Shavei Tzion’s Eagle Project teaches young believers to fly
Shavei Tzion Messianic congregation in Haifa has a lot going on. This congregation reaches out to many Israelis in diverse sections of society with the love and power of Yeshua through humanitarian and educational outreaches.
Planted in 2001 by Leon and Nina Mazin, the vision of Shavei Tzion (Return to Zion) is to “Restore faith in Yeshua in Israel in our days.”
Some of its programs include the Haifa Theological Institute, the Rainbow of Sounds Music School, the Oasis Media ministry, a prophecy studio, a food distribution center, ministry to Holocaust survivors and providing assistance to new immigrants to Israel.
One of Shavei Tzion’s main outreaches is the Eagle Project. The Eagle (nesher in Hebrew) Project, which began in 2015, aims to encourage and strengthen young Israeli believers who have recently completed their army service.
Through the project, done in collaboration with Norwegian Christians, former IDF soldiers take a trip to Norway for “physical and mental rest, spiritual renewal, discipleship, fellowship, and service to local communities.”
“I spent nine years in the IDF – first in military college, then as a soldier and officer. In my time there, 80 percent of young Messianic believers lost their faith during their army service – and those 20 percent that remained were not strong,” Eagle project coordinator Evgeni Stanukevich told KNI explaining the need for this type of outreach.
In determining to reach out to these young adults, Shavei Tzion capitalizes on the celebrated Israeli tradition in which young people take time out to travel after their army service.
“They do this to clear their minds, meet different people and see sites,” Stanukevich said. “This is very important to them.”
Understanding the value that young Israelis place on this unofficial tradition, Stanukevich explained that the idea behind the Eagle Project was not to block such travel for believers, but “to guide them to a better place and a positive environment so that they come back from their trip as a fresh new person who is ready to do a good job in God’s kingdom.”
Shavei Tzion operates on the scripture that its founders that God gave them in inspiring the project: “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
“These days the youth are tired and weak. They walk without a goal, without understanding why they are here,” Stanukevich said. “In my opinion these youth adults struggle because they have not had a personal encounter with Yeshua. They are just trying to survive as the ‘good believers’ their parents want them to be.”
“We have a great responsibility as family, spiritual family and congregation to do our part to help them receive their own revelation of Yeshua,” Stanukevich continued. “Youth also need to be trained in the Word to overcome their spiritual enemy.”
The Eagle Project therefore helps young adults to renew or receive faith, to heal the wounds of their past experiences, to help them rest, and to understand what are their unique gifts from God.
As the Eagle Project team reached out to believing communities around the world and prayed about where to take their first group, it became apparent that Norway would be the place.
“It was our Norwegian brothers who had spirit we looked for: the excitement, joy and clear answers,” Stanukevich recalled.
The first group took the month long trek to Norway in 2015 and the work has continued since. Activities include prayer and worship with local youth, hiking in the mountains, sharing testimonies in home groups and churches, leading services, having fun and participating in youth conferences and discussions.
The group also receives many hours of teaching on fundamental matters including the roots of our faith, walking daily with the Lord, prayer and Bible study, living by the Spirit, the fruits of the Spirit and identity in Yeshua.
“This program is not for those who only want to travel and go shopping,” Stanukevich added.
The next trip to Norway is scheduled for August 2018. To qualify for the program, participants must have finished their IDF or national service and be open to meeting God. They must also be willing to listen and be ready to participate in all group activities.
“Aside from witnessing the spiritual growth of our young people it is so amazing to see a huge amount of the fruit of unity between the Jewish and Gentile believers,” Stanukevich summarized.
Click below to watch a video about last year’s Eagle project trip:
For further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Karen Faulkner is a British Israeli citizen. She has a Master's degree in Human Rights & Transitional Justice from Hebrew University, Jerusalem.