The old factory walls are painted bright orange against royal blue - colors one would expect that either Denver Bronco fans or optimistic, vibrant young people would choose. But these walls speak of more than youthful exuberance - they tell the story of God's faithfulness and His promise. Our young people were soon to learn that painting the walls flame orange had a deeper meaning than they had anticipated.

Shortly after Tents of Mercy got up and running, a youth group was formed to meet the needs of our growing body of young people. For ten years this group has steadily grown, both in size and in spiritual depth. Today there are two groups - one for youth up to age 18 led by Andrey Gelbet and one for young people from IDF service age and beyond, led by Dima Kravtsov. Between these two groups, approximately sixty young people meet at Tents of Mercy every week to worship, pray and encourage each other to press on to be that generation that seeks His face.

Build Me an Ark

Last April we featured an article by Dima Kravtsov, (Jacob's Generation, April 07). Dima spoke about how God had told him to prepare; to build an ark because God was going to send the rain of revival over our young people. Dima emphasized building an "ark" in our hearts as a place of refuge for God to move us.

Our hearts always need to be the primary focus, but the call to build an ark has also been a call to build a special place for our young people. Dima explained:

"The vision for the ark came to me six years ago. The Lord spoke to my heart that He was going to pour out His Spirit on us; that there would be new believers but also persecution. He told me we needed to prepare. Most of our young people today face family and economic problems, most do not have believing parents and they have few believing friends at school. We have been able to meet in Tents of Mercy's fellowship hall and in the sanctuary, but have had no place to call our own. We needed a place not only to have meetings but where we could get together one on one for discipleship. This is the work of preparation."

In November 2006, Eitan met with Andrey and Dima and offered them our old textile factory tucked away at the back of the warehouse for a youth center. Right away they knew this was to be the location for the ark - a shelter from the storm, a "home" for young people. So our two young leaders were left with a room full of old sewing machines and fabric tables.

A Place to be Proud of

Both youth leaders believed that they should not burden the congregation with requests for the required funds for renovations, but they also sensed God saying they should not skimp on materials. They were to set high standards. This was a present to our youth from their Heavenly Father. His heart was for them to have a place they would be proud of.

The original factory The transformation
Our young people got to work cleaning up and praying. Dima and Andrey wrote some e-mails and prayed. A group from Beltway Baptist Church in Abilene, Texas came over to pitch in and frame up some interior walls. It took just about a year, but the industrial factory was eventually transformed into a two storey youth center with a meeting room downstairs and a lounge, kitchen and office upstairs. Over the course of the year God had supplied every need.

Dima and Andrey had originally hoped to open the center in the summer, then they revised their expected date for after the fall holidays. Sukkot passed and still the final touches were not yet finished. In early October, Dima gave a tour of the facilities to four Canadian woman visiting friends at Tents of Mercy. As he good-naturedly shared his frustrations over the delay, one of the ladies declared, "When the rains come, the ark will be ready."

Andrey and friends enjoying the lounge
True to this prophetic insight, the youth center was completed in the 3rd week of November, the same time that the long delayed fall rains finally poured down upon Israel. The Father was confirming His stamp of approval on the project, but He had more in store for us. The dedication service was held on the first Saturday after the youth center was finally finished. (Our young people have their own Shabbat service every Saturday evening.) The date? November 24th. Our young people's vision scripture? Psalm 24. But there is still more ...

Albina presenting the keys
The dedication service began with the leader of our senior's group, Albina, presenting a plaque for the center with a collage of keys. Quoting from Matthew 16:19 she told the gathered young people that God was giving them the keys to the kingdom. The service ended with the elders praying for and anointing Andrey and Dima. Eitan proclaimed the Aaronic blessing over the young people. All this was good stuff and not that unconventional as dedications go, but this was not the end of the festivities.

After us old folks left, our young people carried on with their regular Shabbat service - more good stuff but far from conventional. The next morning I sat with Andrey and Dima to review the details for this article. With great excitement they told me of the dramatic manifestation of the Holy Spirit in their meeting. Dima: "I felt like I was on fire - it was different but I knew I was receiving something." Andrey interjected: "I was so shocked, everyone was on their knees worshipping, the Spirit was so strong upon us, even Eli our worship leader stopped and fell on his knees before God." They recounted how after the service, Merida, one of our volunteers came to Dima to tell him about a vision she had seen. Merida had never had an open vision before, but as the young people bowed before God she saw angels and flames of fire over Dima and Eli. Merida also felt the fire of God fall upon her.

Dima being anointed
As I listened to their story I immediately recalled the description in II Chronicles of the temple dedication. The flash of illumination was accompanied by a strong sense of the Holy Spirit's presence. It was almost as if I too suddenly felt the fire of God descend. I put down my pen and trembled with excitement as I asked the guys, "Don't you know what happened?" I opened my Bible and read from II Chronicles 7:1,

"When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offerings and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple."

As I finished reading this account Andrey exclaimed: "That's right, just before the Holy Spirit came upon us I asked the Lord to take us all as living sacrifices!"

The color orange is the color of fire. The walls of our "Noah's Ark" youth center serve as a visible memorial that God has accepted the sacrifice and has sent His fire on our young people. May His floods bear up the ark to new heights and take it wherever He wills.

 

By Martin Shoub



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Comments
Comments:
19:43 02Jan08 Ashley -
Wow ... this is so cool to see the fruit of which I heard about and experienced a bit of in March. I miss you all so much!!!

09:48 04Jan08 Mrs Jane Meredith -
A sense of awe and a certainty that Ruach Ha Kodesh is being allowed freedom in this place to prepare a generation for something that makes waves.


Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Dan Juster: Enforcing Standards
Eitan Shishkoff: Shofar 2008
Asher Intrater: The Controversy of the Gospel
Asher Intrater: King of the Jews