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.”
I was born in the communist island of Cuba in 1975, to a family of Sephardic ancestry and raised in a secular environment where I was taught, from my early school years, that God was the ‘opium of the peoples’. All mention and teaching about the God of the Bible was banned for decades by the socialist revolution.
From an early age, I searched for answers to the many existential questions I had. What would happen when we die? Why are we here? Who is God? When I was about twelve years old, I found the old Bible my great-grandmother had given my mother as a gift. She received this Bible from missionaries in Spain in the early 1900’s, before immigrating to Cuba. A Bible in communist Cuba as well as Catholic Spain was rare and hard to come by. God nevertheless arranged for me to have access to one!
I eagerly read the stories of Genesis, as well as Proverbs, the prophets and the book of Revelation. I was fascinated by the history, the wisdom and the prophecies contained in its pages. I searched to know the truths of God, but the more I read and learned, the more questions I had.
During that same time, and after many years longing for freedom from Communism, I promised God that if He would help me flee communism, I would follow and serve Him all the days of my life. I never forgot that promise and neither did He. A few years later, after many troubles with the regime and with the help of family living abroad, we were finally able to escape tyranny and immigrate to the United States.
During my first wonderful years in ‘the land of the free,’ I tried to fulfill my promise to God but did not really know how to. God knew I was incapable of keeping my promise on my own, so one beautiful autumn morning, when I was 21, and while attending Engineering School in Orlando, Florida, he sent a young campus evangelist to share with me the simple and powerful truths of the gospel. I was transformed by the Word of God and the love and knowledge of my God and Savior. I had finally found the answers I have been looking for all my life!
A few years later, and after much praying and waiting, God called me to return to the Land of my forefathers. For me, it was the fulfillment of the prophecies of old, and something I have earnestly desired since my youth. The first time I came to the Israel was in 2003, and I fell in love with it the moment I stepped out of the plane. I finally felt home. To my surprise, I also fell in love with a local Sabra believer I met while doing volunteering work at the village in which she grew up called Yad Hashmona. After 2 years of praying and seeking God’s will, we got married and have been blessed with 3 young boys. My wife works as a tour guide and I as an R&D engineer in the medical industry.
For me, returning to Israel was seeing the story of my family come full circle. From exile, to wandering in Spain throughout centuries of persecutions and the Inquisition, to a new life in North America, to God’s calling to return to the Land He promised us. It was a new beginning. It was a dream that had finally come true. It was a reminder of God’s faithfulness and love. It was to be a part of the fulfillment of prophecy in our day.
Living in Israel is not easy. Israel is country were you have to grow deep roots, in rocky soil, to find water. It is a country constantly fighting for its existence … economically, socially and militarily. Our resilience and ongoing regathering to the Land, against all odds, is a thorn in the side of our enemies. It is a constant reminder that God is sovereign, that He is faithful to His promises and that His love for His children is everlasting.
There is no other place I would rather be. There is no fulfillment anywhere else. There is a quiet joy in being back. There is peace in the midst of the storm. There is a deeply rooted hope, drawing living water from the rocky soil, that He will complete the good work He started in us, for His glory and honor.
We wait for the day He will return to dwell amongst us and establish His kingdom. Hallelu-Yah!