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Chosen to Follow Messiah

I remember I sat there wondering what I was doing in a church, yet I knew in my heart that this was the place for me.

When I was asked to write my Testimony, I was absolutely delighted!  How good it is to let everyone know how God works in our lives to bring us to Yeshua.

First: about myself.  I am not a youngster, although not too old.  I am married and we have three children – a daughter, who is the eldest, and two sons; and so far eight grandchildren.   I have come from a very ultra Orthodox Jewish background; my husband’s family are secular Jews.  My parents are no longer with us, having passed away a number of years ago.  How they would understand my love for Yeshua will remain a mystery, but I pray that they will see the direction God has taken me.

Unfortunately Jewish people, especially those that are Orthodox, are not encouraged to read the Bible – not even the Old Testament, but especially not the New Testament – for the name Jesus is never mentioned amongst Jewish people.  So, therefore, unless the Bible is read in its entirety, one would never be able to understand God’s purpose for the Jewish people.  The Jewish religion is based mainly on tradition: you do what your parents and grandparents carried out, and so on and so forth; so I never questioned anything concerning my Jewishness.

For many years I was quite happy in my way of life.  I did lapse into becoming a more moderate Jew, I guess more like my husband’s family, but certainly not the same as when I was living with my parents.

When our youngest child was seven years of age, I returned to work.  I was working in the children’s ward of a local hospital.  After a considerable number of years, a new member joined our staff (possibly in the Spring of 1999).  We immediately recognised each other from the days we used to wait at the School gates for our children.  We started to have our coffee break together and one day she mentioned she was a Christian who attended an Evangelical Church.  One day she said that the Church she attended was going to have a social evening and, weather permitting, a BBQ and asked if I and my husband would like to go along.  At first, I was horrified that she dared ask us to a church, of all places – but she told me to think about it, and that quite a few of our neighbours were going, so we would have people to talk to.  Well we did think about it and, much to our amazement, we decided to go.  Now I am sure that’s when Yeshua put His Hand out and chose us to follow Him.  What an introduction into His Church!  We both felt He had guided us there.

You can still be Jewish and know that Yeshua is our Messiah

When we arrived, we were very warmly greeted, never having been treated so well in the Synagogue that we had attended for many years.  We both knew instantly that this was where we belonged – in a Church of our Lord.  The Pastor was a young friendly person who suggested we might like to come long to a Sunday Service.  We went along the following Sunday.  I remember I sat there wondering what I was doing in a church, yet I knew in my heart that this was the place for me.  Maybe from the time of conception, God had this plan for me (Jeremiah 29 v.11).  After attending the Church for a few Sundays, the Pastor said he was starting an Alpha Course and that if we were interested we could go along and learn more about Jesus.  We readily agreed.  As we went through the course, a new world was opening for us; we actually read the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.  We learnt the reason why God sent His Son to be with us, why He shed His blood for us.  He is our Saviour and Redeemer.  Before we had even finished the Alpha Course, the Pastor asked us if we would consider being baptised.  Without any hesitation, we said “yes” – so in December 1999, we were both baptised.  What a joy it was for us!  Our daughter and her children came to our baptism, but unfortunately our two sons would not attend, as they felt we had let them down in some way.  We tried to explain why we were doing this, but they were not interested.  Thankfully, they have now accepted our relationship with the Lord, although they still believe we are odd.  We pray that one day they will understand and learn that you can still be Jewish and know that Yeshua is our Messiah.  You do not lose your Jewish identity, but become COMPLETE by following the Word of God who gave us the Messiah, that we may know the true forgiveness of sin.

Now we rejoice every day in the Glory we know in the love of Yeshua.  Although we have been ostracized by some of our close family, who seem to believe we are traitors to our Jewish roots, we have now found a greater family in the fellowship of all those who know Yeshua.  When I look back at many of the nasty remarks said to me, I realise how ignorant and complacent some Jewish people can be. They really do have blinkers over their eyes – just as I did.  How can I ever thank Yeshua for coming into my life and for the way He has changed me?  I can never be perfect, but I know I am a better person.

About two or three years after I was baptised, I sensed the Holy Spirit was saying to me ‘this is not the Church for you anymore; you need to be with truly committed Christians’ – not like the church we were attending, where the congregation would attend Church once a week, sing a few hymns and have a short sermon.  I knew God was missing in that Church.

We then tried a few other churches and then we were told about Bridge Lane Fellowship.  As soon as we entered the building we knew God’s presence was there, and that this was where God wanted us to be.  We now also attend a Messianic meeting once a week, which is really great.

What a wondrous way the Lord had of introducing us in the very beginning into His Church.

I pray that many, many more Jewish people will ask questions and become interested to learn about Yeshua.  May they open their hearts to Him and let Him in and know the peace we have found.  Remember, the Lord will guide you always (Isaiah 58 v.11).

To Yeshua, Praise and Glory for ever.

Joy Sylvester

April 2010