BROUGHT FROM AFAR
In 1958, Christie was born in the town of Rostov-On-Don, in the Former Soviet Union, the only child of two Jewish electrical engineers. In spite of the fact she had no brothers or sisters, she still received little attention from her parents who worked in a closed security design lab on government and defense related projects. That they were Jewish was written in their passports, but they did not advertise it since Jews were not popular. Christie remembers cruel treatment by schoolmates in kindergarten and elementary school. Even on the street if you had Jewish features you could be singled out for abuse by total strangers.
Both sets of her grandparents had come to Rostov-On-Don from Ukraine. The Soviet system had worked efficiently to eradicate religion from its society, but had not been completely successful. Hence, Christie remembers some Jewish practices, customs and holidays observed by her paternal grandmother. By the time Christie reached college age she had accepted the government propaganda that only stupid people believed in God, with Christians especially ridiculed as weird and worthy of distain.
Christie studied civil engineering at a prestigious university where she met and married a fellow student who had come from Nigeria to study in Russia. Their daughter Helen was born in 1978, and in 1982, they moved to Nigeria. Christie went to work as a lecturer at the University of Nigeria, teaching civil engineering disciplines. The marriage was rocky from the beginning, but two more children were born, Victor in 1983, and Esther in 1996.
In spite of the fact that Nigeria was more primitive than Russia, Christie felt that its democratic society provided greater individual freedom than the FSU. That freedom also encompassed religion. Christie remembers that in Nigeria, she was witnessed to many times; people came to the door and stopped her on the street. Yet none of them seemed to be able to explain to her in an intelligent way what it was really all about. Plus, the Soviet party line that she had swallowed about religion caused her to view them as "crazy, manipulative people."
However, God was not deterred. Changes were taking place in Christie's heart and with them came a hunger to know the truth. One day in 1986, while home alone, she heard the audible voice of God calling her to repent and receive Yeshua. (Christie has a very tender heart and easily weeps when she hears a testimony about the goodness of God or something powerful from His word. Even in this interview she began to weep as she related for me how God spoke to her that day.) She knew for certain that it was the Lord and she submitted to Him. She got a Bible and began to read it regularly.
Christie began attending a congregation recommended by some of her husband's family but soon left it because it was strange and cultish. For about a year she just studied the Bible alone, but then she received an invitation to another place. She liked it, but had many questions for the pastor. She met with him for two hours and every question he answered from the Bible. That touched her and this became her home congregation.
Christie's husband also attended and made a nominal profession of faith, but did not truly commit. He soon left the congregation and went off into sin. While they continued living together in the same house, his life was elsewhere. In March 1998, she and the children moved out.
From about 1993, every time Christie would read from the Tenach (Old Testament), she would find herself gripped by God's promises to return His Jewish people to their homeland. She spoke to many different pastors about this and all said, "Why bother?" It wasn't relevant and they spiritualized it away. One pastor was different. He told her that if she was a Jew she should return to Israel. Following this, the Lord showed her unquestionably that He was calling them to Israel. She received a powerful confirmation from the scriptures regarding her descent from the tribe of Benjamin, even the name of the head of her ancestral clan.
In 1998, after 16 years, Christie and the children left Nigeria. They returned to Russia where they updated their documents and Helen stayed to go to university. Christie, Victor and Esther made aliyah to Israel in 1999. They began attending Ohalei Rachamim and have been with us ever since.
Christie is now the congregational secretary and receptionist at our ministry center in Kiryat Yam. She is also an invaluable translator, fluent in Russian, Hebrew and English. Victor has recently finished his three years of army service in a combat unit. And Esther is a sweet young lady approaching Bat Mitzvah age. This is one of the quality families that God has returned to Israel as He promised and by whom He will reach our people with the message of Messiah Yeshua.
By Moshe Morrison
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