With God all things are possible!

Matthew 19:26

Israel is a Moroccan Jew who grew up in a tiny village in the northern part of Israel. He arrived in South Africa six years ago, determined to discover meaning and purpose for his life. Little did he know what was soon to take place! He had planned to spend a month in South Africa and then continue his journey to the Far East. He had not planned to meet a lovely South African lady who would win his heart. After meeting Marti, Israel never left our sunny shores!

Israel’s wife Marti now admits, “Had I been strong in the Lord I would not have married an unbeliever.” She gratefully acknowledges, however, that God’s mercy is plentiful and that He has turned the situation around to His glory.

Israel’s journey of faith began over a business lunch. He was determined to clench a deal, but his associate was determined to tell him about the Lord! Israel recalls, “We spoke for thirty minutes about business and for three hours about Jesus!” In the months that followed, Israel met several Christians who testified to him about Jesus. They had the peace for which he was longing. Yet for Israel one problem stood between him and that peace. As far as he was concerned, Jews do not believe in Jesus.

His thinking changed the day that one of his Christian business contacts (a supporter of Jews for Jesus) called us to step in. Israel described his first meeting with Eliyah Gould: “I couldn’t believe it—a Jewish person just like me, yet he believed in Jesus!” They began to study the Bible together and Israel soon realized that believing in Jesus was the most Jewish thing that he could do.

Marti remembers the day in October 1996 when Israel came home with the exciting news that he had trusted Jesus as his Messiah. “I was stunned,” she says, “I never thought it would happen.” For a while, she stood back and watched Israel’s faith from a distance. As her husband became more involved in his newfound faith, Marti could see a tangible change in him. She began to realize that she had been “sitting on the fence” when it came to truly following Jesus as Lord.

As time passed, Israel encouraged his wife to read her Bible. Eventually, Paul’s words to the Romans about Gentiles provoking Jews to jealousy convicted Marti. She knew that whereas she ought to have been the one to provoke Israel to jealousy, he as a Jewish believer had caused her to miss the first love of her relationship with the Lord. Marti remembered the love and trust that she had had in God, even as a five-year-old—when she prayed to the Lord to some day give her a good husband. God answered her prayer in ways beyond her own imagination. It was her husband’s love for the Lord that led Marti to rededicate her life to Jesus last November.

I thank God for the courageous Christians who witnessed to Israel, and for the one who ultimately let us know of the opportunity to minister to him. And I’m thankful that Israel’s “jealous” wife is now zealous for Jesus!

Now, as a faithful couple, Israel and Marti are committed to growing in their relationship with God as they serve Him together. Won’t you join us in praying for them?