By Leon Mazin
I always dreamed of going to
Brazil. Most likely it started when I was a boy growing up in the Soviet
Union, with cartoons, movies and books about the Amazon River and its
uncharted jungles. I imagined myself wading through tropical rainforests,
monkeys screeching all around while exotic birds flew overhead.
After moving to Israel, I had the opportunity to visit and teach in many
countries: the United States and Germany, Japan and Kazakhstan, the
Netherlands and Russia, Korea and Scandinavia. Though my English is not as
fluent as I would like, I still get invited to share and I give it my best.
I teach about Israel and the roots of our faith, hold seminars about
"Tikkun Olam" (restoration of the world) and the prophetic biblical feasts.
Occasionally I return to Israel with regrets, and at other times I am
strongly inspired by my reception. People are the same everywhere, and
every minister knows these two feelings. Sometimes one succeeds in
conveying an idea, and sometimes it turns out that even the teacher
doesn't understand fully what it was that he wanted to communicate.
At least it is so in my case
Throughout these many journeys, the thought of Brazil remained in my mind
and my heart. And then the dream came true. Somehow ... mysteriously ...
through email correspondence we received an initial invitation. I say "we"
because I am not alone. On our team we have a brother from Brazil, who
serves as an administrator/cantor, and also prepares children for their
"Bar and Bat Mitzvah". With my insistence and his Portugese language skills
we wrote to people in Brazil about the possibility of coming to teach, and
in several places people responded. Perhaps it was hope combined with
childish naiveté. But such a combination sometimes works out, and
it is also called faith.
Received with open arms
The plan was to go to Sao Paulo, Mines, Compino and Rio de Janeiro in 13
days! Huge cities and vast distances to cover. There were six to seven
meetings planned, with the hope that there would be some free time to
sightsee. But it worked out differently.
After the first meeting with the theme "Mishkan David - the Tabernacle of
David", we received various invitations. Instead of ordinary meetings, we
were invited to gatherings of dozens of leaders and pastors. Some of those
who attended were "trans-national leaders" or apostles, enthusiastically
accepting the word from Zion. Our hands were nearly "torn off" from so
many handshakes. We felt blinded by the camera flash. (But we did not
allow ourselves to become proud because of it.) We saw God opening the
The Word was received with such desire, intensity and interest. I have not
seen this even when I served in my native language (Russian). We met many
wonderful people, including Paulo and Nadia - servants at the national
level - who became our guides and most importantly, became our friends.
They were truly angels of God!
Brazilians express emotions even more freely than Israelis. However, it
was not just emotions. The Holy Spirit was moving, and as it is written in
the Scriptures, we were with them "in weakness and in fear and much
trembling" (I Corinthians 2:3).
Well, my dream came true, though I spent more time in meetings than in the
jungle. I look forward to seeing the fruit of our visit. In the meantime
it is a worthy cause to pray for Brazil. Brazilians face many challenges -
but also have an open heart for God, sincerity in their eyes and energy to
pray. And in their hearts there is plenty of room for Israel! These are
"foreigners" of whom Isaiah speaks in chapters 56, 60 & 61.
With their prayers and hands they are ready to build up and repair the
walls of Zion! Together with us they are preparing the way for the
homecoming of our Messiah!