Vladimir (Vova) Mitnitsky was born in the Ukraine. His father is Jewish and his mother Gentile. Vova was fifteen when he and his teenage sister made aliyah to Israel without their parents. Although Vova knew about Jesus, he didn’t believe in Him as the promised Messiah. For three years he studied in Yeshiva (religious high school), where he was challenged to think about the Jewish Messiah who would bring redemption and peace to his people. Although Vova was taught to do good deeds (mitzvot), he had no peace in his heart.
Vova recalled what he had once learned about Jesus and wondered if it could be true. He began to explore the prophesies about the Messiah in the Old Testament, and came to faith in Jesus at the age of twenty. He graduated from college with a professional diploma in electronics practical engineering. Meanwhile, his sister Yarden also came to faith in Jesus and began witnessing with our Tel Aviv branch. Yarden and her husband Peter eventually joined our staff. Vova became an intern with the Tel Aviv branch, and began participating on our witnessing campaigns. These campaigns convinced Vova that God was calling him to evangelize his Jewish people. After four campaigns, three in Israel and one in New York City, he joined the Jews for Jesus staff as a full-time missionary.
Vova has especially appreciated learning how to prepare inductive Bible studies and says, “In my opinion, this is a ‘must have’ tool for every believer in Christ. It’s especially important to me because it will enable me to disciple new Jewish believers in an interactive, objective way.”
Vova’s hobby is reading—he says, “I particularly like books that help me to communicate and understand people better.”
Morgan Rapp was born in Northern California and raised in a Messianic Jewish home. She came to faith in Jesus in 1991 and, as a teenager, she was involved with short-term missions. Her parents, Bruce and Tracy Rapp, are missionaries with Jews for Jesus and oversee our work in Phoenix, Arizona. Morgan graduated with a B.A. in media studies from Hunter College in New York City. She worked for four years in advertising and media in New York City, during which time she was not walking closely with the Lord. She left New York to prayerfully reevaluate her spiritual life and priorities. As she drew closer to God once again, her passion to tell others about Him returned.
Morgan worked as an intern for the Tel Aviv, Israel branch during the spring of 2009. She then served on the “Tiger Team,” going from one Jews for Jesus witnessing campaign to the next, including Israel, Paris and New York City. During her work in Israel, Morgan felt called by God to Jewish missions.
Reflecting on her training, Morgan says, “I have learned that God honors our obedience and faithfulness. There are many difficult times in the life of a missionary. We are not infallible or made of iron; there are times we want to give it all up and have a life of normalcy and comfort. When those times come for me I will remember the Apostle Paul. As American missionaries we have the luxury of not having to share the gospel from prison. Whatever the situation, God keeps His promises and we need to keep ours.”
One of Morgan’s personal interests is the protection of endangered low-land and mountain gorillas in Africa. She says, “I hope one day to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda and catch a glimpse of a silverback gorilla in his natural habitat.”
Jeremiah Zaretsky grew up in a Jesus-believing Jewish home Toronto. He made a profession of faith in Y’shua (Jesus) at a young age. He received a B.A. in religious education from Canadian Bible College. Jeremiah’s participation with Jews for Jesus began with programs such as Halutzim, a two-week missions trip to New York City for young Jewish believers in Jesus. He and his wife Hannah also traveled with the ministry’s musical evangelistic team, the Liberated Wailing Wall.
When it comes to a particularly memorable aspect of his missionary training, Jeremiah says, “One thing I have learned through our ‘schedule-building’ lecture is what it means to be a good steward. I cannot evaluate the ‘success’ of my ministry by numbers per se, but I can look at my efforts and ask, ‘Was I faithful to do what God has called me to do with the resources and gifts He has given me to do it?’
“Using faithfulness as a benchmark is key, because it is so easy to get discouraged when you don’t see fruit. Building my schedule as a good steward will help me remember that I am not called to lead a certain number of Jewish people to the Lord, or to do this program or that ministry. What I am called to do is simply be faithful to the God who called me and works in me to accomplish His good purposes.”
Jeremiah’s hobbies include nature photography. He says, “I find a lot of satisfaction in capturing a stunning sunset or a grazing deer in a photograph. My dream is to take a picture of a grizzly bear up close and personal!”
Ziggy Rogoff was brought up in a kosher Jewish home in Redbridge, Essex, England. He attended Hebrew classes three times a week and celebrated his bar mitzvah in Jerusalem at the Western wall.
After finishing his post-doctoral studies in mathematics, Ziggy accepted a friend’s invitation to church, where he completed a course called “Christianity Explored.” After reading the Gospel of Mark he wondered: “Have I found the Messiah?” But he reasoned, “How can I accept Jesus as the Messiah when the rabbis have been rejecting Him for the last 2,000 years?” Reading Betrayed by Stan Telchin helped Ziggy to see how it is possible to be Jewish and believe in Jesus. He pored over the Old Testament prophecies and became convinced that Jesus is indeed Israel’s promised Messiah.
Ziggy connected with our London branch and took three weeks off from his job to join us on the London outreach. Then he took another week to visit Jewish inquirers with our London branch leader, Stephen Pacht. It didn’t take long for Ziggy to realize that he wanted to spend his life telling other Jewish people about the Messiah, Jesus.
Commenting on his training, Ziggy says, “I’ve learned that when I meet an unbeliever I have a choice of either speaking to their hearts or their heads. As I listen to each person, I now pray for an opportunity to speak to the heart, and I know that it is my privilege to serve that person.”
When it comes to hobbies, Ziggy says, “I carry a notebook around and write down the names of people I meet! Later I reflect upon the people I have met and pray for them.”
Please keep our trainees in prayer as they continue to learn how to fulfill their calling to make the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide!
Please also remember to pray for Robyn Wilk, who is in charge of our training program.