Russian Jewish people generally grew up with a strong cultural and ethnic identity as Jews, but knew nothing about God, the scriptures, or the Messiah. They were raised as atheists for the nearly 75 years under Soviet rule.
But, we now know that Russian Jews are hungry to know more about the Lord.
With the fall of the former Soviet Union more than one and a half million Russian Jews returned to Israel. This phenomenal movement among Russian-speaking Jews has especially been apparent in Israel, where most believers in Israel would say that 60% of the Messianic Jews within Israel speak Russian as their mother tongue!
Your Mission to the Jewish People has been a vital part of this movement; evangelizing, discipling, planting congregations and raising up leaders among the Israeli Russian Jewish believers. In fact, the Director of our Israel work is a Ukrainian Jewish believer who found Jesus in Israel after he and his wife emigrated!
Israel has provided wonderful opportunities and a new start for Jewish people who have come to the Holy Land from areas of the world where they were persecuted. This movement of Russian Jewish people to Israel has benefitted both the Russian Jewish émigrés and the nation of Israel. So many Russian-speaking Jewish people came with advanced degrees, expertise in the arts, technology, medicine and many other skills. These immigrants have enriched the nation of Israel.
Even so, many of these Russian Jewish people are elderly and in desperate financial straits, relying on welfare as many are too old to work and unable to learn Hebrew with adequate proficiency to continue their professions. We are sorry for the difficulties these sweet Russian Jewish people suffer, but their need has provided some marvelous opportunities for Chosen People Ministries to reach out and help them.
By God’s grace and because of your generosity, we have been able to provide food, clothing, company for the lonely, enrichment programs and so much more.
We also provide a significant amount of aid to Russian Jews, many of whom are Holocaust survivors, elderly and again…very lonely. Maxim Katz wrote to me about a recent trip he took with Russian Jewish Holocaust survivors —back to Poland!
We have found these trips to be a source of healing because the Polish Christians who serve the Lord at the retreat center causes the Russian Jewish people to re-examine their understanding of Christianity. Their memories before of Poland are terrible and traumatic, but they have learned from the Christians who serve them during these trips are very different kinds of Polish people— those who love Jesus as their Messiah and love the Jewish people.
This has made all the difference in the world for these Holocaust survivors and transformed their view of Jesus — as seen in the lives of His true Polish followers!
The following is what Maxim wrote to me. I left his English unedited as his first language is Russian, his second is Hebrew…English is his third!
I have recently returned from the trip to Poland with the Holocaust Survivors that took place May 25 – June 6. It was a group of 23 people from Ofakim, Ashdod, Haifa and some other towns in Israel. Everyone but one couple was new on the trip and I was a little worried how it is going to be.
We arrived early in the morning and spent a great day sightseeing Warsaw.
I do praise my Lord that everybody managed to come safely afterwards even though they are not that young from the outside. Starting from there we met the pastor from Warsaw and some other believers who joined us for the whole time letting the group learn about the true followers of Jesus.
Love and acceptance was the most heard and felt during this trip. Indeed, many people were amazed by an amazing love that hosts shined upon them. It was done in different ways: helping around, spending some time to listen to their stories, helping to get on and off the bus, doing feet massage while on the field trip and many more. This is something that changes the mindset.
The major topics that I spoke about were forgiveness, prayer and repentance. For the people who went through the darkest times and biggest afflictions one can ever imagine, it is hard to forgive and to accept that there is God who let that happen, moreover, that they should come back to this God. Yet, we encouraged them to think not of the question where God was in those terrible times but rather where I was. I am certain that many of them tried to forgive. Many of them prayed for the first time — to God…not yet accepting Jesus! This in itself was a great blessing and huge achievement.