Oasis Newsletter

Oasis Volume 13, Issue 6


An  interview  with  Andrey  and  Emmie,  leaders  of  Tents  of  Mercy Congregation Youth Group. They are married, have a one and a half year old daughter Hoshen, and are pregnant with their second child.

Andrey: I moved to Israel from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) at age 12, and two years afterward came to know Yeshua. I received a heart for the generation in Israel that does not know the Lord. Year by year I became increasingly connected with the people and the land of Israel, in spite of being a new immigrant. This happened in the spirit. I knew less of the Hebrew language and of the popular Hebrew TV programs than  the  teenagers  around  me,  but  the  connection  and  belonging began in the spirit, and started to reflect in other areas of my life. My first school year in Israel as a new immigrant was 8th grade. Out of 11 subjects, I received 8 failing grades due to my beginner’s Hebrew. At the completion of high school, I had learned the language well enough to graduate with honors.

I grew up attending Tents of Mercy Congregation. By the time I finished 12th grade, I was helping lead our youth group. At the same time,  I  had  started  a  youth  group for our sister congregation Shavei Tzion and was also participating in three different praise and worship teams. It was a busy season in my life, culminating in a period of equipping at Gateways Beyond Training School in Cyprus. Next I enlisted and served as a member of a tank unit in the Israeli army. By this time I was feeling quite rooted in the land. When I met Emmie – my wife to be – I was amazed to see that she had this adopted rootedness as well.

Andrey & Emmie with daughter Hashen

Andrey & Emmie with daughter Hashen

Emmie: I had already come to faith in Russia before moving to Israel at age 14. As a child, the main thing I had known about being Jewish, was that “Jew” was one of the curse words spoken by children at school. Even my mother barely knew that she was Jewish. The family had  tried  to  hide  their  lineage  after  my  great-grandmother  suffered greatly because of Soviet persecution of Jews.

At a certain point in time my mother’s friend suggested we move to Israel. Mother started to pray about this. She received the revelation that the Jews really were our people and began to speak with the rest of the family about making aliyah [immigrating to Israel]. I was in 8th grade when mother told me we might be moving to Israel. I had been accepted into an institute to learn jewelry making, and my life’s path [in Russia] was set out clearly before me. But I gave it a chance and prayed. Strangely enough, as I walked through the familiar streets of my home town, suddenly I felt I did not belong there anymore.

We started going to a Messianic Jewish congregation in Russia just before making aliyah, becoming accustomed to a more Jewish lifestyle and hearing some Hebrew.  I began participating in youth activities conducted by the Jewish Agency.

Then our plane landed in Israel. As we touched down in the dark of night, before I even saw the country in daylight, I felt I was home. However, the homecoming had some awkward moments. In my school in Tiberias, there was no  concept  of  trying  to  meet the  needs  of  new  immigrants. Three immigrant friends used to sit  with  me  in  shock  at  the  rear of  the  classroom, as  we  watched the  teacher  yell  and  unruly  kids overturn  tables.  In  Russia  I  had been  accustomed  to  a  culture  in which  pupils  dressed  in  formal uniforms,  and  stood  to  show respect  for  the  teacher  as  he  or  she  entered  the  classroom!  The education officials later transferred me to a kibbutz boarding school for new immigrants. By that time I already knew a good bit of the Hebrew language.

In spite of the cultural adjustments and loose morals around me, living in a kibbutz community was an enriching experience that helped me to adopt this land as my own. I received new revelations and a rooted perspective.  This continued in the army where I served as a teacher for underprivileged children and later as an officer. I took part in the emotionally sensitive army operation surrounding the withdrawal from Gaza.

Andrey:  Some who immigrated to Israel from the Russian republics, did so more to find new economic opportunities, than to take part in the prophetic restoration of Zion. When they realized how hard it was to start anew “from zero” as new immigrants in a new land with a different language and culture, many ended up leaving.

All together at Tel Hai

All together at Tel Hai

Imparting the Vision to our Youth

Andrey: At  age  17  when  I  began  to  teach  the  Bible  in  youth groups I made the [tough] choice to switch to reading the Bible only in  the original  Hebrew  language.*  [The  vocabulary  of  the  Hebrew Scriptures  is  2500  to  4000  years  old,  and  as  such  is  not  so  easily understandable, even to native speakers of Modern Hebrew.]

One of our biggest prayers for the youth is that they grow in their true identity, as sons and daughters of God, and as Jewish Israelis in this land. Until recently believers’ youth camps and ministries have focused  almost  solely  on  building  up  their  spiritual  lives.  Yet  the issue of Israeli identity is one the youth face every day. We want to strengthen their connection to this people and this land, as well as to the body of believers. Gradually this change is happening. A rooted identity is growing. They are beginning to see themselves less and less as immigrants or children of immigrants.

My recent training as a professional Israeli tour guide has given me  a  real  context  for  understanding  the people, the land and  the language, which I try to pass on to the teens. During youth activities, we  seek  to  integrate  the  Biblical  history  of  our  people  with  the modern history. I want them to see how prophecy is being fulfilled in the re-establishment of Israel in the land.

Youth group camp out

Youth group camp out

The  teens  are  experiencing  spiritual  growth,  both  in  our congregation  and  around  the  country.  Our  youth  group  is  slowly increasing in number. We want to equip the teens to share their faith with their peers. We have come into a season of more openness in society regarding religious beliefs. God is building an infrastructure for things to come, and we are praying for His strategy.

“…then  I  will  restore  to  the  people  a  chosen  language, that  all  may  call  upon  the  name  of  the  Lord,  and  may  serve him…” (Zephaniah 3:9).


*Andrey and Emmie’s pioneering stance regarding leaving behind their common mother tongue of Russian, and choosing to live and worship in Hebrew is significant, and indicative of the up – and – coming generation of indigenous New Covenant believers in Israel.


The latest Tents of Mercy congregational men’s gathering fell on “May Day” (International Workers’ Day). So it was decided to use the gathering to honor working men and our role as providers for our families.

Avi shared the theme through the verse, “It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him” (Ecclesiastes 5:18).

This was a poignant theme for a few reasons:

Most of the men in the congregation are immigrants who, because of language challenges or other issues, have not succeeded in getting the kinds of jobs that could push them firmly up into the Israeli middle class. For some it has been very hard to find and keep a job, even at minimum wage. Sometimes in order to simply be employed, older congregants have had to take work with very physically demanding and difficult duties. And for a few, the problem of finding work has become acute.

Also,  many  of  the  men  in  our  congregation  grew  up  in  Communist  countries  in  the former Soviet Union in which May Day was a huge national holiday. In modern Israel it is a very minor event on the calendar.

So  it  felt  right  to  use  the  irony  of  these  factors,  in  the  midst  of  challenging  economic conditions, to honor working men, and to celebrate and fellowship together, thanking God – the true provider.

One  brother  shared  about  how  his  family  and  children  had  been  praying  for  him  to  get  a  raise  at  work.  Then “out of the blue” his manager called him and told him the overseers had seen his work and decided to give him a significant financial perk that is rare for a non-management worker to receive.

And lastly, by the way, that verse in Ecclesiastes did say something about it being “good and fitting…to eat and drink.”So we enjoyed a nice barbeque and had great fun preparing food together and serving one another as brothers.


Rainbow  of  Sounds  Music  School is managed  by  Nina  Mazin  as  one  of  the  “Return  To Zion” ministries.

We started Rainbow of Sounds in 2010 with only a few instruments and a vision to offer

A budding violinist

A budding violinist

affordable, quality musical education to children from different backgrounds. In addition to the excellent benefits of musical training, we believe that many of the children we are teaching will make up the worship teams of tomorrow. With the help of faithful partners around the world, we have been able to increase the number and variety of instruments the children can play. Last fall we had thirty students enrolled and five instructors.

Learning how to play together

Learning how to play together

In 2012 we began a new program which assists children from financially challenged families, whose parents cannot afford the monthly tuition fee of $130.  There  are  many  talented  children  in  the families  that  receive  help  from  our  soup  kitchen. With all their youthful energy, one cannot expect pre-teens to stay at home and do nothing. They soon wander off to the streets.  I  strongly  believe  that  a childhood interest in music will help these pre-teens to  steer  away  from  all  sorts  of  anti-social  behavior later  in  life.  We  have  seen  that  it  is  worthwhile  to invest  in  these  young  lives  and  music  lessons  give them  an  outlet  for  their  energy.  Many have fallen in love with playing their instruments and prefer to stay at home and practice.

Yashar playing therapeutic piano

Yashar playing therapeutic piano

The  young  are  not  the  only  ones  who  benefit  from playing  an  instrument  and  it’s  never  too  late  to  begin.  In some instances music lessons can even be a rehabilitation tool,  as  in  the  case  of  Yashar  (“Upright”),  a  recovering alcoholic.  One day, when visiting our soup kitchen, he informed us of his lifelong dream to play the piano. Since then he has been an eager student in our music school who never misses a lesson. Enabling him to fulfill this musical dream of his heart has helped keep him on the narrow path in gaining victory over past addiction.

It is music students like these that greatly benefit from the support of our donors. We want to invite our ministry partners to sponsor lessons for these children. Would you like to join us in this special musical endeavor?

For more information, please write to info@shaveitzion.org.

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