A Good Foundation

Eight years ago, CWI established a bursary to enable Israeli believers to come to the UK to study theology. Last year Simon and Josh became the latest beneficiaries of the bursary. During the time the young men were in this country we were unable to say too much about them because Josh had served in the Israeli Defence Force. Under UK law, until September this year it would have been possible for anti-Israel activists – had they known of Josh’s presence in the country – to have had him arrested and charged with crimes against humanity.

Knowledge and holiness

I was born into a Christian family but it wasn’t until the age of 16 or 17 that I understood I could not keep walking in my parents’ faith and that if Christianity was true I had to have a personal relationship with God. It was during that time that God really changed my life and started leading me towards youth ministry. Since then I have been helping out in youth groups and at camps for Christian kids and youth.

One of the reasons I went to study at the European Missionary Fellowship was so that I might have a better biblical foundation before beginning to lead the youth group at my church. I must say that EMF was a great experience and – although it was only a short course – I learned a great deal and came to see more than ever a need for biblical knowledge and evidence for my beliefs.

Another big thing God showed me during my time at EMF was that although theology and knowledge are important we must never neglect our day to day relationship with God. Having more knowledge does not necessarily mean someone has stronger faith. On the other hand, the theology we learnt and knowledge we acquired there has already helped Josh and me and will continue to help us in our ministry for Christ, whether we are witnessing, teaching in the youth group or fighting false doctrines.

Josh and I are working for Christ in Israel, and placing too much personal information about us as missionaries in the Herald could harm us. Some people have been kicked out of Israel after the government found out about their work. That is the reason Josh and I decided not to send pictures. We hope you understand.

A small part in the big plan of God

My name is Josh, and I grew up and live in Israel.

My parents are believers (the first in both their families) and I was brought up with a sense of biblical values and a clear understanding of Scripture. I have called myself a believer ever since I could remember but in my mind I had thought I could do what I wanted because Messiah had died for my sins. Until God brought me to himself and I was converted from my sins, I had not wanted to live a holy life before him.

After my national service in the Israeli Defence Force, I faced the usual questions a young person has after three years in the army. I wanted to know what to do with my time, which direction to follow, what to study, what work to do or where to travel,. During that time I was offered the opportunity to study at the EMF School of Biblical Studies which was, in a way, an answer to prayer. To spend six months just studying the Bible with no distractions was a privilege.

The course included Theology, Church History, New Testament Greek and, of course, the Bible, and it enabled me to truly examine my faith. For me and my fellow students the school was like a family, with nine boys and one girl. EMF was great in all aspects; the fellowship and the growth we all shared while studying together. I learned how to study the Bible and about the tools to use to do it. The course made me want to find out more about the different subjects that are connected to the one book, the Bible, since all human ideas and philosophies are recorded there in one way or another, and we can use those subjects to advance the gospel. I enjoyed very much what I was able to learn and it has given me a good foundation to go forward.

I am back home in Israel, and in between finding work, future study and making connections with old friends, I am hoping to spend as much time as I can helping out in the congregation doing whatever I can, using all I learned at EMF.

I would like to thank those who helped to support me and my friend Simon; it really meant a lot to us. Although EMF was a small part in the big plan of God for my life, it was a true blessing.

This article was first published in the Winter Herald 2011

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