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Meeting with Reinhard Bonnke

Imagine closing out a week-long outreach trip with young adults with a pep talk from arguably the most successful evangelist in world history. Reinhard Bonnke is in Kiev for two days and it just happened to be the days that our team is here. Daniel Kolenda, who is being groomed to take over the ministry, opened the door for our team to come to their team devotions this morning. It is not that Pastor Bonnke is the greatest of motivators (although he is that), it is realizing that you are sitting before man who seen more than 50,000,000 people make professions of faith in Yeshua. He shared with us about not settling and leaning into faith. He told us to believe God for all that He has called us to! Don’t settle for 50% or even 75%, but press into God for 100% of what He has reserved for us. After 10 days of ministry here in Ukraine, I have to admit I was tired. However after his brief word of encouragement I was so inspired that I am ready to do it again. He shared about when, as a struggling missionary with very little fruit, the Lord told him that “Africa would be saved.” The other missionaries mocked him, but he believed. He had no reason to believe. Not much was happening in his ministry 50 years ago. But he pressed in and trusted the Lord and now 50 years and 50,000,000 souls later, at age 70, he is seeking to inspire a new generation of young evangelists. It was the perfect ending to an amazing week in which so many of you played a role.

Blown Away in Berdichev

Eleven years ago I sat in my apartment in Odessa wondering why God had sent me there. Working with the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute was wonderful, but I just had a feeling there was more. Jonathan Bernis came to teach at the MJBI and over dinner suggested that we spearhead an outreach and congregational plant. I asked where? He said, either Berdichev or this other city. For the life of me I cannot tell you what the name of the other city was, as it became clear that God was calling us to go to Berdichev.

Danielle dancing at the Berdichev in 1999

With the help of so many people (MJBI, Valentine Sviontek, Anton Antonovich and his son Misha, congregations in Kiev and Nicoleav) we moved forward. On the last day we laid hands on Vadim and Fayina as the founding pastors. What I saw yesterday blew me away. I was in tears as I saw one of most healthy Messianic congregations I have ever seen. Even though our team led worship, you could see that this is a worshiping congregation. They have a vibrant group of young people that came out and danced Jewish dances. Two young ladies sang Hatikva (Israeli national anthem). The violinist that played with our team was wonderful. And Dima, the worship leader (the same one from 11 years ago) had his young son, maybe eight years old, play the bongos. People came up to me saying that I immersed them in water ten years ago on a visit. One woman brought pictures of her immersion and there I was taking her into the water, with lighting flashing all around us. It was on that day that learned that Ukrainians don’t fear lighting like Americans. I was terrified, but didn’t want to show my fear (of being electrocuted!!!) as no one else seemed concerned. When Vadim got up to share for about 10 minutes before I preached, I could not believe that this man of authority, wisdom and passion, was the same shy twenty-nine-year-old who barely said a word. He stands in the pulpit like a man who belongs there. Last year he and Fayina adopted two Jewish boys. Their father was in prison and the mother was a drug addict.

Preaching in Berdichev at the festival in 1999

The older boy, four at the time, would open and close the door over and over again to play—that’s it. The baby, 5 months old when they got him, was yellow from hepatitis C. Now he is healed. And if you see these boys today, you would assume that they were always in a loving family. While we had very little to do with the success of the congregation, that didn’t stop me from feeling like a proud papa and having an amazing sense of satisfaction. When the service was over I was met by the man who may have had more to do with their success than anyone—Pastor Leonid.

Pastor Leonid and I eleven years ago at the end of the Berdichev festival

When we came to Berdichev, we sought out a pastor with a heart for Israel. We found Leonid, a true apostolic leader. Virtually all the founding members of the Berdichev Messianic Congregation came from his church with his blessing. He let go of key leaders and a talented and anointed worship leader. He continues to play an advisory role in the congregation, even while he pastors his own church, plants a new one and is in the midst of building a 24/7 prayer center in little Berdichev. Leonid came out to dinner with us and poor Miri, our Israeli interpreter was just about wiped out when the day was over. Somehow she found time to eat her fish as she switched from Russian to Hebrew all night long. Even though Miri is fluent in English she always would interpret from Hebrew (except when I was preaching), which forced me to use my Hebrew. I even preached a little in Hebrew and she would interpret into Russian. During the service we had ‘Y’ (pictured)

"Y" sharing his testimony in Berdichev

share his testimony. His father is a rabbi in Jerusalem. After a long search he found Yeshua. He is a new believer with a gift. Eli Birnbaum, one of our leaders preached for 10 minutes about the power of God to take whatever you have and multiply it visavis the fish and the loaves. And then I had the opportunity to share. Afterward our team prayer for everyone there. It was a wonderful day.

Back Home in Israel

Whew…on the one hand I am feeling the limitations of this Jar of Clay. On the other, I can wait to take another team to Ukraine and Africa. It challenges me to stay in shape physically and focus on my diet. At 45 there is no question that my body is not as excited about sleeping on trains as it was at 25. Nevertheless, there is grace. It is always strange entering back into ‘civilian life’ after going on a trip like this. You immediately struggle with depression because you miss the people in the other country. In addition you miss the team members that you ate, slept, ran after trains, preached, prayed and lived with for the last 10 days. Thank you all for standing with us. There were many times where it didn’t look like we would have the funds to pull this off. There were days when I wondered why I was even doing this—trying to raise the funds to take Israelis on outreach trips. And once out of the boat, walking on water, there were many moments where I was sinking like Peter. But the Lord reached out His hand and pulled me up. He provided. He used so many of you. May the Lord let you share in the reward. To the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8), Ron Cantor

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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

Dear Friends,

When some of the team members told me that it was packed, I really thought they were joking. I went out to see and the entire lower section and most of the balcony was full! Over 600 were in attendance.

Before the Outreach

The first night was really perfect! THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS! The rain stopped just in time for the meeting.

People in this part of the world love to celebrate their heritage. And Jewish life and culture is part of the tradition here. The goal of the first night was to celebrate Jewish life in Ukraine and Israel. We had professional Messianic dancers, music groups, several amazing musician, skits and of course our team of musicians from Israel—which they loved.

During the Outreach

My message was purposely not evangelistic but more prophetic and historical. I shared on “A Land, A Language and Liberty.” I spoke on points 1 and 2 last night—the miracle of the nation of Israel and the resurrection of the Hebrew language. I invited everyone to come back tonight to hear about Liberty!

What we didn’t know was the Ukrainian KGB was there as well. They questioned Roman,the host of the conference and the leader of the Messianic congregation. They wanted to know why we were offering a free concert…of course tonight we will offer more than a free concert, but the free gift of God, eternal life. It only proved the low-key strategy correct, as they would have shut us down. After tonight, it doesn’t really matter. We will be on a bus to Berdichev for ministry tomorrow.

Tonight we will proclaim the good news of Messiah in power!

Next Shabbat the Messianic congregation will host a special meeting for newcomers. They printed 50 invitations and already more than that want to come. Hallelujah—this was our goal, not just to come here and minister, but to build up the local congregation.

Below are the same prayer points from yesterday.

Please pray:

  1. For unity amongst all the leaders, both Ukrainian and Israeli.
  2. Against EVERY ATTACK of the enemy—spiritual and physical.
  3. For the families of all who are involved (and please remember Yael and Danielle, our daughters who are in Israel) for divine protection.
  4. For SOULS! Pray that Jews and non-Jews from all over the region pack out the facility. Pray that once there, the gospel will break through all the hardness and blindness that has enslaved them all their lives.
  5. We have lots of different worship teams and dance troupes involved: please pray that everyone gets along, and walks in the fruit of the Spirit and puts the kingdom first.
  6. Against all opposition to these meetings. There is a possibility the leading rabbi could seek a legal right to shut us down.
  7. For good weather. I woke up to sunlight beaming through the window. But in just the last hour, storm clouds have moved in. In a country where many don’t have cars and can’t afford taxis, weather can be the difference. Pray for clear skies.
  8. For ANOINTING on all the speakers and interpreters as the gospel goes forth.

Thank you so much for taking your stand with us as we seek to contend for the gospel of Yeshua the Messiah here in Ukraine. We look forward to sending out a good report at the conclusion of the outreach!



How would you like to play a powerful part in this outreach—or should I say pray a powerful part? Please keep reading.

We arrived in Chemelnitsky at 2:40 AM this morning. It became clear after we arrived that the enemy had been stirred up. The pastor’s car of the Messianic congregation that is hosting the festival outreach completely stopped working. Furthermore, several people in the congregation were having conflicts connected to the outreach. It was clear that others were dealing with various trials.

Jamie Hilsden leads worship in pre-Outreach meeting in Chemelnitski

This is par for the course. The enemy doesn’t take these things lying down. Why would he want an outreach to the Jewish people of this city to be successful? Trials, temptations and tribulations are part of the believing life according to Yeshua (Matthew 13, parable of the sower).  But if we keep our hearts pure nothing can stop the move of God. The great evangelist Charles Finney said that outside forces can’t stop a move of God; only when the body begins to turn on each other and tolerate jealousy, pride, gossip and the like can a revival be hindered.

We had a meeting tonight with the congregation where we were able to encourage the people with these thoughts. Once again our worship team from Israel was so endearing to the people. They just entered in. I am so pleased and proud of how God has prepared them and is using them.

We shared a word on the fact that we have to fight back. God has given us authority (Luke 10:19) and we must use it. This led to a powerful time of warfare prayer. When it was over we prayed for pastor Roman and his wife Natasha. Roman was so touched by the power of God he could barely stay on his feet. I could see that he needed this refreshment as he has been carrying the weight of this festival for months. Afterwards he just sat in a chair overwhelmed by the presence of God.

Then our team prayed for all those gathered. When the meeting was done there was a sense that we had broken through—but only for tonight. Tomorrow is a new day, and we must take up arms again and continue to contend for the entire outreach.

I want to ask you if you would consider taking 30 minutes over the next two days (Thursday and Friday) and pray for this outreach. If we can get a few hundred people across the globe that bear witness to this cause to intercede with us, it can make a huge difference. Prayer does change things! Your prayers can bring Jewish people to Yeshua! And don’t forget that there will be many non-Jews coming to this outreach.

Please pray:

  1. For unity amongst all the leaders, both Ukrainian and Israeli.
  2. Against EVERY ATTACK of the enemy—spiritual and physical.
  3. For the families of all who are involved (and please remember Yael and Danielle, our daughters who are in Israel) for divine protection.
  4. For SOULS! Pray that Jews and non-Jews from all over the region pack out the facility. Pray that once there, the gospel will break through all the hardness and blindness that has enslaved them all their lives.
  5. We have lots of different worship teams and dance troupes involved: please pray that everyone gets along, and walks in the fruit of the Spirit and puts the kingdom first.
  6. Against all opposition to these meetings. There is a possibility the leading rabbi could seek a legal right to shut us down.
  7. For good weather. I woke up to sunlight beaming through the window. But in just the last hour, storm clouds have moved in. In a country where many don’t have cars and can’t afford taxis, weather can be the difference. Pray for clear skies.
  8. For ANOINTING on all the speakers and interpreters as the gospel goes forth.

Thank you so much for taking your stand with us as we seek to contend for the gospel of Yeshua the Messiah here in Ukraine. We look forward to sending out a good report at the conclusion of the outreach!

Dear Friend,

Your prayers are being answered and your giving has not been in vain!

It is Sunday evening and my eyelids are asking my brain for permission to close up shop for the night. I am so pleased with how things are going! While the main part of this trip is the outreach in Chemelnitsky, we have been busy ministering in different messianic congregations and churches.

Shabbat morning we were back in Odessa, the city where we lived for a year in 98/99. It has changed so much. I was here in January, but for Sharon and Elana it was the first time they have been here in 10 years. They were overwhelmed. The city is beautiful with its cobblestone streets and pre-communism architecture. Old gray buildings have been restored to their original beauty. What hasn’t changed is the hunger for God that the people display here.

In both services, Saturday and Sunday, our Israeli worship team taught Ukrainian believers songs in Hebrew. Both Jamie Hilsden and Avi Goldman did an excellent job of getting the people involved in singing and worshiping despite speaking a foreign language. Even with the cultural barrier there was such a strong anointing.

Miri, our only Russian-speaking Israeli shared a powerful testimony of how she immigrated to Israel at 18 as an unbeliever seeking a better life. Her mother began to witness to her, but only when she realized she had a tumor in her leg did she begin to seek the Lord. She received complete supernatural healing and then came to faith. Being the only team member who knows both Hebrew and Russian, she interpreted for several team members as they shared in Hebrew.

After we preached the word, the power of God touched the people. Some with demons were delivered, and dozens were refreshed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Many on our team had never laid hands on people, but God moved mightily through them and they were amazed.

Our daughter Sharon turned 21 yesterday, so we went to a beautiful restaurant in a courtyard, facing the Opera House. It was really amazing. It was like a scene in Paris, except the price was about 90% cheaper! Just a few dollars will buy you dinner in a nice restaurant. Most of all, Sharon and the whole team really enjoyed the time together.

This morning (now Monday) we ministered at the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute. Afterward we had a team meeting, where Avi, one of our young leaders, debriefed the group on what happened yesterday when God moved through them. As excited as they were, they had questions. This led to a great discussion on how to pray for people and release the presence of God. This is what the Isaiah 2 Initiative is all about: Discipling Israelis in an atmosphere of Revival!

Tomorrow we head to Chemelnitsky for the outreach. Believers are already there handing out invitations to the festival, and others from different cities will come to support it. Worship teams and dance troupes from other Ukrainian Messianic congregations will join with us in seeking to reap a Jewish harvest in this city.

PLEASE KEEP US IN PRAYER:
ANOINTING, POWER, HUMILITY AND FAVOR! PRAY THAT PEOPLE WILL COME, JEWS AND GENTILES AND THAT THE GOOD NEWS OF YESHUA WILL GO FORTH IN POWER!

Thank you! We could not be here without your partnership. You are a part of the Isaiah 2 Initiative. Bless you all from Ukraine!

To the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8),

Ron Cantor

We are still in need of funds to for our general budget. You giving has made a huge difference. We are almost there! Click here to make a tax deductible donation to Messiah’s Mandate. Your partnership is essential.

FOXNews.com – Syria Gave Scuds to Hezbollah, U.S. Says.

My old front door 🙂

Deribasovskaya street, the famous Walking Street in Odessa, where we lived

The old steps that we once called Mount Stinkmore have been redone that lead to my apt.

My old address, 19 Deribosovskya Steet, Apt 4a

Church in Odessa

City Center

I think this is where our congregation used to meet.

Fred in the corner

More architecture

Too bad it wasn't sunny

I can't believe how resored the city is.

More color in the city

One of the renovated squares

Amazing 1800s Architecture

Colorful Crosswalk

Me, trying to get the picture taken before getting run over!

Road Work

Odessa Renovations

The courtyard in my apartment building

The is the McDonalds that was build ten years ago right next to my apartment

Wifi in Odessa!

Bakery on the Walking Street

Bakery on the Walking Street

A Church

Pensioners Play Checkers under a covering in the cold rain

Renovations

Odessa Architecture

Meat Market

Cow Tongue anyone?

Meat!

Dogs freely roam in the meat market.

Fish (I think!) in the Market

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