Oleg Vilinsky is the director of Beit HaYeshua, a Messianic rehabilitation center, in Jerusalem. Here is his story.
I grew up in a rough neighborhood in Khabarovsk, Russia. By age seven, I was hanging out in the street with the bad kids. I grew up with the Russian Mafia and lived a life of total immorality and depravity in and out of jail.
My father was Jewish, but I was never told that until I was an adult. Along the way, someone gave me a New Testament and told me, “Yeshua loves you.” I actually spent time reading parts of it, but at that time nothing changed in my life.
I did read the Book of Revelation and saw that it said the end of the world is coming! In my confused mind, I decided I would immigrate to Israel and become a devout Jew. Then when everything blew up, maybe I would go to heaven.
I moved to Haifa, not a city known for criminality. But Israel didn’t help me. I went deeper into drugs and into depression. I began to think: Who am I? What am I here on earth for? I joined a New Age group, and then studied Kabbalah – Jewish mysticism.
Finally one day, someone found me in the woods naked, with a handmade idol – a piece of cardboard with a great big “I” printed on it. I was praying mantras to it. I was placed in an institution for the clinically insane and eventually released.
My health began to go downhill drastically and I made my way to a clinic. There I was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and tuberculosis. I also had epilepsy from the drugs. The doctors told me I had two months to live.
Some time before I had visited a Messianic congregation in Haifa. So having no other course to take, I went back there on a Saturday. Connected to the congregation was a small rehab ministry called Beit HaNitzahon (The House of Victory).
I asked to be accepted to the center, but the director told me I had to be checked for HIV. And then when he realized I had tuberculosis, he explained that by law, he was not allowed to admit me. But he said to me, “Let’s pray.”
As we were praying, I recalled the story of the woman with the issue of blood which I had read in the New Testament. I said to God, “Forgive me. I haven’t ever done anything good.” A voice inside of me said, “Your problem is pride.” I wasn’t ready to let go of the “I” so I left.
The next day I went back to the clinic to take an MRI for my lungs. Following the procedure, I waited outside. After a long while a doctor came and told me the MRI equipment didn’t register correctly, and I would have to do the procedure again. Grumbling, I went for the second examination, and then waited. After a very long time, they came to me and said, “We are so sorry. We have to do this procedure one more time. Something is wrong with the readings. By this time I was angry and fuming. Much later, this time three doctors appeared and told me, “We don’t understand, but the MRI shows you have no tuberculosis. Something must be wrong with the MRI. We need to send you to another clinic.”
Suddenly a movie flashed through my mind where someone had gotten healed by Yeshua. I said to myself, “Maybe God healed me!”
I ran out of the clinic back up to Beit HaNitzahon and told the director what happened. I said, “I want to be accepted to your rehab program. I’m ready to give my life to Yeshua.” The director, a little bit afraid that maybe I wasn’t totally healed, told me there was another Messianic rehab place in Jerusalem and sent me there!
I was one of the first three people who God saved at this rehab center called Beit HaYeshuah. That was 12 years ago.
I entered the program which included three Bible studies and prayer meetings each day. It was here that I gave my all to Yeshua, and soon I was taking groups who too had been healed and delivered, out to the streets of Tel Aviv on a regular basis.
I then had tests on my liver, and I can report that I have received from Yeshua a brand new liver. I married Tina, a wonderful believer and co-worker, and we have a baby girl.
I am now director here. Last year eleven people were saved and successfully broke away from the chains of alcohol and drugs. We have also opened up a second center here in Jerusalem. When new believers are ready, we send them out to work in construction. We want to see them healed spirit, soul and body!
This article originally appeared in Maoz Israel Report, December 2016, and reposted with permission.