Rivka is raised in a traditional Jewish family in Romania. At that time Romania is a communistic country. Despite the lack of freedom of religion in Romania and the opposition of her parents, Rivka finds the Jewish Messiah. Her family then immigrates to Israel. They think that there her believe will pass away. In Israel everyone is Jewish. They do not believe in Jesus Christ. But God kept her on the way. She came into contact with Jewish believers and was baptized in the Sea of Galilee in 1964.
Subtitles from youtube video
Hello my name is Rivkah. Rivkah in Hebrew is Rebecca and I was born in Romania, 67 years ago. But, by the Lord’s grace, I was born again in 1962. My family was a Jewish family, traditional Jewish family in Romania. I knew the Jewish tradition, but I didn’t know the Bible because in Romania was a communist regime in that time. So at school of course they didn’t teach us religion, the communists ordained all the other things. And at home I knew the Jewish tradition, but I didn’t know the history of my people, I didn’t know the Bible.
One day, when I was in a sanatorium because of my handicap – I had poliomyelitis when I was one and a half years and then I had to go to a sanatorium to have some treatment for my handicap. And the Lord provided that I was in the same room with a Gentile girl. I didn’t know by then what it means to be a believer or what it means to be ‘born again’ nothing, I didn’t know. But she knew that I am Jewish, so she didn’t dare to talk to me about the Lord Jesus. She only gave me some hints, but I couldn’t do anything with the hints she gave me. And afterwards she received a visit of some young people from Bucharest, she was from Bucharest. They came and she only recommended me as being the girl that is in the same room with her. And she said, “They are my friends,” but I didn’t know then, that they were also from the assembly, that they were believers and all that. And then I had to go back to my hometown because I was studying there and she stayed more in that sanatorium.
But in the winter of ’62 she came back to her home and she invited me to spend the winter holidays with her. It was the 31st of December ‘62, it was New Year’s Eve. I thought they were going to celebrate that as in the world. I thought they were going to dance, they were going to drink and they are going to be merry and all that… I didn’t know about their faith and to my big surprise, I saw that they were doing something else. They didn’t drink wine, they didn’t smoke. They read the Bible, they preached the Word. They were very, very happy, but not in the worldly way. So I didn’t know what to do with that. I heard also that they were singing about the Lord Jesus in their hymns and all that and after everything was finished, my friend, Adriana she was called – She actually past away 13th of April 2011 unfortunately, but she went to the Lord, so she is all right. And she asked me what do I think about what I saw there. So I said, “Well, what by example, what do you mean?” And she said, “Well, that we are calling each other brother and sister?” So I said, “I thought that that’s what you are doing here in this part of Bucharest.” Well, actually I was lying, because I saw that many people came from villages around. So I thought, “Maybe, because they are farmers or something, and not people from the town; maybe that’s why they are calling each other brother and sister.” But I was ashamed to tell her that, so I lied. And then she asked, “O, and that we are talking about the Lord Jesus Christ.” And then I told, “Well I thought, that’s because you are not Jewish.” And she asked me, “Do you believe in God?” So I say, “Well, I believe that there is a God.” She said, “Do you pray to Him?” So I said, “Well, sometimes, when I have toothache, I am asking, “O God, please help me.” That was praying for me.
Anyway, afterwards, the next evening her parents came to pray in our room where I was with her. And they prayed and then I started to pray again, but I think it was a hypocrite prayer because it was more for their ears than for God’s ears because I didn’t know anything yet. But afterwards, a Messianic Jew came. His name was Isidori Luria. So he started to talk to me about Israel, about the Jewish people, about the Lord Jesus Christ and all that. And afterwards I said, “You want to convince me that that’s true, that there is a Paradise, and there is hell and all that.” But afterwards I went to a meeting as well with them and I started to believe, but it was something very, very simple. Not enough, but still it was a start. I wanted a Bible, but I couldn’t have because in that time it was very difficult to get a Bible in Romania. And somebody had a New Testament, but it was for sale and I didn’t have money of my own, I was living with my parents, didn’t have income of my own, so I couldn’t.
And then I had to go back to school in my own town. And I didn’t know where there are the believers in my town. But one of the young people there in Bucharest said that there is a certain family, called Barbu and they have a girl, a daughter that must be of my age because he was friendly with her brother, that’s why he knows. That young man from Bucharest, that’s how he knows that there is this family in my hometown in Romania and that’s all I knew. So I went to my town, I went to school and I knew that in parallel class there is a girl, family name being Barbu. And I thought, “Maybe it is this one.” I wanted to go to see her. I asked the girl that was sitting with me in the same bench at school, class, to come with me there. And she came with me and her name was Sephora. And always this name seemed to be strange, but I didn’t know by then that ‘Sephora’ in Romanian is ‘Zipporah’, the wife of Moses. I went with her to the other girl and I asked the other girl if she had brothers or sisters. She said, “No, I am the only daughter.” So I knew it is not the one that I am looking for but coming back to my class, I asked this girl, Sephora. God brought to my mind that there is something special with this girl. Why? Because, when being a communist it is not fashionable to be religious. So I remembered that they wanted to make fun of her. On Sundays, when they had to do, at school, voluntary work, she didn’t come, because she was religious or something. So the Lord brought that to my mind and I asked her, “Sephora, tell me, do you have at home a Bible?” She said, “Yes.” I said, “Do you have hymnbooks as well?” Because in Romania the believers used to have hymnbooks at home as well. They didn’t have the liberty to go to the meetings always. So sometimes they were making small meetings at home. So they did have. So, she said, “Yes.” So I was so happy, the girl that was sitting with me at the same bench, she knew all about the faith. I am saying ‘she knew all about the faith’ because she wasn’t a believer, but she was from a believing family. The parents were believers, they had ten children and this Sephora was the youngest. But of course she knows what assembly means, she knows what meetings are and I asked her to take me to a meeting, to the assembly. And it was very, very nice.
Afterwards I discovered another girl, a believing girl in the same school and she used to bring me verses from the Bible, written because she didn’t have a Bible for me, but that was what I was feeding on. Anyway, what the Lord did. They demolished our house because it was belonging to the state and not ours and they gave us another house just next to that Barbu family, the believers that I was looking for their daughter. So here they are next to our house, so then I met them. But meanwhile my parents noticed that something had happened to me, that I was changed. When I came from Bucharest I didn’t have a Bible, but I had brochures with the Gospel of John. Only the Gospel of John. So I was reading that and I knew, I think, ten chapters by memory because that was all I had. Anyway, my parents caught me with those brochures so they threw them away and they understood that something was wrong with me because when I came I told them that this family repented and they are believers, so it didn’t do anything to them. But when they saw I am changed, they started to check on me.
They started to check the letters that I wrote to the girl in Bucharest, to Adriana, the believer. So it was very, very bad. Anyway, on a Sunday, the meetings are on Sunday morning so it was not studies at school on Sundays. I went, when my mother was not at home, I went to this family to read a little bit from the Bible at least. They were preparing to go to the meeting and I wanted to go with them, but I was afraid so I came back. But when I came back home, my mother came and she knew where I was and she started beating me. Anyway, that is only a little example of the things that a believer Jew has to go through because the family doesn’t understand. Well, it is quite normal that they don’t understand. It’s a long story, so I am not going to tell the whole story, but it was very difficult that I didn’t have the possibility to go to meetings. And then we wanted to come, to immigrate to Israel so my parents made all the required forms and all things that we wanted to go to Israel. But we had to wait six years before we got the permission to go to Israel. Eventually the permission came, so I came to Israel. And my parents thought, “O that’s nice, all this rubbish will disappear. She will be in Israel and everybody is Jewish there. They don’t believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, so was going to be all right.”
So the Lord is everywhere, especially in Israel. So He made many, many miracles. He kept me on the way, but I had to go to a school to study Hebrew so I had to leave the parents’ home. So I was there, it was in Haifa this school, it was an internal school. And I had memorised only one address of a couple of Jewish believers that came from Romania and they were living in Israel. So I wrote to this couple and I said that I am near to Haifa and they asked a Jewish believer from Haifa to come and see me, to visit me at this school. She took me to the assembly in Haifa and then the 29th of August ’64 I was baptized. It was a Saturday and I was baptized in the Sea of Galilee, at Tiberias. And because it was a public shore, many people were there to swim and all that. So there was a journalist from a very serious journal in Israel. And he wrote an article, I have the copy until now. And in that article it was written that Messianic Jews there are about 250. So in ‘64 it was 250. Thank God we are now between 7,000 and 10,000 I believe. Now I don’t know all the believers in Israel and I am very glad about that because in that time I nearly knew all the believers.
Thank God the Lord was very, very faithful, I wasn’t so faithful, but He holds my hand and until now I still wait Him to be with Him forever. Thank God I belong to a good assembly and I am waiting for His coming.