It is two minutes before 11:00 PM and we are on a bumpy road on the way from Chemelnitsky to Berdichev. We just finished the second and most crucial night of the Jewish outreach.

I shared a simple message. Referring to the night before, where I spoke of the Land of Israel and the Language of Hebrew, I shared that it is interesting that the majority of religious Jews and all the religious leaders were against both. Despite the resistance (boycotting the first meeting of World Zionists Congress in Basil and excommunicating Ben Yehuda, the Father of modern Hebrew, from Judaism) both came into existence. Israel is a nation and Hebrew is the language.

If the rabbis missed it on two of the most crucial issues in Jewish history, then maybe they were also mistaken in their conclusion on Yeshua, I suggested.

From there I shared my testimony to the approximately 500 that gathered and then a straightforward gospel message.

This road is too bumpy! Too be continued…

Now in Berdichev, in the hotel café overlooking the train station (that had no shortage of trains all night long!)

After the message, I asked my interpreter Miri to share her testimony. She didn’t come on the trip to be an interpreter, but she is our only Hebrew/English/Russian/Ukrainian speaker on the trip and was asked by the organizers of the festival to interpret.

She moved to Israel from Ukraine when she was 18. A few years later her mother was born again and began to share with her the gospel. She told her mom she was not interested. However not long after that, she developed a tumor in her leg. Her mother when to a special healing service in Kiev and received prayer for Miri. That very evening Miri was healed. The tumor simply disappeared! She could not deny Yeshua’s power after that and became a believer.

After her testimony we gave a low-key call to salvation. Because there were KGB agents there (How weird and ‘cold war’ is that?), we knew that people would be reticent to come forward. So I simply asked them to prayer with me a prayer of salvation.

Let me say here that once it became clear that I was preaching Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah, about 20 people sporadically got up and left. While I would have preferred that they had stayed and heard the message, it was confirmation that there was no doubt of whom I was speaking.

When the invitation was given I asked people to pray out loud if they wanted to receive Yeshua. Both Roman, the congregational leader, and one of our young adult leaders estimated that about half the crowd prayed with me. Next week we will know better the fruit when the congregation meets. Like I said in my last letter, there has been much interest from those who came to the outreach in attending the congregation. Roman, who has been sowing in Chemelnitsky for several years was overjoyed and everyone felt that the whole festival was a great success. There was no doubt that there were many Jewish people there that didn’t leave and some of them were leaders in the Jewish community.

One young man who came to me, speaking broken Hebrew the night before—so excited about our being there from Israel—caught my eye as the program was closing. He was an orthodox Jew (Chabadnik) who lived in Israel for a short time. As I was preaching I saw him on the front row. I was waiting to see his reaction when it became clear—and it was clear—that we were preaching about Yeshua. No reaction—he just kept listening, looking around the whole time, probably to see how others were reacting. Like I said, at the end of the evening he made eye contact with me and was all smiles; like this was the most enjoyable two evenings of his life.

One thing that was clear was that the people loved the presentation that the Messianic believers put on. Other than those twenty who left, the people, both before and after the message were clearly with us. I went and sat with the crowd for the last few songs and it was all joy and smiles. The past performer was a man named Yuri. He sang Jewish cultural songs and everyone loved him. He got all the participants on the stage together. It was so funny watching many from our team, including Elana and Sharon, up there dancing. Fortunately I was in the front row watching and wasn’t recruited as part of the impromptu dance.

This was definitely not Nigeria, where we simply got up and proclaimed Yeshua the Savior and Healer to the thousands who gathered. There, the secret police were actually part of our team to protect us! Jewish outreach is always more complicated. While the enemy hates everyone, he has a special hatred for the Jewish people. He is no dummy, and he understands that Jewish revival is a sign of the end times and a sign of his soon demise.

In fact, had the bus that we were on when I started this letter been about 10 seconds faster, I would be writing this from a hospital bed—if writing at all. On the way to Berdichev, a car about ran a stop sign at about 70 MPH. I watched as he crossed the main road that we were on with no hesitation whatsoever. Just a little closer and he would have come smashing into our bus. Most of the team didn’t notice as I was in the front, but the driver let out a gasp, as did I.

It is just a reminder of how fragile and weak we are, utterly dependent upon the Lord’s grace. The 30 second prayer we uttered as the bus pulled out, asking for angelic protection, knowing the enemy would be looking to counter punch, proved to be affective.

BERDICHEV!

What a joy it is to finally be back here after so long. I don’t know if anything we have done in ministry has bore more fruit than the Messianic festival in Berdichev. The Berdichev congregation is a thriving community today. And we take no credit other than accidently choosing the right couple to lead the congregation. This Jewish couple led a home group in a local charismatic church and told us in 1999 that would be willing to lead the new congregation for maybe a year, but that they were immigrating to Germany. At that time Germany had opened its door to Russian and Ukrainian Jews and Vadim and Fayina weren’t going to miss that opportunity for a better life.

Eleven years later Vadim and Fayina are still here 🙂 and are now veteran Messianic leaders, respected throughout the Messianic movement in Ukraine. My friend Masha told me that the Berdichev congregation has the best worship in the country. We won’t get to worship with their team today because they have asked Jamie Hilsden and our team from Israel to lead worship.

Jamie was with us in Africa and when I told him that we were going to Ukraine, and about their commitment to excellence in the arts, he was eager to put together an anointed and professional worship team, which he has. Wherever we have been throughout the week, the people have fallen in love with them.  I will ask Sharon to try and get some video up this week of their ministry here.

Berdichev like most other cities here has changed. Even though we arrived late last night—this morning actually!—I can tell just from our hotel room that the city has had a makeover. The room is new and clean and our shower actually has one of those systems that shoots water from every direction. Of course it doesn’t work and the water was cold, but just the fact that they have it!

We are thrilled to be here and I am trusting the Lord that today’s ministry will be anointed. We will seek to send out a final report once we return to Israel. I can’t thank you all enough for praying for us, sowing financially into this effort and encouraging us with your emails. What a joy it is to partner with you for His kingdom. Please keep us in prayer over the next few days, as the enemy will no doubt seek to discourage us. Thank you. You are true partners!

For the Isaiah 2 Team,

Ron Cantor

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