Teaching, Training, Touching Lives

October 10 2010

When autumn rolls around, I take stock in the small beginnings of the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute 14 years ago. It was during this season that my family, along with Valentin and Tatyana Sviontek and their kids, landed on the shores of Odessa, Ukraine. Bonnie and I couldn’t have pioneered the first school in 1996 without the stability, cultural knowledge, and hard work of the Sviontek family. They inspired us

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August 25 2010

Remember the movie, Contact, starring Jody Foster? I loved this line, when she was traveling through space and beholding wonders and beauty unlike anything on earth, “They shouldn’t have sent a scientist to describe this, they should have sent a poet.” Nice compliment from the scientist to the poet!  As a little girl, I sat on the front porch at night and fell in love with the stars. My memories

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July 10 2010

Weaving is as old as civilization and hard to pinpoint exactly when and who developed it. The earliest fragments of cloth found in Israel date back to BC 3000, preserved in tombs or crypts. It is thought that the Jewish people who migrated to Africa from ancient Israel brought the skill and knowledge of weaving to Ethiopia. The secrets to this ancient art have been handed down in Ethiopia from

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May 26 2010

The city lights of St. Petersburg shone brightly against the dark night as our plane circled the airport. As we landed, my heart quickened at the thought of the Good News speeding through the Land of the North–the land that we have grown to love so very much. When we settled in our hotel room, I wrote these words in my diary: “Bonnie and I are back in St. Petersburg,

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April 28 2010

A few years ago, Scott Lewis, owner of Scott Machinery, heard Bill Bright challenge people to give one million dollars to the Great Commission. Scott laughed when he pondered the amount. His own machinery business generated an annual income of less than $50,000. The year before Scott gave $17,000 to Gospel outreach, but Bill Bright encouraged him to increase the amount to $50,000. Scott took the challenge, and God provided

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March 03 2010

Greetings from Israel! Bonnie and I are studying daily in an Ulpan (Hebrew language school) in Jerusalem. Bonnie spoke Hebrew quite well years ago when she lived in Israel on a kibbutz. Her teacher now wanted to put her in level four, but she requested to go to level three. I am a beginner at level one. It is fun, stretching, and good for us to share together. We recently returned

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January 27 2010

Shock waves rippled through Europe’s fourth-largest Jewish community when the Hungarian extremist party, Jobbik, (meaning for a better Hungary) rose from the fringes of political life to capture 13 percent of Hungary’s vote in European Union parliamentary elections last June.  Jobbik is growing in popularity and may acquire a significant presence in Hungarian elections scheduled in 2010. A former high school history teacher, Gabor Vona is the leader of Jobbik. Though

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September 16 2009

On the streets of Israel, many languages are spoken in addition to Hebrew-French, English, Russian, Romania, Polish-just to mention a few. Israel is teeming with immigrants from many countries-the dispersed that were scattered have made their journey home. It stirs my heart to see Jewish people that have made aliyah (“ascension” meaning immigration). They are the fulfillment of prophecy that God would gather and bring them back to their roots.

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August 09 2009

I have been savoring Brother Lawrence’s book, “The Practice of the Presence of God,” and have been impacted by its timeless message of spiritual intimacy through the mundane rituals of life. This quote moved me to tears, “… the trust we put in God honors Him and draws down great graces… it is impossible not only that God should deceive but that he should long let a soul suffer that

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July 09 2009

I am writing this letter from Ethiopia-a land mentioned throughout the Bible from Genesis 2 to Acts 8. One cannot come here without sensing the profound destiny upon this great country.  The Queen of Sheba first brought Judaism and the fear of the one true God here, and the Ethiopian eunuch brought the truth of the Messiah.   Did you know there is a strong remnant of Ethiopian Jews still in

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June 17th 2009

Her angelic voice wowed the judges, the audience, and the world… “I dreamed a dream in time gone by… when hope was high and life worth living…” Overnight sensation and contestant on Britain’s Got Talent TV show, Susan Boyle belted out the famous song from “Les Miserables,” and a star was born! The most compelling draw of Susan’s performance was not her obvious talent alone… rather her brilliant song choice.

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May 13th 2009

Jewish communities have lived in Ukraine for centuries and shaped many of today’s most distinctive Jewish theological and cultural traditions.  These communities flourished at some periods and at other times faced intense anti-Semitic discrimination and persecution. One of the most notorious “Jew-killers” of all times was the Ukrainian Cossack, Bohdan Khmelnytsky.  He led fellow Cossacks to revolt by telling them that the Poles had sold them as slaves “into the

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March 5th 2009

They boo and hiss when they hear the name: “Haman.” In the month of March, Jewish people around the world are reading the biblical story of Purim (Hebrew word for “lots”). When the villain, Haman, is mentioned, the crowd goes wild—shaking graggers or noisemakers and booing. With color and gusto, they celebrate the beautiful story of deliverance—how Esther risked her life by pleading with the king against the evil scheme

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January 20th 2009

“I don’t believe in God, but I miss him.” I find this quote by contemporary English writer, Julian Barnes, intriguing… and evidently others do as well—it is splashed all over the Internet—many are writing blogs and articles about those eight words. They poignantly depict doubt and faith at once and are a true reflection of a godless, conflicted society—that looks at war, poverty, catastrophic events, death, and doubts God’s existence

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