In the early days when Tents of Mercy first began, Eitan and those working with him were inspired by the vision of assisting new immigrants through creating jobs. As part of this a small sewing factory was established by Leon and Nina Mazin. Over time a space was set aside at the ministry center for the purpose of selling books, Judaica and items produced in the factory. As Leon became more involved in the two congregations that he had planted, it became clear that the factory and the store needed to change hands. The factory was sold and the store was incorporated into Marc Chopinsky's business, "Future Vision."
Marc is openly enthusiastic about the little gift shop situated next to the reception office in our fellowship hall. Most days he can be seen taking some time from his other daily tasks1 to work on the computer, arrange items on the shelves or pack up an order. So how does a store tie into our vision for assisting economically struggling Israelis? I went to Marc and Leah's home one evening to find out.
Marc: At one of our elders' meetings Eitan informed us that Leon was going to close the store. He asked us to pray for leading to use the space. I had the sudden thought that this was an avenue of ministry I should pursue.
Leah: I was in retail as a potter for 20 years and the idea of taking on a store wasn't exciting to me. But what does excite me is helping people that make things and have no way to sell them. For example, we just received some olive wood items that were made by a family that runs an orphanage in Beit Jalla. Selling these would give them exposure and bring in some needed revenue.
Marc: The former emphasis of the store was Judaica, but I want to focus on items created mainly by Israeli believers and products that will bless believers. I feel that God is pleased that we are helping local believers by bringing their works to others. Visitors who love Israel and come to our congregation have the opportunity to bless Israel by blessing believers living in the land. Another important facet of the store is our website. Its creation has been a fun adventure for me and provides a way for people from other countries who cannot visit us in person, to bless the artisans we represent.
Leah: When we came to Israel I brought all that I needed to continue working as a potter. However since we have been here, I have focused my energies on my family, intercessory prayer and most recently, intensive Bible study. Now that Marc is managing the store I have a place to market the pottery that I might create. I've been questioning whether I should take some time and really begin working with clay again ... maybe when it gets cooler(smile).
Marc: It's risky and a bit scary to step out in a new direction. We have to spend in order to make money, but we are praying that gradually our reputation will spread. I ask God daily to lead us and help us walk out that leading.
Leah: God is bringing me to a new level of dependence upon Him. As we take risks with this new project I am aware even more of my need to trust Him. It doesn't happen automatically, but present in a deepening relationship with God is the understanding that He will come through for us and for others because He is faithful. He has proved this over many years.
Marc: As we considered moving to Israel I was encouraged by a word in which the Lord told us that He was making a place for us. I believe that this addition to Future Vision is part of what He prepared in advance for me to do here in Israel (Ephes. 2:10).
To see Marc & Leah's new project in color you are invited to visit FUTURE VISION GIFTS at http://fvgifts.com
1. Marc runs an audio services business and is the worship leader for Tents of Mercy. Leah is primarily responsible for intercessory prayer at the congregation.
|Leonid and Sveta|
Music and especially the piano have been a key part of Leonid's life since he was ten years old. At the age of 28, he married Sveta, also an accomplished piano player. The two of them came to faith 15 years later. Living in Kiev, he became the musical director of a 3,000 member congregation, arranging and leading everything having to do with their musical service to the Lord.
Leonid and Sveta made aliyah in May of 1997 on their wedding anniversary. They have now been married 30 years. Sveta runs our pro-life ministry, the humanitarian and distribution center and is Katya Morrison's main assistant in the Shabbat school. Leonid and Sveta's two sons Oleg and Andrey also live in Israel. Andrey is the dynamic young leader of our youth ministry and was featured in a previous issue of Oasis.
For the last three years Leonid has been developing and leading a unique Messianic music orchestra, Kol L'Simcha (Sound of Joy). Their signature is big band music but Leonid likes to throw some jazz, blues, gospel and even a little Mizrachi (middle-eastern) into the mix. Their inspiration comes from Amos 9:11, which speaks of restoring the fallen tabernacle of David. David's tabernacle was a place of much joyful praise and worship of the God of Israel by singers and instrumentalists (1 Chronicles 15:16).
|Leonid and Sveta|
Kol L'Simcha has performed at various congregations around the country. They've played for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, nursing homes, and on the beach in Tel Aviv during the second Lebanon War. Leonid says they are not a worship team, but an orchestra that worships. He desires people to receive their music as an offering unto God. Aside from the naturally compelling aspect of the music itself, the fact that it is offered to the Lord creates a supernatural drawing in the hearts of those who are not yet believers.
Going hand in hand with the orchestra is Leonid's vision for a Messianic Music Center for music education. Leonid envisions a place where through music, both believers and non-believers will also be exposed to the Message of Yeshua; a place where young people will learn what it means to worship God and to utilise music to come into His presence. Leonid dreams of a music but has already begun to implement the vision. Currently, 32 students, ages 7 - 16 from various places in northern Israel, study guitar, bass, piano, drums, saxaphone and voice at our Tents of Mercy facility. Leonid teaches piano and voice and fellow music teacher Andrey Levin helps out with guitar, bass, drums and saxaphone. Part of the learning process is teaching the students to play in the orchestra.
Leonid's dream is to have their own facility in which they might grow and expand their opportunities to reach out to Israel with unique and vital ministry.
|Let us know what you think - why not comment to this article. The authors of these articles are often involved in intense ministry and are thus unable to respond to most comments. As is normal with print and online magazines, Tikkun reserves the right to publish only those comments we feel are edifying in tone and content.|
Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Dan Juster: Re-Interpreting Scripture|
|Avi & Hannah Tekle: The Trek to the Promised Land|
|Betty Intrater: Come and Let Us Go Up ...|
|David Shishkoff: Sudanese Refugees in Israel|