Messianic believers in the land also have inspiring and even miraculous stories to tell about moving here. Hence we are delighted to present a new feature in Kehila News, “Why I Chose to Make Israel My Home.”
As I contemplate my life, I can say, with all conviction, that the best place you can find yourself is in the center of God’s will, and though sometimes we don’t choose our direction in life, being open to God’s chosen path can make all the difference.
I came from a Jewish home, and, at a relatively young age, my mother, although being happily married, she began pondering the meaning of life, searching for more. Consequently, she began to examine other faiths and philosophies. This all led her to finding the Lord or, as she likes to put it, Him finding her.
We attended a home group of Messianic believers, and it eventually grew to be a congregation.
My mother had always had a deep love for Israel and had volunteered on a kibbutz as a young adult. Apparently, she never recovered from the Israel bug, and, as a believer, felt a clear call to return to Israel, as a family.
My first visit to Israel took place when I was a young teenager. We did an organized tour and visited many places, but my favorite was clearly a beautiful southern city by the sea. I fell in love with that city, with its Mediterranean-style villas and Spanish-tiled rooves, with its wide open spaces and beautiful beaches.
The tour ended, but we stayed on, traveling to different cities and viewing real estate options with the intention of buying a home and eventually immigrating. We didn’t find anything suitable, and I was appalled by the dilapidated appearance of some of the houses and apartments that we saw in our price range. Even as a child, I had a keen sense of aesthetics and having been used to the beauty and comfort of my life in Canada, it was my hope that my standard of living would not change too drastically.
Upon returning home, I’d made my decision. I told my parents that I’d be willing to move to Israel, but only under certain conditions. I said that we must live near the Mediterranean, in the particular southern city with which I’d fallen in love, or a city similar in appearance, and that our new home must be either a single home or a two-story penthouse apartment. I realized, even then, that my conditions were completely absurd, but little did I know that God was going to actually use those conditions in order to confirm his will to me.
A couple of years later, my parents again traveled to Israel to try to find us a home. They searched quite a bit but were unable to find a suitable home.
It was at the end of their trip that my father called an old high school friend just to catch up. This friend, coincidentally, lived in the city that I loved. She invited my parents over and offered to have her husband, a contractor, show them around different properties in the area.
Within one day, my parents bought a beautiful, two-story penthouse apartment, one kilometer from the sea, in the city where I wanted to live.
Only God could engineer such an unlikely scenario. Even as I was making my demands, which were ridiculously unreasonable, God was working, both in me and in the situation. He was making sure that even as a teenager, I’d be content here and that I would always have that incredible gift to look back upon.
Saying goodbye to my friends and to my life in Canada was bittersweet. I was leaving everything familiar behind for a foreign land with a strange culture and a language I barely understood.
Although I did make friends fairly quickly, the first challenge was having to adapt to everything, and since I came as a teenager, it was not easy, but the Lord always saw me through. I went directly into the 10th grade, and only felt I had a decent grasp of the language (and of everything going on around me) by the time I was ready to graduate three years later. So although I felt as if I was only limping along, I somehow managed to achieve a very good grade average which easily qualified me for a good university program.
I enlisted into the army ten days after my high school graduation ceremony, and I can say that my army service had its challenging moments, but I had a strong sense that everyone should serve their country one way or another. Looking back, I know that my time there contributed to the development of other abilities. The most life-changing experience for me in the army was realizing just how much could be fit into the span of five minutes, let alone an entire day. Anyone who’s ever been a soldier will know what I’m talking about.
Once I returned to civilian life, I deliberated what I should study. There were many things that interested me, and although I seriously considered a career in fashion (not a career for believers, I thought), in the end I opted to study nutrition. I obtained a Bachelor’s and then a Master’s Degree. Upon completing my Master’s, I had difficulty finding a job closeby in my field of molecular biology.
The Lord – completely, unexpectedly – brought me to Jerusalem to teach in one of the only Messianic schools in the country. I worked there for three years and really loved the kids, but it was clear to me that teaching wasn’t my ultimate calling. One year into teaching, I applied for an administrator’s position at a Jerusalem-based ministry and was hired. I eventually left the school and took on more hours in the ministry, where I’ve remained for the past decade.
Recently, the Lord has opened up a new and exciting opportunity. He returned me to my love of fashion, and within the last year, I have been able to open up my own personal styling business. I help women find clothes that make them look and feel beautiful, taking into consideration not only their physical attributes, but also their personalities, helping them elevate their own styles. It’s not a common occupation in believing circles, where the reigning attitude towards clothing tends to be that the interior is more important than the exterior, but we are complex beings, and working in this field, I’ve discovered just how much the interior affects the exterior and vice versa. No matter how much confidence is projected outwardly, you never know what’s going on deep down inside of a person. Talking clothes with someone can sometimes be a very healing process for them.
Today, my biggest challenge, and that of many female believers in Israel, is being single. Occasionally, my thoughts drift to the fact that I’d have an easier time finding a husband had I remained in Canada, but when those thoughts come to mind, I am reminded of that two-story penthouse by the sea that God brought to my parents even though they weren’t looking in that city at all. It is a great reminder that God is sovereign, that He loves me and is my provider and that He has not forgotten me. I also hold firmly to the prophecies of the Word of God, promising the return of the Jews back to their land. I am excited to be part of that, here in the land of my forefathers.