Sunday, November 11, 2012

End of the year update from the Schneiers

Dear Friends of the Schneiers,
    A month after our trip to Israel, Leslye and I journeyed to Odessa, Ukraine. (See Israel report at The Odessa congregation, Gates of Zion, which we helped found in 1995 and are the senior leaders of today, hosted an IAMCS congregational leadership conference. Congregations were represented from twenty-two cities in Ukraine as well as Russia,  Belarus, Czech Republic, England and the US and friends from Israel. The joining of the first Russian congregational member to our IAMCS fellowship opens up a whole new, vast area of ministry for us in the former Soviet Union.  Approximately 190 people registered for the conference and perhaps 30 more attended from Odessa. If your church or congregation is interested in attending one of these semi-annual leadership conferences and serving the Messianic movement in Europe please contact David at You will never be the same!
    The conference included ten hours of sharing over three days led by David, Messianic Rabbi Eric Walker of Birmingham, Alabama, Pastor Barry Boucher of The Life Centre in Ottawa, Canada, Bishop Anatoly Gavriluk from Kiev, Ukraine and three key Messianic leaders from Ukraine, Sasha Popazov (Odessa), Yura Korshun (Nikolaiv) and Victor Vilensky (Yevapatoria). They will be at the IAMCS Rabbis conference in Orlando in January. There were powerful times of worship and praise, reading from the torah, afternoons for fellowship, plenty of meals, visiting the Holocaust Survivors' Association museum and hosting a banquet for the association's members, ministry at two of the six orphanages we serve and celebrating at our shabbat service. Many thanks to Messianic Rabbis Alan Levine and Joel Liberman for gifts to make the survivors banquet possible. Rabbi Eric also brought about 80 tallts which were distributed by his team to a meeting of the main congregational leaders present at the conference. ("Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." Ps 133:1)

Brothers dancing together

One congregational leader interpreting for another leader
Breaking bread together

Celebrating God's word together

Worship leaders from 6 cities praising together

Inflatible torahs from Israel (Totally Kosher)
Reading from the Torah together
Birmingham tea blessing the leaders with tallits
   You can see by the photos that our time together was joyful and blessed.  It reminds me of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote about the imperative for the believer of "life together" with other followers of Yeshua. We were created for such loving relationships with God and with man. I have rarely seen the fulfillment of Bonhoeffer's call as I do in the revival of Messianic Judaism in Ukraine. It is intentional, voluntary and not programmatic in any way. You can see it when 6 congregational worship leaders get together without rehearsal to lead worship and praise, each not wanting to outshine the others and where 3three key leaders of different Ukrainian Messianic congregations work together without competition to provide the servant/leadership model (which Yeshua spoke about in Matthew 22:25-28) for a whole country and continent to see.  

    We want to focus on the ministry to the survivors of the Holocaust in this update because of the shortness of time left to share the good news of Yeshua with these precious people. At this point many of the survivors openly profess their relationship with the God of Israel through Messiah Yeshua. As much as were are excited about the survivors coming to faith, we know there are hundreds more who need to know the power of Yeshua's resurrection. This process from "Holocaust to Heaven," as Rabbi Eric so aptly described it, has taken seventeen years of service by the Odessa congregation to the survivors. They know God loves them and preserved them for such a time as this by the active love shown them and their families. Their faith is not shaken by traditional religious opposition because they can see that the Messianic Jewish believers come not with words only but with deeds on a consistent basis.

Romanian soldiers entering Odessa
A march of death of Jewish prisoners

One example is Mihail. He was a young teenager when twenty thousand Jews including Mihail and his family were rounded up in Odessa and marched to wooden barracks. Once the Jews were locked inside the barracks, the Nazis and Romanians tried to murder them all by shooting them through windows. That plan failed because those who died first created a wall of lifeless bodies which protected those who were still alive. Finally, the captors set the barracks on fire and 19,999 of the Jews were engulfed in the flames. The smoke and smell from the fire and burning bodies and the screams of those who were perishing through this horrendous act of mass murder went out into the city. No one nearby could claim that they did not know what was happening that day. Only one person survived this event and that was Mihail. He managed to get through the roof of the barracks he was in and eventually escape the compound which was surrounded by guards waiting to shoot anyone who broke out of the barracks.
Diorama of barracks burned by the Nazis & Romanians
...... and a banquet for survivors

Mihail with Leslye at the banquet

Mihail at our congregational service

   Mihail was present at the banquet we had for the survivors after our conference and at our shabbat service. He knows God saved him and Yeshua  redeemed him. He was the only one of 20,000 to survive and you can imagine the power of his testimony. There are many others who still have not experienced the saving grace of Yeshua's sacrifice in Odessa, Ukraine and the former Soviet Union. The success of the ministry to the survivors must continue and it must grow because most of the survivors have less and less time to hear the gospel as each month passes. You can be a direct part of this ministry by your prayers and a special end of the year and regular monthly gifts. There is information below that will help you with your support.
   Another ministry of the Odessa congregation that we closely supervise is our work with six orphanages. The Birmingham team visited two orphanages, one for the deaf and one for disabled children. At the orphanage for deaf, we were treated to many presentations by the children including songs, short plays, readings and piano and accordion solos. The team had a chance to bless the kids with some treats and prayers. We then toured the facility and were shown concretely where our support has made a difference including kitchen and computer equipment, new windows to keep out the cold and new furniture and carpets for a new section for very young children. Our thanks to Rabbi Walter Lieber and his family foundation for their generous gifts over many years now. To maintain and expand our ministry to other orphanages in Odessa is possible through your support in 2013.
Short skit by the orphans
Accordionist and pianist from the orphanage
88 year old US team member passing out treats

New beds and carpets

   In all of this we are more than conquerors. Yet, we are facing a serious financial crunch in 2013. You may know that a foundation that has substantially supported us for years has ceased its operations in 2012. Because of the death of another key donor and the effects of retirement of other donors and the recession on giving, we need raise approximately $40,000 just to stay even with the annual levels of support we have reached in these past 17 years.. But time is running out for the Holocaust survivors, many of the Odessa orphans will remain in the orphanages until they are seventeen and the Lord is opening doors for us to plant congregations in Israel and gather many unaffiliated congregations spread all over Russia. These congregations need fellowship and encouragement to continue their local works and we have the experience and leadership to help them. Being centrally located in Europe enables us to travel easily from England to Ukraine and now Israel and Russia. And our connections with individual Jewish people in France continue to grow. France has the third largest Jewish population in the world but only two Messianic congregations. So much has to be done to raise up new leaders to expand the Messianic Jewish witness in Europe and it cannot be done without you.
   We need to see through a significant increase in end of the year gifts and new monthly donors because  you see what the Lord is doing in Europe and are motivated to be part of it. In 7 days we need to sign our lease for our apartment in Paris for September 2013 through June 2014. We need your help to do that because the funds we used to rely on to make such a decision are no longer available. Our home is our base for all of our work in Europe. Please consider this appeal when you receive this e-mail and let us know by return e-mail that you have sent or will send in a special gift before the end of the year towards covering the goal of raising $40,000 for ministry expenses. Knowing that you are behind us and want to invest in reaching our Jewish people in an ever increasing atmosphere of European anti-Semitism will be a much needed encouragement for the year ahead.
   If you would like to financially partner with us you can do so as follows below.

Please send your check, made payable to Glory of Zion Int’l Ministries, to:

The Schneiers

c/o Glory of Zion Int’l Ministries

PO Box 1601
Denton, TX 76202-1601 
(Please include a note with your check that it is “For the Schneiers.” (Your gifts are tax deductible).

    If you would like to make a credit card donation, go to, click on "Donate" on the left side of the home page, fill in your credit card info on the "Send a Donation" page, in the "Put Toward" section click on "Designated Gift" and in the "Enter Recipient" section fill in "The Schneiers." This last step will insure that  your gift goes to our ministry. You can indicate in the comment section if your gift is one-time or to be charged monthly on the date you provide.

   Blessings, Love and Shalom,

       David & Leslye

                                  Some gifts from the Odessa congregation
                                  for Leslye's birthday in October