—this was a testimony of love.

I see the wonderful spiritual work in the body of Yeshua through what you do. A great thank you to all the donors of the IstandwithIsrael fund. Not only did you help in a practical way, but you also made me a witness of God’s glory here in Israel.

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OLGA & OLEGBeit Hallel Congregation—Ashdod

At age 17, Oleg fell from a five-story building. Miraculously he is alive, but crippled and unable to work.

In 1999, the year that the great aliyah began from Russia, Oleg and I, along with our daughter, immigrated to Israel. Over the years, Oleg’s injured leg from the fall as a teenager deteriorated until, in 2017, the doctors said it must be amputated. The congregation began to pray earnestly for Oleg, and when the doctors came to operate one morning, the leg had so improved overnight, that they decided not to amputate.

However, because of his leg and fractured vertebrae in his back, he is in constant pain. Since 2017, he has been unable to work and provide a livelihood for our family.

The Israeli social security will not pay him disability because the accident took place in Ukraine, so he is not eligible for any financial compensation. Our family has depended on one low-paying salary only, which has caused us to spiral financially into debt.

We had days when we were not only lacking food to put on the table, but were also scared that the authorities would come to our home and take our belongings because of the debts that were accumulating.

I began to work at two jobs to have money to buy food. Today, thanks to those of you who helped us through IstandwithIsrael, we have succeeded in covering 75% of our debts. This is a great miracle for us. God is working and encourages us through your support, giving us hope that He will never leave us.

We send our heartfelt gratitude to every donor for their care for us.

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RUTIOr Hasharon Congregation—Netanya

Ruti is a student in her second year of a four-year course in osteopathy.

My mother was originally from Germany and my father from the U.S. I was born in Israel and raised in a believing family. I myself came to faith in Yeshua when I was 12 years old after understanding that I’m a sinner and in need of a Savior.

I am single, a student, and support myself financially. I am in my second year of study at the Wingate Institute. I have a part-time job to pay my living expenses, but I am unable to pay for my studies.

I turned to the IstandwithIsrael fund to get a scholarship, and to my joy, IstandwithIsrael blessed me with a very significant donation, which enabled me to continue my studies this year!

Thank you for your generosity and the willingness to help. I am very much blessed through it, and also encouraged to continue to put my trust in God. He takes care of all of our needs when we are in the place He wants us to be.

I’m sure there are many more people who have been blessed by you, and trust that God will bless you many times more for all you’ve given!

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December 2018

Dear Maoz Partner,

Happy Hanukkah!

When we celebrate Hanukkah here in Israel, we remember the miracles of provision, and we also know that the “servant candle” represents our savior, Yeshua, Light of the World!

We also want to wish you joyous  Christmas Season remembering the Jewish King’s Birth!  Wherever and however you celebrate Yeshua, it’s time to CELEBRATE!

And this month we are celebrating what YOU made happen this year for those in the Israeli Messianic movement who were in need.  YOU are the ones who helped them to better their lives with education, career and scholarships, or when tragedy came.

IstandwithIsrael was established to bless people—both Jew and Arab—and that is exactly what we did this year with your gifts.  I hope you enjoyed reading all the ways we were able to transform families and young adults to grow and increase the community of Messianic Jews in Israel.

Through your giving we impacted Israeli believers with over $485,000 (£377,000, €432,000, CAD 643,000) in scholarships, down payments, education, healthcare, and in a variety of other ways over the last 12 months.

You helped 42 individuals and families from 26 congregations throughout Israel.  This issue of the Maoz Israel Report carries just a few of the stories of these individuals.

You also blessed four Ethiopian congregations, and three Arab ministers working at great risk in the West Bank, most with a regular monthly gift.

And there is more.  Our Music Making for Children program now has 60 Messianic children who have passed stringent musical testing to be eligible for scholarships for this program—and some of them are already leading worship and some performing professionally.

Your gifts have helped on a monthly basis with the rent of a very effective Messianic rehab center in Jerusalem, with incredible testimonies of freedom from chains that no human could break and healing from diseases that no man could cure.

You have also subsidized a new pre-school where Messianic mothers who work can have peace of mind that their kids are in a school where they are taught to be followers of Yeshua.

Maoz is still at the forefront of fighting legal battles that the ultra-Orthodox have thrust on believers.  In a recent case, the court decided in favor of a Messianic Jewish business and against the rabbinate which tried to shut them down.  In fact the court has even ordered the ultra-Orthodox to pay considerable fines for the damage done to the business.  However, the rabbis, believing they are all-powerful in Israel, simply ignored the court order!  Maoz was able to hire a lawyer to fight for the rights of this Messianic business.  Once a precedent like this has been established in favor of believers, it will be the beginning of a new day for freedom for Messianic Jews.

Well, this is not all we’ve done, but it is enough to let you know that your part in bringing the Light of God to Israel is really significant.

Now with our third generation of Jewish believers rising up, there are several organizations actively working to push the Israeli government to stop blocking Messianic Jews from immigrating to Israel.  This is a serious violation of freedom of conscience observed in all democratic nations—and this needs to happen NOW in Israel.

Our aim is always to really make a difference in the lives of an individual, family, or ministry.

All this to say, you, our partners, are literally moving spiritual mountains in this great and historic harvest field of Israel in these last days.

Most of all, we know from God’s Word that whatever amount you give to IstandwithIsrael.com is written in the Books of Heaven!

And you can still put treasure in heaven this year of 2018 with a gift to IstandwithIsrael for Israeli believers in need.

May God pour out a blessing upon you in this Season of Hanukkah and Christmas!

With our love,

Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram

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