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Shalom,

One week before New Year’s Eve, I went to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv to greet Russian immigrants coming home to Israel. As I watched the planes full of Jewish elderly, children, and families arrive, I had the unshakable feeling that 2012 is going to be a miraculous year, and I thanked God for enabling The Fellowship to help sponsor these freedom flights. What a privilege we have to be part of this prophetic ingathering of God’s children!

As I arrived at the airport an hour early to prepare, I was touched to find it bustling with well-wishers who came to greet the immigrants. The smiling faces of friends, family, and even government officials, were the first taste that they received of the Holy Land.

Reporters and TV crews crowded the terminal, conducting interviews with the new arrivals and applauding The Fellowship for its efforts in bringing them home to Israel. The smiling faces of these people who had finally realized their dream of coming to their biblical homeland graced the front page of many Israeli newspapers the next day. It made me very proud to know that, in Israel, the arrival of new immigrants is celebrated, and they are welcomed with open arms.

I will never forget seeing one young Russian mother sitting in the airport next to her two small suitcases and holding her three-year-old son on her lap. Her eyes were filled with tears of joy, and she kept saying to the boy, “We are finally home … we are finally home.” I thought of the harsh reality these two had escaped in Russia, where synagogues are routinely vandalized and Jewish cemeteries desecrated. Jews in Russia live in fear, and it is one of the most beautiful sites in the world to see that fear transform into joy and confidence the moment they set foot in the Holy Land.

The economic situation in Russia is also dire. Many Jews live in poverty, unable to afford basic necessities like food, medicine, and electricity. Since my grandparents come from this region and miraculously escaped the Holocaust, I, too, feel a deep connection to the Russian Jews’ plight. Those starving children and suffering elderly could have been my family. When I welcome new immigrants home to Israel, I witness the fulfillment of my ancestors’ dreams.

Though they have lived their entire lives in Russia, these people have always thought of Israel as their home. One elderly Russian couple, who survived the Holocaust, reinforced this when they told me, “We read the Bible and God says that Israel is where we belong, so we engrained Israel on our hearts, until we were able to make it here in the flesh.”

It is such a blessing that needy Jews from Russia who survived the Holocaust, Communism, anti-Semitism, and more, are now prophetically home in the Holy Land thanks to God and ourFellowship friends in Canada. This is a great start to the New Year — and all because of your generous heart for God’s people.

With blessings from the Holy Land,

Yael