FROM PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER TO PROFESSING BELIEVER
By Sahar

I was one of those children who constantly asked their parents questions about everything. My curiosity would even bring me to the point of tears. One day, I asked the question that would later change my life. While helping her clean the house, I asked my mom, "What is the name of the Messiah?" She responded, "Yeshua." With that my insatiable curiosity was satisfied and we finished speaking.

The interesting thing is that my mother is not yet a believer in Yeshua, nor is anyone else in my family. Growing up in a secular/traditional Jewish family in Jerusalem, we observed Shabbat, kept a kosher kitchen and had a separate set of dishes for Passover. The most spiritual expression in my life was going to the synagogue with my father every weekend and holiday. The name Yeshua was simply not a part of our life. How could she have known that name?

In my childhood years, I greatly enjoyed playing soccer and spent much time focusing on the development of my skills with a view towards a career as a soccer player. By the age of eighteen, with the support and encouragement of my family, I became a regular player on the very popular professional soccer team "Beitar Yerushalayim" as well as on the junior national soccer team. At the same time, I also began my army service. These were successful and happy years - things were going very well in my life. My family supported me in the goals that I was pursuing, and my father and I were especially close. He travelled with me to my games and encouraged me when times were hard. He was very proud of me and I was confident in his love. My objective was to become the best soccer player in the history of Israel. But apparently, God had something else in mind.

Shortly after I finished my army service, my dad asked me to work with him as a taxi driver. I did not want to leave my flourishing soccer career, so I flat out refused. The relationship with my father that I had so valued deteriorated. Eventually I gave in and worked with my dad for a year, but my heart was not in it. That job, however, was in the plan of God. While in California on vacation, I visited one of my former taxi customers. There she told me that she was a Christian and that she believed in the God of Israel. Then she asked me a question: "What is the name of the Messiah?" I was embarrassed by her question! As a 25 year-old Jewish man I had no connection with God. I had never read the Hebrew scriptures and wasn't even interested in knowing the Messiah. Yet echoing back to me was the answer my mother had given to my same question twenty years previously. "Yeshua," I said.

In October 2001, I visited Kehilat Ariel in San Diego and there acknowledged Yeshua as my Messiah and invited Him to become the Lord of my life.

After returning to Israel in 2003, I eventually joined Revive Israel. Here I have been strengthened spiritually in the inner man, and have received increased understanding of the Bible through the teaching ministry of Asher, Eddie and other men and women of God. Fellowship within the Revive Israel and Ahavat Yeshua community has helped me to learn to appreciate and interact with people. This spring I have been blessed and challenged as an intern staff member of the discipleship-training center.

Through the years that I have known Yeshua, the most vital lesson I have learned is Yeshua's message of unity. A house divided against itself cannot stand (Matthew 12). We must be united together in order to continue forward in strength. My father and I are on better terms, and I know that we will be fully restored when he can also confess Yeshua as Messiah. I stand in faith to see my entire family, as well as my nation, come to a living relationship with our Messiah.

 

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Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Dan Juster: The Orwellian Left
Avi Tekle: Passover Blessing
Moshe Morrison: A Quiet Proclamation
"Eitan Shishkoff: Face to Face" in the Desert
Asher Intrater: Gospel in Asia