On my back there was a Star of David pictured by somebody. On my table there was a piece of paper and it was written, “Go away from us to your Israel!” And listen, I didn’t want to go to Israel at that time. I was like a patriot of the Soviet Union. The kids in my class tried to beat me so I was seriously fighting with them, and they were telling me, “You are a dirty Jew”, or something like that. They were making fun of my last name because it didn’t sound Russian or Ukrainian, and it was in many cases related to the fact that I’m Jewish. It was painful. There is no God, but there are Jewish people, that’s actually the third generation of Jewish atheists in the former Soviet Union.
We kept our very strong Jewish identity – I don’t remember anybody in my family who was not Jewish. And we didn’t want to create any more troubles believing in God. So, no God. But Jewish people. And as the former Soviet Union began to collapse, we experienced such wonderful freedoms suddenly to be proud of being Jewish. I learned about the Holocaust for the first time. Some of my relatives died in Babi Yar during the Holocaust in Kiev. I started learning Hebrew. I became a very strong Zionist. I went to a synagogue not to worship God, but to have fellowship with other Jewish people.
My Zionist dream became true. I moved from Ukraine to Israel. As I arrived there, I was literally ready to kiss the land. But one day, I came to the Wailing Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. I was standing there, and I was a feeling, oh, I reached the destination that’s the highest moment of life! I came to the wall and I touched it. And I instantly believed in God. It was like electricity struck me. A couple of months later, I had to make a decision – I decided to ask God ,and the only way I knew was to write a note with my question, and put it in the Wailing Wall for God to read it. In my note I asked him about direction and guidance for my life. I promised that I will never complain about it.
The very next day, He sent me back to Ukraine. And I was complaining like crazy! It was a foolish promise. I’m on my way back to Ukraine, and somebody gives me the New Testament in Russian. And it was my main language at that time. It’s not for me – I’m Jewish. It’s not a Jewish book – not at all. But at the same time, it’s a book – I love books, I cannot say no to a book! So I took it. I have a Jewish friend. He was one of the most Jewish people I have ever met at that time. I appreciated my friend very much, and I respected him a lot. He was a really good friend for me at that time. He told me, “You’re a sinner! You’re going to hell, the only way to be saved is to believe in Jesus!” It’s crazy – I’m Jewish! I don’t believe in Jesus, and I’m not going to believe in Jesus. I considered the New Testament an anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish book. I was surprised as I opened it and started reading. It was full of Jewish history, Jewish humor, a Jewish worldview. It appeared to me even more Jewish than the Talmud. I didn’t consider myself as a sinner before – good education, good career, good, decent life, a Jewish angel! On that very day, I knew that I am a sinner. Something was wrong with me. I’m not as good as I thought I was. I never committed a serious crime, not because I was so good but because I was afraid of the consequences. I felt so dirty.
The very next day, I told my parents that I believe in Jesus, and I follow Jesus as the Messiah. They saw it as just for a season. A new, crazy idea that I had. With time, they learned to live with this. I realized Jesus is Jewish. He is the King of the Jews, He’s one of my
own people, He’s the ideal Jew, He’s the ideal Israel in a certain way. I became so proud and so happy to be Jewish
because we have such a Messiah, such a King, such an example to follow. Now I know that I have a personal relationship
with the God of Israel. I talk to Him, I know that I’m in His presence. He speaks back to me. I see His hand and His working in my life
on a daily basis. And it’s something like very deep peace inside of me, and in my soul. I can sense, I can feel this connection to Him. Connection that I never used to experience before that night of prayer.
Vladimir is One for Israel.
Choose Life, Avoid Hell
Please hear my prayer.
- I admit I'm a sinner in need of a Saviour – [Romans 3:10 / 3:23 / 6:23]
- I believe in my heart that Jesus/Yeshua is Lord – Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and rose again, paying in full the death penalty for my sin. [Romans 10:9-10]
- I call upon the name of the Lord and I confess with my mouth Jesus/Yeshua is Lord and I believe in my heart the God raised Him from the dead, so I will be saved. For it is with my heart that I believe, and am justified and it is with my mouth that I confess and am saved. [Romans 10:9-10 / 10:13]