I was a Stranger and You Took Me in
by AuthorName, AuthorTitle, AuthorMinistry

On a visit to the US in 2011
From early on, in our return to Israel, we devoted ourselves to serve the restoration of Messianic Jewish life in Israel, and saw the Zionist pioneers as a model. They poured their lives into the rebirth of the physical state. We took it as our calling and privilege to do the same for Israel's spiritual rebirth. In our corner of the land, in the Tents of Mercy, many have given much. But no one has given more than Moshe and Katya Morrison, who have been essential in the founding and fulfillment of this vision. Nor was it the first time. They had already founded a thriving congregational community in the Baltimore area during the decade before they moved to Israel.

When a true pioneer's days come to an end, it is important to acknowledge their contribution and to worship the Lord for the amazing way He can pour Himself through a human being. Such a pioneer was Katya Morrison. Our sister, our partner, our fellow laborer went to be with Yeshua on October 31, 2013. Still grieving this incalculable loss, we are compelled to share with you, this portrait created from a few of the innumerable relationships she cultivated in her more than 40 years of faith in Messiah, the final 19 spent in Eretz Yisrael.

The life of one humble woman had quite an impact! Those who pay her tribute are old and young, of different national origins, both family and friends. Here are some excerpts from those who gathered to honor her in the days immediately following her passing:
Early hippie days in Maryland

"Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'" (Matthew 25:34-36)

"This is Katya's testimony among us. She simply saw what needed to be done and did it, even if it was difficult, even if it was unpleasant. She noticed who needed help and helped them, whether it was taking in orphaned children, or taking on the care of a blind woman. She walked the walk. Without fanfare. Without complaining. She created the children's program for the Tents of Mercy Congregation, not because she had received a prophetic calling to do it, but simply because she saw that it needed to be done."

Katya and Moshe in 1983
"She and Moshe have welcomed thousands of guests into their home over the years for Sabbath meals. Once we phoned her with a last minute question of whether 21 tourists could come and have dinner with them in their Sukkah. 'Sure,' was her reply. I did not know there were people like that."

"They are an example of how a family needs to be, with a mother and a father. Katya was a mother to me. I will never forget her."

"I was so blessed that God gave me the chance to be with this family and learn from them. There is no such thing as chance. Those who come across our path in life are often sent from God. Katya's heart was open and welcoming toward all, as was her home. I received spiritual help through her. I remember her house when her children were still small - a house of love of music, of laughter and talking. Their dining table was full of guests every Friday night and Saturday. They did not consider welcoming people into their home as a burden, but as a joyous duty. Katya turned the Bible from theory into reality."

The entire family (with their 3 foster daughters) shortly before the Morrisons made aliyah in 1992 Moshe and Katya's growing Israeli family A family picture from 2012

"She was a truly Proverbs 31 woman."

"Faith is more than what we say with our mouth. Faith without deeds is dead. May we all be inspired to make a transition from what we have been up until now, to something else."
Escorting son Rami to the wedding chuppah

"I was new in the congregation and had not met almost anyone. She welcomed me and was genuinely interested in me and what I was going through, offering a listening ear and tips motivated by love, a path of love. She loved the 'stranger,' the 'foreigner'. [Leviticus 19:34, Deuteronomy 10:19]"

"Katya was forgiving and understanding, even when as a girl I took lots of her cookies and hid them. She was such an honest, forthright person. My family came to her house often. She fed us and interacted with us ever since I was a small girl. I felt like I was one of her daughters."

"When I was a young teenager Katya would invite me over along with a few other unruly teenage guys from single family homes, to spend some hours every week in a home with a mother and father. She taught us table manners which have remained with me to this day. It did not compute in my brain how one could take strangers and relate to them just as if they were members of one's family. The testimony of her life is doing things for others. The things we do for ourselves disappear when we die. The things we do for others live on after us."

"Most of us are stingy with our love, measuring it out carefully drop by drop. Katya was one of those who showed us a different way, of not holding back our love. All the fruit of the Spirit was evident in her life."
Katya and Moshe in 2012

"Katya's influence was not from a stage, not through public speaking, not even through teaching in small groups. It was about blessing others in a way that no one may ever hear about. Her influence was through a way of life. There is something holy about welcoming others into our home. There is something holy about arms that hug. There is something holy about feeding others. There is something holy about attending to those in need."

"One of Katya's words of advice regarding rearing children was, 'Slow and steady wins the race.' Katya followed this creed in her life, and has finished the race."

"And now, since we are 'surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.'" (Hebrews 12:1)

Katya (second from left) at the annual summer kids camp she co-founded

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