Tovya and Michelle Rose: A First Fruits Marriage
After their first one-and-a-half years of marriage, the Rose’s are now leading the newest Liberated Wailing Wall team. Here’s how the Lord brought the Roses together:
What kind of family did you grow up in?
TOVYA: Both of my parents are Jewish. For the first few years of their marriage, they were really seeking spiritual things. In 1974, both of my parents and I became believers.
MICHELLE: Growing up, I knew that I was both Jewish and that I believed in Jesus, since my mother was a believer and had led me to the Lord early on. But I was probably the only kid at my school in Knoxville, Tennessee who said, Oy, vayz mir!”
Where did the two of you meet?
TOVYA: When I was on the Liberated Wailing Wall several years ago, we went to New York City. Michelle was on her second Summer Witnessing Campaign and we met there. She didn’t remember me, though.
MICHELLE: There were lots of other interesting guys around, so I didn’t really notice Tovya. We did get to know each other a bit more when the team came through town later in the year.
So how did your relationship develop?
TOVYA: The moment I met her, I knew I was going to marry her. When I went to New York for missionary training with Jews for Jesus, Michelle was stationed there as a missionary and I couldn’t stay away from her. No matter what I did, the Lord kept putting us together. It was like torture for four months! Finally, I prayed that God would keep us from being put into situations where we would be alone together. Apparently, Michelle prayed something similar at the same time.
MICHELLE: I didn’t want anything that wasn’t God’s will.
TOVYA: Well, the day after we both asked God to keep us apart, our supervisor teamed us up to do missionary work together for two weeks! By the last day of those two weeks, there was no doubt in my mind that I would marry Michelle. We spent a lot of time ministering together. We wanted to make sure the Lord was the center of our relationship.
Was it important for you to marry a Jewish believer?
MICHELLE: Especially after getting involved with Jews for Jesus, I knew that I wanted to have a Jewish home.
TOVYA: In my heart I wanted to marry someone Jewish. It had to do with where I felt the Lord was leading me in ministry and as a witness to my people.
So what was your wedding like?
MICHELLE: We had a very Jewish wedding, complete with all the baruchas, the chuppah and the chair dance afterwards at the reception. I have to say it was really beautiful.
TOVYA: We really wanted it to be an event that glorified God. We had more friends than family fly to the wedding!
Looking back at your first year-and-a-half of marriage, do you have any advice on how to pick a mate?
TOVYA: The best advice I can give is to guard your heart! Dating is the process of letting your minds, thoughts and interests come together. Courting is the time when you develop a mutual view toward marriage. It’s where your souls begin to walk together. Marriage is where you become one flesh. Without good, strong spiritual direction from a spiritual leader or pastor, the temptation to move to the next level prematurely is too strong. Michelle and I had two very good people ministering to us who helped us through the difficult times.
MICHELLE: Be patient and wait on God. He’s the best Matchmaker of all! In the meantime, try to focus on becoming the man or woman of God that He wants you to be. When it comes to choosing a mate, seek the counsel of a mentor and others in your believing community who know you well. They often know what kind of person you need better than you do.
What do you see God doing among the next generation of Jewish believers?
MICHELLE: There are so many young people who have an amazing passion for God and for sharing the love of Jesus with Jews and Gentiles. It is a beautiful picture of God’s love and faithfulness to the Jewish people.
TOVYA: Two thousand years ago, the second and third generation of Jewish believers in Jesus almost completely assimilated into Gentile culture. I don’t see God allowing that to happen this time. And I am so happy to be a part of God’s plan!