I was raised in the Catholic faith. Being an obedient
child, I went to Mass with my parents, dressed up like a bride for my First
Communion, and tried to think of all of the possible sins that I could confess
at my First Confession. None of these actions brought me to my Savior. I was
never a problem child, in fact, quite the opposite. To this day, my mom tells
everyone what a “perfect” daughter I have been. Of course, she exaggerates a
bit, but moms can do that. I guess I always thought that I was just going to end
up in heaven because I was good. I never really thought much about it. It was
not until I was in High School that Yeshua (Jesus) was introduced to me in a
real and personal way.
I am grateful for the faithful servants who answer the
call to work with High School students. I’m sure it is a challenge. I am
grateful for a ministry called Young Life that reached out to students in a way
that was meaningful and fun. Fortunately for me, Young Life was the “place to
be” on Wednesday nights. My sister Karen and I went every Wednesday and then
signed up for a Weekend Beach Retreat. I’m sure I was more interested in the
boys who were going than in the message that would be shared, but nonetheless, I
went. After speaking and teaching one night, one of our leaders offered an
invitation to receive Christ. I had never experienced such a thing. And although
I never had some great emotional experience, I knew that what I had heard was
the truth. My sister and I both went forward to accept the gift of salvation.
Almost immediately upon returning home, Karen and I wanted to start attending a
non-denominational church that some of our Christian friends attended. We even
talked our parents into going. At this church, they too heard the gospel of
salvation shared as an intimate and personal gift. After decades of attending
Mass, they had never been encouraged to accept Jesus into their hearts.
Eventually, both of our parents walked forward and accepted the invitation to
Becoming a believer was relatively easy for me. I had
always been well-behaved. Even as a child I would remind my babysitters that it
was time for my sister and me to go to bed. As a teen, I was equally mature and
quite well-behaved. So my new faith fit me well, but never caused any major
life-changing effects—at least not for about 23 years.
I had been married for 12 years and had a 4-year-old
daughter. My husband had suffered from chronic pain and related problems
including depression during much of our married life, and these problems were
tearing our family apart. For the first time, my life wasn’t “perfect.” My
husband and I were talking of divorce and our young daughter was suffering from
the emotional stress of our family problems. On top of my personal problems, the
events of September 11th, 2001 occurred. Out of this huge mess, God
did a wondrous thing. He brought me to special ministry at our church—the
Rejoice Dance Ministry. I had always loved to dance and had had some dance
training throughout my life. One of the women on the team had been encouraging
me to join for about a year. I joined the ministry team on September 12, 2001.
As I look back at those events in my life, I contemplate the spiritual battles
that must have raged in the heavens over my move to join this ministry. Yahweh
knew His plans for me at that time even though I didn’t. And I believe with all
my heart that Satan knew that Yahweh’s plans were BIG. Satan tried desperately
to stop these plans, attacking my family in the most viscous ways to put an end
to the plans before they could even begin.
The leader of the ministry, who subsequently became my
dear friend and ministry partner was Theresa Miles. She was the person whom God
used to bring me to knowledge about the Hebraic roots of my faith. Her love of
Israel and her embrace of the truth of our spiritual heritage was contagious, as
can be attested to by all the people she has touched with her passion,
enthusiasm and faithfulness to her calling. Unlike Theresa and others I have met
since then, I cannot say that I have always had a love for Israel-- for the
land, for the Jewish people, or for what I believed to be “their” faith. I had
to be taught and guided toward these truths. But it didn’t take long for me to
catch the passion for my Hebraic heritage and the truth of my citizenship in
Israel. After teaching these truths through our dance ministry, God led Theresa
and I to begin a new ministry.
Project: Restoration was birthed on airplane flight after
we attended a Christian Zionist Conference in Washington D.C. in May, 2003. We
both knew that we were called to teach other Christians about our true spiritual
heritage and about God’s plan of restoration of His Kingdom. As we formed our
ministry, Satan once again attacked my family. He did not want me to move
forward with Yahweh’s plans for my life. Just as Theresa and I began making
plans for our new ministry, my husband became severely depressed and my
daughter developed stress-related physical problems. My husband and I once again
came very close to separating and getting a divorce. But Yahweh, in His infinite
mercy, reached down and parted the seas for my family. In a way that was nothing
short of miraculous, Yahweh turned my husband’s life around. No, God did not
take away the problems, He gave my husband the strength and courage to deal with
them. I am so grateful for the faithful love and prayers of my family and
friends during these difficult times. God heard the prayers of all of us and He
I know that my testimony is growing every day. I am so
excited about the job that Yahweh has given to me to proclaim the truth of ALL
of His word, to restore that which has been lost to Christian believers with
regards to their Hebraic heritage, and to encourage the reunion of Jews and
Christians as one family under one Heavenly Father. Being chosen to participate in
this magnificent Endtimes fulfillment of prophecy is more than I deserve or
could have ever hoped for. I am grateful for the support and love of my husband
and daughter and others in my family, as well as the dear friends I have who
share in this mission of restoration. I pray that I will be found faithful.
People often ask how I became so interested in the Hebraic
Roots of Christianity. Well, I know it began as a child. I had a very blessed
childhood growing up in a huge Catholic-Italian family on Long Island, New
York. I have two older brothers, Michael and Chris. We lived in a
neighborhood that was predominantly Catholic and Jewish. We were a religious
family. I can remember sitting in my room reading the Old Testament trying to
understand it. I would always speak to God and ask Him questions because I
wanted to know who He was and what He was doing. But, those years were quiet.
One of my first friends was a girl named Abby. We were
only 6 and in first grade. I remember vividly a man walking up to our lunch
table asking me 'Are you a Christian or a Jew?' I had no idea but was certain
that whatever Abby was I must be also because I loved her so much. Abby told me
and I quickly turned to the man and said "I'm a Jew." The man moved on and I
never saw him again. I always remembered that day and thought it a very strange
question. As time went by I was very fascinated by my Jewish friends. I
thought we had a completely different religion. Only now do I realize we serve
the same God and the same faith. The difference lying in the fact that
Christians believe the Messiah came. More differences being that Jews have
added their traditions to the scriptures and Christians have added their own
traditions. With each new tradition it has pulled us in opposite directions.
Both have distorted the Word of God.
My family moved to Florida when I was 16. By then my
brothers were old enough to live on their own and they stayed behind. By my mid
twenties I felt I did not understand my faith and I wanted a relationship with
God. I set out on a journey to find out more about Him. I tried prayer groups
and various churches. All the while I had a fondness for things that were
In 1991, I married Bill. He shared the dream of having a
Godly life and family. Right on schedule came our first bundle of joy, Brandon
James. He was a fulfillment of my dreams. But, then I had the drawing again
from God. I found myself walking into a Synagogue with Brandon on my hip. Not
a soul was around. I whispered 'Ok God, here I am, now what?' But, I heard
Shortly after that I was at a Christian thrift store and
buried among a pile of clothes was a Menorah. I knew that was there for me. It
was a treasure I had to have and still do. I announced to Bill he had to take
me to Orlando and find a Jewish Book Store. I bought a Seder Plate and book on
Jewish Holidays. I began reading and trying to understand.
Repeatedly I kept hearing an inner voice telling me to go
to Israel. I would dismiss the idea but it always returned. I spent hours
trying to understand why as Christians we weren't doing things it said to do in
the Bible. Bill would say "Don’t ask, you won't like the answers." But, ask I
did. All answers were so weak and no scriptural foundation.
Well, the next bundle of joy was Dana Tracy. She was born
with Downs Syndrome. She was the child God used to shape me, purge me and
refine me. It sent me and Bill spiraling into depression and questioning who
God really was. Fortunately, a great friend convinced me to pursue God and not
give up, so, I quickly enrolled in a Kay Arthurs Precepts class on Covenant.
God began to answer my questions. Over time God continued to restore my soul
and spirit. I let God shape me into the parent I needed to be for this special
child He gave me. Only then was I ready for bundle number three. Jordan
Michael arrived on May 14, Israel's Independence Day. His life and spirit is
one that has brought comfort and peace.
While Jordan was a baby I became involved at Whole Loaf
Worship Center's Food Ministry. I delivered food throughout the community with
my children and helped prepare the weekly lunch. One afternoon, lunch was
ready, so I went to get the attention of the Bible teacher. I began listening
to her message about all things Hebraic. I tossed my dish towel and said "From
now on, I'm in here!" This teacher was Barbara Richmond. I will always be
grateful for what she shared, she was an answer to prayer. My understanding was
becoming deeper and I knew now was the time to go to Israel.
Bill and I went to Israel for the Jubilee Year Feast of
Tabernacles. That trip changed my life. But, not while I was there. Our
Church, First Baptist of Merritt Island, spent a month fasting and praying. As
I entered into this fast God created such a passion for His people in my heart
and a love for the dance.
One evening while my family was celebrating Shabbat in our
own way with music and dancing, I thought it time to put the children to bed so
I could continue worshipping alone. I came back to the candle-lit room and
began dancing. Thinking to myself, I had not danced in years, nor did I have
any desire, it had died. As I leaped for joy God spoke audibly to me and said
"I had to make it die in the natural in order to rebirth it for my glory".
Instantly, I knew my life was about to change. Questions flooded me. 'Why
now? I’m 40, I don't remember my years of training, I’m out of shape, I'm not a
leader, I can't do this!' God sent people to encourage and train me. He also
let me understand that in my weakness He can use me. That will keep me humble,
knowing it's all from Him and not in my own strength. He wanted me to dance His
dance, not man's dance that I learned in the studio.
So, with great reluctance I approached our Pastor on
Passover. His answer was 'Yes, I think this is what God wants too!' That is
when the Rejoice Dance Ministry began. It quickly grew to 3 teams, men, women
and children. God is the coach and He picks the team. It has been a wonderful
journey as we grew and became a worship team that is like a family.
I knew this ministry had to be Hebraic in nature. For
seven years we were immersed in understanding the fullness of all of His
scriptures. Rejoice has danced extensively throughout the US and helped birth
new ministries along the way.
Also, after returning from Israel my family began
celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles in our home and inviting people every
night. The third year at my home a Pastor asked if we would take this to the
community. Little did I know this was the beginning of another ministry.
The first Community Wide Celebration was incredibly
inspired by God and more than we could have dreamed. Now, we have been leading
the community in celebrating the Lord's Feasts at their appointed times. The
Pastor at my church suggested separating the dance ministry and the teaching
ministry and thus, Project Restoration was birthed with God entrusting myself
and Kathy Mardirosian with this new responsibility. Kathy was an answer to
prayer in the dance ministry. For years, I needed help, and God brought her to
me. She has amazing gifts and talents. We share the same vision and devotion.
Together we have been known as a Hurricane! Hopefully in a good sense! God put
us together for such a time as this. Two together make ten times more things
Another vision God always had on my heart was to unite
Churches, Synagogues and the Messianic through the love for Israel and in areas
where we can agree. This has been fruitful for the vision of God to go forth.
To tear down the middle wall of partition and create the one new man.
We also take the teachings into home groups, churches, and
schools. We present them in creative ways that inspire all ages. I was always
a visual learner and decided the best way to teach is through a combination of
things that can be seen and experienced.
I believe if God
knows you will be a vessel for Him and say "send me", then He will pour an
anointing upon you of creativity and strength. It has been the greatest gift of
my life to serve Him with my family and friends. I am in awe and humbled as I
learn hidden or lost truths about my faith as He reveals them. From beginning
to end, He has a plan for you, but the key is obedience.