Nastya dancing
with children in the congregation
When I was 16, I started using hard drugs and soon started injecting them. For five years my life was pure hell. There was a great emptiness inside of me, and I did not want to live. There was nothing left for me in life and I tried to commit suicide several times. I would steal, lie and worse, in order to buy more drugs. No one could help me - neither my parents nor a rehabilitation center. I just wanted to end my life. I had been married and borne two small sons, but my husband died of a drug overdose. Then my brother told me about Yeshua, who had died for my sins. I believed, repented and accepted Yeshua into my heart, and He raised me up!

Today I'm married to a wonderful man and we are expecting our third child. I am happy because Yeshua has given us a new life. He is a God of love and restoration. Glory Hallelujah!

Lena and her husband
Life can be challenging for a single mother. It was particularly challenging for a young Jewish mother raising her 5-year-old in a Central Asian country in the mid 90's, where Islam was gaining ground after the fall of Communism.

It was actually her troubled pregnancy that drove Lena to seek spiritual help. Doctors had predicted the baby boy to have some level of brain damage, and recommended that Lena terminate the pregnancy. She refused and searched for spiritual help instead. The child was born, and did indeed have health issues, but not to the extent that had been predicted. Lena starting praying and the child improved, but he was still in and out of the hospital for two years. When the boy reached the age of four, Lena started attending a traditional church in her home town. She would bow before the icons (statues of saints) and kiss their painted images. Her young son grew very apprehensive of the traditions, and gradually Lena did too. Soon afterward they started visiting a Korean mission church. Not being used to a charismatic church, she visited once and was not inclined to return. But every Sunday her son insisted on attending, and for five years he would literally grab Lena's hand to make her come with him.

One Sunday the Holy Spirit convicted Lena, and she decided to give her life to Jesus (Yeshua). That dramatically changed the course of her and her son's life. In the ensuing years, Lena grew in her faith, and was also introduced to other Messianic Jewish believers. One of them was Yitzhak, the leader of a Messianic congregation in a large city 1,000 kilometers away. He saw great potential in Lena's leadership skills, and eventually asked Lena to oversee a Messianic group in her home town. Meantime Lena's son was praying for a computer, a bike and a new dad! It didn't take God very long to bring an answer to the third request because God was already working on Yitzhak's heart to propose to Lena...and she agreed! Since then the family has immigrated to Israel and is now part of a local Messianic body here, serving those around them with joy and encouragement.

By Shavei Tzion
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Also in this issue of the newsletter:
Daniel Juster: A Culture of Accountability and Responsibility
Eitan Shishkoff: Marriage Keys Revealed in Names
Avi T. with Andrey G.: Spring Cleaning
David and Albina: A Golden Age
Asher Intrater: As in the Days