I Survived the "Russians"
by Moshe Ami da Costa, ,

By Moshe Ami da Costa

Gila and Moshe
A year has passed - a year of hard work and challenges overcome. This could be the story of any middle-aged immigrant in a new country, but because I am a Messianic Jew in Israel, my story has a certain context. The story is also about a Brazilian believer - a servant full of flaws, trying to survive aliyah (immigration) difficulties while staying true to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The God of Israel uses strange tools to shape us. When I started working at Return to Zion Ministries, I realized it would different from any experience I ever had. Over 90 percent of its members are of Russian origin, and at first the cultural differences between us seemed insuperable. I'm from a generation that grew up watching Hollywood blockbusters. Before immigrating to Israel, the only impressions I had of the Russian people were prejudiced and distorted images I saw in American movies.

Upon arriving in Israel, I heard unfavorable stories about the Russian Israelis. I imagined that I would find the Russian immigrants to be hard, inflexible people, like the military characters in Cold War books and spy movies. At first the words Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine aroused haunting images. But my experiences with these "Russians" would show me how we all can be mistaken and full of prejudice.

"I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors" (John 4:38).

At Return to Zion Ministries, my family and I have had the opportunity to meet people from around the world with vastly diverse backgrounds. Yes, I met a former KGB agent, but he had already been transformed and restored by Yeshua. We became best friends with a wonderful family from Kazakhstan. I was completely charmed by the countless conversations I had with an old man who spent his childhood in Siberia where his family went to escape World War II. He became a believer at a Roman Catholic Church in Berlin, Germany, although nobody understood what a Jew was doing there praising God with them. If I was looking for new stories to share, I came to the right place.

In addition to the wonderful new friends, I have had the opportunity to start communicating with the "worldwide body". In the last year, we received several groups from around the world interested in strengthening ties with Israel. As I write this, Im saying goodbye to a Taiwanese group that has often visited Israel

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