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God is Alive and Well in Tel Aviv!

 
  Monthly Report: 12/1/1998  
 

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He was a handsome Tel Aviv business man. She was beautiful, poised and smart. They walked down the aisle to forever leave their old life behind. This is their story.

Yossi (Yoseph) Moses was born near the beach in the oldest section of Tel Aviv. A micro of all Israel, this neighborhood bustled with immigrants from everywhere: Yemen, Iran, Bulgaria, Iraq, to name a few. His father was from the proud desert country of Aden, while his mother was brought by boat from Yemen as an infant.

Yossi grew up with five sisters in a warm, religious, but very poor, family. His father, a policeman, went next door every morning and evening to pray at the synagogue. A thin wall separated the house of prayer from their home, and the sounds of chanting Psalms was as much a part of his small room as his bed.

BUSINESS WITH RUSSIANS AND PALESTINIANS

When Yossi finished the army in 1977, he had one goal to be rich! Working as a clerk in an insurance company, he studied the required courses for a career in insurance, and to his delight found he was enormously successful in sales. Soon he owned an insurance company and with his profits he bought other businesses- a pub, nightclub, garage, restaurant, boutique, and a public relations firm. He then entered the world of middlemen for imports, buying and selling such commodities as diamonds with Russian dealers. His contacts eventually led him to a bourgeoning business with Palestinians.

He married a local girl, introduced her to the world of insurance, and she became a very successful insurance partner. He bought a beautiful penthouse in downtown Tel Aviv, drove a Mercedes, relaxed in his yacht and traveled the world. Yossi had it all- an abundance of wealth and dreams that all came true.

Yossi was always a generous man and lent money to many friends who came with outstretched hands. Once a friend in business asked him to cosign for a note of 60,000 shekels, an equivalent of $24,400 in 1992. Yossi was happy to help, knowing that even if the new business venture were not successful, Yossi could absorb the loss. What Yossi did not detect was that the contract included an obscure clause stipulating that the co-signer is responsible for any future debt his friend might incur.

This ridiculous clause forced so many innocent parties into bankruptcy that the Knesset finally passed a law forbidding banks to continue such practices. But For Yossi, it was too late. In 1994, agents from the bank came to Yossi's door to collect his friend's debt (which today stands somewhere around three quarters of a million dollars, including fines.) All of this became Yossi's debt. Amid his financial difficulties, his marriage began to sour.

In the same year, the Israeli stock market took the greatest nose-dive in the history of the Jewish state, and Yossi lost considerable capital. His broker told him not to worry-the market had bottomed out. Now was the time to invest twice as much in order to recoup his losses. So he bit the bullet and bought twice as much stock, but the market continued to spiral downward, and he again lost his new investment.

Respected market experts explained that this time was for real. If Yossi would reinvest now, he could recoup all of his losses on the rebound. So he borrowed considerable money from the bank, and mortgaged his parents' home and redoubled the amount of stock he had purchased the second time. The stock market went into meltdown mode and Yossi lost it all-his cash, his savings, his various funds, his businesses, everything.

Three days before the bank repossessed his house and insurance business, he quickly transferred them over to his wife’s name. He knew his relationship with his wife had sadly deteriorated, but he had no other choice. At least his business and home were in family hands, and he had gained time to figure out his next move. But as soon as the properties were transferred, his wife's attitude toward him changed drastically; she began treating him like a hired hand. There was reason. In Yossi's life in the fast lane, he had hurt her deeply, and this was her chance to even the score. For both of them, the marriage was over. Yossi resigned from the insurance business, a man without compass or destination. The divorce was finalized. Only one restaurant remained from all his businesses.

LISA

Lisa was born in Sweden. Her mother, Christine, was a born-again Christian, but her father left home when she was six. Lisa soon joined the generation of lost Swedish teenagers, embracing the world of "freedom" and leaving behind any semblance of commitment to God. At 18, Lisa accompanied her mother on a guided tour to Israel's holy places. However, no sooner had Lisa landed in Israel when she found new friends in the pubs and disco-theques of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Soon she met a young Israeli who wished to marry her. He was completely secular himself, but his father was a rabbi. To please the family, she converted to Judaism, but in the process her fiancé turned ultra-Orthodox and she fled the relationship.

She met a new friend-Pamela from Finland who spoke Swedish. She was a breath of fresh air for Lisa, a great relief from the stifling atmosphere of a super-legalistic lifestyle. Even more interestingly, Pamela could tell one's future through reading cards. Little by little, Pamela introduced her to the world of spiritism. She explained to Lisa that she and her sister (who lived in Finland at the time) would meet in outer space every night.

Lisa began to attend seances, and was attracted by the power she saw manifested. But she also began to be aware of "something" following her that never seemed to leave. A life of fear and dread closed in on her. One day she looked at her bathroom mirror and saw what looked like steam rising around the mirror. She describes the event: "I saw a picture being drawn on the mirror-a picture of a man who had a big smile on his face." Petrified, she yelled for Pamela, who upon seeing the outline, said, "Oh, yes. That is Pan, the demon of music. I have sent him to take care of you, since you are always afraid. Don't worry. He won't hurt you!"
She began to see demons everywhere. One night while driving across an overpass towards downtown Tel Aviv, a force grabbed the steering wheel and tried to drive the car over the side of the bridge. Struggling to keep the car on the road, she began to call on the name of Yeshua, and the car stopped safely. From then on, when she would feel the demons around, she began to callout His Name.

From the recesses of her mind came the story in the New Testament of the disciples who failed to cast out the demons. (Matt. 17:16) She said to herself, "I'm not a believer, so I can't cast out these demons, but in mother's congregation in Sweden, they know how to cast these out." She left for Sweden and met intercessors who prayed with her.

One man felt impressed to ask her to throw away everything Pamela had ever given her. Lisa did so, with the exception of a couple of trinkets. Leaving for home, the man took the things away, intending to destroy them. On his way home, he was in a serious car accident. He escaped unhurt, but his car was totaled. The next day Lisa saw an unbelieving friend, and thinking to get rid of everything Pamela had given her, she gave him a bracelet. When this man left, he too had a car accident. Lisa decided that was it! She wanted to be free from these demons. She went straight to her mother's congregation, was prayed for, and felt release! But she did not give her heart and soul to God! Not at all!

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

She returned to Israel where she met Yossi, a man who looked like he had it together, but inside was searching for a new life. It was love at first sight, and they soon married. When their daughter Lyn was born, Lisa desired to expose her daughter to the Biblical, moral background that she herself had been given, but never followed. Suddenly, these values were important to her.

The Moses family visited Sweden and there met Ulf Eckman, Christine's pastor who leads a congregation of several thousand members. Here Yossi witnessed things that he did not know existed. He had traveled around the world, and had encountered hatred of Jews and Israelis in many places. But in this congregation he was surprised to see that instead of anti-Semitism, these people loved him because he was a Jew and an Israeli. He was impressed, but did not understand the connection between Yeshua and the Jewish people.

Christine, Lisa's mother, had never given up praying for her daughter, and later, her son-in-law. Now she began sending cassette sermons and gospel books to Israel. Yossi was not pleased, but when videos arrived, he watched them and became curious. Then Christine took another tour to Israel with her pastor. When Yossi and Lisa visited the tour in Tiberius, Ulf Eckman sat with them and clearly explained what it meant for a Jew to receive the gift of salvation through the Messiah Yeshua.

Someone gave Yossi a copy of "Why Me?", the testimony of Israeli evangelist Yakov Damcani who had made the journey from Orthodox background to belief in nothing, to salvation through Yeshua HaMashiach. Yossi also read, "Betrayed", by Stan Telchin, who had read the entire New Testament through to prove to his daughter that her new belief in Yeshua was false. Instead, he and his wife themselves ended up receiving eternal life through Yeshua.

Yossi considered himself an atheist. He hated Orthodoxy. "I could not understand," he said, "what kind of God we Jews have who would give us a religion like this. Orthodoxy was why I had gone so far from God." Slowly he began to understand who the God of Israel is, and how much He loves His people. By now, Lisa knew that she was ready to give her whole life to Yeshua, and hoped that Yossi would too.

A year passed, and Christine phoned Lisa that Benny Hinn was bringing a tour to Israel and would be having meetings and praying for sick people. They went. When Yossi saw actual healings taking place before his eyes, and felt the convicting, yet wonderfully comforting Spirit of God, he knew that God was real. Benny called for those who wanted to be forgiven their sins and receive eternal life through Yeshua the Messiah. Both Yossi and Lisa walked up the aisle without hesitation.

When they returned to their seats, they found themselves sitting next to Hannah, a member of our then year-old congregation, "HaSharon". Hannah introduced herself and invited them to our services. That was in October, 1996. The Moses joined the congregation immediately and began to grow rapidly in their faith. Every time the doors were open-including prayer meetings and Bible courses-they showed up. They witnessed to friends and relatives, and brought them to the congregation-several are now strong followers of the Messiah.

Meanwhile Yossi's financial situation continued to deteriorate, with bill collectors and banks hounding him. He moved his family to another location, pretended to be someone else on the phone, and avoided them in every way possible. But as Yossi's faith deepened, he realized that no amount of human maneuvering would rescue him. He had to look to God Who alone could save him. Time after time, under heavy testing, Yossi made right decisions and did the righteous thing.

Many people owe Yossi money and have shown little inclination to repay him. Yet God's voice began speaking strongly into his heart that he should begin paying back his many debts. In order to do so, Yossi and Lisa began to pinch shekels, even cutting back on groceries. Each month he has continued paying a hefty amount, and under this great financial pressure, has also faithfully paid tithes to the congregation.

Meanwhile the one bank is still attempting to collect from Yossi the huge debt incurred by the loan to Yossi's friend. Last summer, a bank agent came to repossess everything in their house. He entered with threats and curses, saying he was bringing the police and they would be emptying the house. Yossi could only say, "Take whatever you want," and then he and Lisa entered their bedroom, closed the door and prayed.

When they came out, the agent looked at them and said, "You know, I understand your situation. You've got a child and your wife is pregnant. Give me something symbolic and I'll leave the rest." He took a small TV from a back room, wrote "Nothing of Value" on his report and left their entire house of furniture and goods.

THE BIG ADVENTURES ARE YET AHEAD!

While attending Bible school last summer in the U.S., Yossi traveled to Pennsylvania to a retreat area in the Blue Mountains with us. The purpose of the trip was to consult with a restauranteur concerning plans we have for an outreach cafe in Israel. Even though completely committed to following God's plan for his life, both in ministry and in business, Yossi was deeply troubled about the continuous pressure of debt, of which there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

He felt that through the testing of 20 months serving the Lord, he no longer had any desire to accumulate money as a goal in life. His one desire is to serve God in every possible way-in ministry, in business, in witnessing. But the enormous weight of the one bank's demand of payment upon him are draining of time and energy he wants to give to God.

Yossi walked up into the beautiful Blue Mountains and began to pray. He came upon a small prayer chapel in the forest. When he entered the door, he felt the heavy presence of God's Spirit. He prayed for an hour, baring his soul, his desire to serve God, his need. He looked up and realized he was witnessing in vision the form of Yeshua. There, God spoke to his heart. He said, "The big change will happen when your daughter is born.

When he returned to Bible school, one of the intercessors there spoke to him a word of prophecy. "When you return to Israel, you will have many business prospects, with opportunities to make a lot of money. But you must hear from God to know what is from Him."

Yossi is being trained for leadership in this congregation. He has proven himself a true disciple of the Lord Yeshua. His character is that of a new creature in Messiah Yeshua. Both he and Lisa are bold witnesses of the Messiah everywhere they go. Two weeks before their baby girl was born, Yossi began to work on a very significant project in the Lord's work, and a plan is evolving that holds possibilities for Yossi to be freed from all his debt. But that is another story that we will tell in due time.

A CHILD IS BORN

Soon after they became believers, Yossi and Lisa shared with us their desire for another child. For some reason Lisa was not able to conceive. We prayed and laid hands on Lisa. Shortly after, she conceived, but in the third month, began to hemorrhage and the baby miscarried. The doctors said it was an act of mercy because the fetus had not developed normally. Yossi was very disturbed. He told the devil, “Devil you have touched my money, but when it comes to my child, that’s too much!” We prayed with them and encouraged them to hold steady in their faith.

In January 1998, Lisa again conceived. But on February 15, a certain test called CMV IgM revealed that Lisa contracted a virus, extremely dangerous to the development of the fetus’ brain. But the doctor was encouraging. He told her that although the virus was in her blood, if she did not actually become sick, there was a good chance the baby (a girl) might not be affected. Lisa promptly became seriously ill for two weeks.

Being made aware of how really sick she was, we went to their home and prayed for Lisa. The next day she was completely healed, and joined us for a three day Cleansing Stream conference in Jerusalem. Her faith and body strengthened, she went back to the doctors and asked for another test, certain now that the test would prove negative. Instead, it again proved positive.

Now the doctors were adamant about aborting the child. “The risk is so great that the child’s brain and motor functions would be non-functional-that we must abort the fetus.” Yossi was ready for the abortion, but Lisa was not. It was a time of great tension between them. Meanwhile several additional CMV IgM tests all showed positive. The doctors were uncompromising toward the decision to abort. But Lisa told them, “Who am I who decides who will live and who will not? I don’t want to stand before God one day and say that this child didn’t suit my plans, so I killed it.” The doctor said, “Don’t be so dramatic. It’s not killing. We are just stopping an unwanted pregnancy.”

Yossi felt ready to break. “How many tests can I go through? I have paid a great price for my sins. What else do I have to pay? One child has already died. Now they say this baby’s brain is abnormal…” At rest with his final decision, he told Lisa, “We are having the abortion. Faith or no faith.”

It was then that Ari and our elder, Arni Klein, met with Yossi and talked to him about the sovereignty of God. It is not in man’s hands to take the life of a baby, even though in Israel it is commonly accepted. Life belongs to God. Once again, Yossi leaned on the faithfulness of his God and reversed his decision. “Lord, I will accept your will. You have given me this baby. I accept her gratefully. I am going to believe you for a healthy baby.” Still, as Yossi saw the 22nd week go by, the last week that Israeli doctors perform a regular abortion, he was bombarded with thoughts, what if…?

In June, Yossi and Lisa led a group of 14 from our congregation to Pensacola, Florida to attend a summer Bible school course. The first day, while attending a revival service, Lisa began to hemorrhage and feel abnormal pressure. After the experience of losing her last baby, she knew this was not a good sign. At the conclusion of the service she looked for Yossi among the crowd of people in front waiting for prayer.

“I went to find Yossi to tell him I needed to get back to the apartment. As I moved toward him, I felt a hand on my head. I turned and saw Pastor John Kilpatrick who simply said, “Satan, I rebuke your plans of death you have for this woman and her baby.” Of course he had never seen me before and didn’t know anything about me, except to see that I was pregnant.

“When I came to myself, I was sitting on a pew,” recalls Lisa. “A small man with black hair, very white skin and a mustache came straight up to me and began to pray quietly for me. He took my hand, placed it on my stomach, and then placed his hand on my hand. He prayed for health and wholeness for the baby. I knew the pastor was insistent that only those who wore designated badges be permitted to pray for people, so I looked up to see if he was wearing a badge, which he was. The pain and bleeding stopped, and I had absolutely no more problems the six weeks we were in Bible school, even though the schedule was intense with classes in the day and revival meetings in the night.

“A few days later, I thought about this man, and looked for him to tell him how God had healed me. Not able to locate him, I asked the intercession team leaders where he was. They said that they had absolutely no one of that description on their prayer team, and though I continued to look for him, I never saw him again the entire six weeks we were there.”

In visiting one of the intercessors’ homes, they were given this word: “Satan hates this baby and has tried to kill the unborn baby from the beginning, and will continue until the birth. But not to worry. When the birth comes, everything will go fine, with no complications.”

When they returned to Israel, our congregation waited impatiently for the baby’s due date, September 27. But on that day began a wild period of strong contractions for 12 days with Lisa in and out of the hospital. Each time she checked in, the doctors sent her home and told her to return in a day or two-they didn’t know why, but somehow the baby was not ready to be born. After 10 days, Lisa’s strength was gone, and she was at a breaking point. Meanwhile the HaSharon congregation was earnestly praying, as were our Maoz intercessors.

Lisa knew she could not take any more of the debilitating, 24 hour-a-day contractions. She would have to have a cesarean section. That morning Shira called Lisa with a scripture for her, not knowing that she had made a decision to operate. The verse was, “Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?” says the Lord. “Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?” says your God. (Isaiah 66:9) Lisa went back to the hospital and told them, “I’m not going to have a cesarean. I’m waiting.

On October 8, the hospital staff decided to make one more attempt to bring about the birth naturally. This time they gave her the maximum amount of intravenous drops to induce extremely strong contractions. After six hours of contractions every half minute, nothing was happening. The doctors told, “Your choice is cesarean or home again.”

“By then I felt crazy with pain. I felt angry towards everyone, including God, ‘Lord, I don’t understand what is going on, but if this is from You, I accept it. But if it is not of You, then I command every muscle in my body to respond so this baby can be born.’” She then asked the doctor to let her stay one more hour.

In thirty minutes a midwife came by, and said, “Oh, something is happening!” Four hours later, at 2:35 a.m., a perfectly beautiful little baby girl, Emi, was born, weighing in at seven pounds.

When Yossi stood up in the congregation on Saturday morning to announce the birth, he was unable to speak as the congregation shouted, danced and clapped and praised. Our congregation felt like they had collectively given birth to this child! Now a month later, she has been thoroughly checked. Her tests show her hearing, sight, awareness and muscle strength are all above average. She is our miracle baby!

 
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