Aid for Jews From the Former Soviet Union Who Have "Returned" To Israel Is Being Provided by Christi
"For Zion's Sake" has been established by Calvary Chapel of Jerusalem to
assist immigrants in their new homeland
By Dan Wooding
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (ANS) - Thousands of Jews from the former Soviet Union, who have "returned" to Israel, are being helped by a Christian ministry with food, clothes, medicine and even rent money, to give them a new start in their new homeland.
American-born Bradley Antolovich, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel of Jerusalem, a fellowship that hopes to bring the Word of God and the truth of Jesus (Yeshua) the Messiah to the Jewish people in Israel, has established "For Zion's Sake" ministry to help some of the one million Russian Jews who have emigrated to Israel since 1988. One in five Israelis is now Russian speaking.
"On May 2, 1999, we opened he first stage of our Warehouse Distribution Center, concentrating on gathering and distributing humanitarian aid for Olim (new immigrants) with an emphasizes on furniture distribution and other helps amongst the needy," explained Bradley Antolovich, who comes from Huntington Beach, California.
"The majority of the Olim arrive in Israel with only the clothes in their suitcases and the physical needs are staggering. The Jews from the former Soviet Union continue to return in their thousands each every month. Already, the social welfare infrastructure of Israel is overwhelmed and the clearly cannot handle to pressure of absorption alone. So that is where we come into the picture.
FIRST MOVED TO ISRAEL IN 1990
Bradley Antolovich was initially sent out as a missionary from Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, California, in 1990. "I moved to Jerusalem and began to minister amongst the Russian Jews that were pouring into Israel by the tens of thousands each month," he said. "They were, and still remain, the most open group of people in Israel to the Gospel."
In the fall of 1990, he accepted a volunteer position with a ministry called "Bridges for Peace" as Project Co-coordinator of their Soviet-Jewish department.
"During this time we visited over one thousand Jewish families to welcome them "home" to Israel in the Name of the Lord. After a year with Bridges, and shortly after the Gulf War, the Lord directed me to Russia for the next four years," Bradley explained.
"The focus of my calling in Russia was evangelism and teaching the Word of God amongst the Jewish communities throughout the former Soviet Union. I also helped establish the first Calvary Chapel in Moscow. It was during this time that I met and married my Jewish wife, Marianna, a professional Violinist from the Moscow conservatory. It was always in my heart to return to Israel one day, and soon after my marriage I began to see God leading me back to Jerusalem to establish a work through Calvary Chapel.
"In April of 1995, Marianna and I immigrated to Israel to begin our new lives as Israelis. With the blessing of Pastor Chuck Smith we started Calvary Chapel of Jerusalem in July of 1996."
"Our fellowship meets on Saturday and Wednesday evenings, with translation into Russian. Our worship team leads praise in 3 languages," said Bradley.
During my recent visit to Jerusalem with my wife Norma, I joined the congregation at Calvary Chapel of Jerusalem for a Saturday night worship service and afterwards, we were able to see first-hand the humanitarian distribution warehouse of "For Zion's Sake" ministry.
"This aid distribution provides us an obvious platform in our outreach and evangelism to the many new immigrants who have come home from the four corners of the earth," said Bradley. "We believe that a viable way of expressing the true love of Yeshua is in providing tangible and practical means for the special needs of the new immigrants, not only for those that have already moved to the land, but also for those that God has promised to bring.
"Our prayer is that the Holy Spirit will convict them of their need for Yeshua as Savior. They are also struggling with a new language and, until their language skills improve, unemployment. Please pray for them to not be discouraged in difficult circumstances."
NEWS SERVICE PROVIDED
Bradley said that another aspect of "For Zion's Sake" Ministry is their news service sent out over the World Wide Web, called the News Report From Jerusalem. "It is a way to communicate the facts of events from Israel from many Israeli sources here, as well as from first-hand eyewitness accounts," he said. "Many newsworthy items are neglected or promoted that often cast a biased view on what God is doing in Israel. The news service sends simply the facts."
Bradley and his wife Marianna have three daughters: Yael (8), Lirit (4) and Yonit (3), and a newborn son, Daniel, born on May 17th of 2001. "I feel very fortunate indeed to be able to be so blessed with my family and ministry given to me from God our Father," he said. "As I father my children I feel so much closer to the Father's heart. This helps me to see the mercy and love God has for all of us in His Son.
"Please pray for and with us, that God will be honored and that the blindness covering the eyes of the Jewish people will be removed (Rom.11: 25, 26)."