You have to see this for yourself - this Indian man has been planting a forest since 1979 to save his island. This story hit me so deep, because I realized that in many ways it's a picture of OUR growing tribe.
Take two minutes to watch the video, and see three similarities between his story and what we're doing, here.
Sincerely, thank you for planting with us. I hope you enjoy the rest of this email!
Kari is following Yeshua in a Hebrew way! Here’s her story.
Hi, I’m Kari. I’ve been following Yeshua since childhood, but I feel like my childhood began all over again when I discovered his Jewishness. When I was a sophomore in college, four things coalesced together: Jews for Jesus came to our church, my best friend and I attended two Passover Seders, my parents began attending a Messianic Jewish synagogue, and I tagged along with my best friend on a Biola-sponsored educational outing to a synagogue, led by a young Messianic Jew and his then-fiance (who also happened to be Student Ministries President at Biola University where I was planning to transfer). That year brought a whirlwind of change. I began to explore this Jewish Yeshua, trying to grasp Him in His own context, delving into the world of His modern-day brothers and sisters, and learning about His ancient world. I also began to explore my own family’s Jewish ancestry, which was disconnected several generations ago when my great-grandmother became a Christian. I felt strangely drawn on both fronts to this newfound path. There was only one way to describe it: I was home.
Shortly after these changes were in full swing, I transferred to Biola University, roomed with my best friend, and together with the help of the aforementioned Student Ministries President, we planned the first-ever school-wide Passover Seder at Biola. It was a momentous occasion that drew over one hundred students and involved our most hilarious story to date: the time we chased a pregnant sheep in our bare feet across Biola’s urban campus. Yes. Good times, indeed.
Weaving itself through that entire year was my own unfolding love story. I met a young Jewish man who had been raised in a Conservative Jewish home and had become a disciple of Yeshua three years before. As we grew a friendship, a romance sprang up with it. Since we lived on opposite ends of a very large state, we knew our long-distance relationship was on a time clock. One year after we met, he asked my dad for my hand in marriage, I moved to the town where he lived, and we spent the year of our engagement across town instead of across state. We were married in June of 2002 beneath a chuppah in a custom-crafted Messianic Jewish wedding ceremony.
My husband, Tyler, likes to describe the way we engaged with our faith when we first met with the metaphor of an ornate jewelry box. For him, growing up Jewish, he was very familiar with this box. He had turned it round and round, knew every edge, every carving, every detail. But he never knew what was inside of it. He had a beautiful box, and no clue what it was for.
For me, I grew up in a Christian home, and I lived inside that box. As a matter of fact, I had no idea the box even existed. I lived comfortably inside it, but my vision of Messiah was pretty dim in there. I could feel His presence; I knew His character. As a matter of fact, I suppose it’s like spending your life in intimate conversation with someone in a pitch black room. I knew Him, but I had never really seen Him. When I discovered Messianic Judaism, it was like the box was opened, and I could not only see the Messiah, but the box itself was fascinating to me. Now I had an entirely new journey to begin! I wanted to study every nook and cranny, every detail, ridge and carving of that box, and of this Messiah I had never seen in full light before.
So there we were, exploring differently, but synergistically, too. I have no doubts that HaShem brought me to reawaken and deepen his passion for his Jewishness, and to spur him on to covenant faithfulness. I have no doubt that HaShem brought him to keep me grounded in love for my Messiah.
Since that time, we have brought five daughters on board our little ship, and each season has brought a new and (hopefully) deeper connection to our Messiah-centered Judaism. I am currently in the process of converting, which I see as the culmination of this journey of rejoining my ancestral people, as well as the tie that connects my daughters to their Jewish future.
Oh, and that town I moved to when my bashert and I got engaged? It was a little town way up in Northern California called Chico. And through a series of G-d-ordained events, we found our way to a small home fellowship in a town up the hill called Paradise. And in that home fellowship we met a family with two lovely daughters and a son. I would ultimately lose contact with them for a number of years after we moved away. But one day, just a few years ago, after looking into this person – this Izzy Avraham - whose name kept popping up all over Facebook in shared statuses, I realized his wife Genevieve had a very familiar face (I’m better at faces than names). A few pictures later, I realized she was none other than the eldest daughter of that very same family we had fellowshipped with all those years ago! The Messianic Jewish world truly is a small one.
After looking into this wonderful ministry that the Avrahams have built from the ground up, and interacting with other students, I knew I needed to join. We are part of something truly special, and I’m so grateful to be here!
Did you appreciate this story? If so, please say thank you by sharing yours. Here's how.
Hats off to Kevin Floyd for this meme! Make your own Hebrew meme here or here and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll share yours too.
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