Marcela, an industrial engineer, uses her vacation to go on mission trips. She experienced the power of God working through her in Israel.
Marcela, age 34 and from Argentina, had wanted to go to Israel ever since she was a teenager. In preparation, she started studying Hebrew seven years ago. When her classes ended, she continued to dream about Israel, even finding friends in the Jewish community in Buenos Aires.
Years ago when she started working a professional job as an industrial engineer, Marcela offered her holidays to God. Instead of vacations, she goes on mission trips. “Every year, I plan the next mission trip. It’s not a sacrifice for me; it’s really a special thing in my relationship with God. I enjoy going on holidays, but I enjoy doing mission trips more,” Marcela said.
So when she heard of the 26-day mission trip to Israel, it was her first choice.
“It was so wonderful to be where Jesus was, where He lived.” Marcela remembered. She especially enjoyed being in places mentioned in the Bible.
Her team, made up of people from 10 different countries, mainly focused on evangelism. They had a lot of conversations, which was initially difficult for Marcela. “It was my first time sharing the gospel in English, and I didn’t remember it all at first. But I had wise leaders, who showed me a good way to do it. She was also surprised by being able to interact with both Jewish and Muslim people.
One day, Marcela and a teammate met up with a woman named Farah*. They talked for over an hour, first about her studies, then about life, and finally religion. Farah told them that she didn’t consider herself a religious person, even though she practiced the traditions of her family, because culturally she is Muslim.
“She said she didn’t have a chance to choose her religion,” Marcela remembered. “Then she asked about our experiences; she thought we didn’t have a choice, either. So we got to explain our faith: how one day we heard about Jesus and our lives changed. I shared my testimony with Farah about how I was born in a religious family, too. I told her that as a child, I didn’t believe in God, but my grandmother always told me about Jesus. And one day, I felt alone and sad. I’d been betrayed by one of my best friends and I remembered everything my grandmother told me about Jesus. In that moment, I started a relationship with Him, and have never felt alone again.”
When she finished sharing her testimony, Marcela noticed Farah’s face changing. She agreed with them that there was a difference between a religion and a relationship with God. Marcela’s teammate offered to send her more information about Jesus, and Farah gave them her contact information. “I loved this conversation,” Marcela reflected, “because I could see how this lady could understand the difference, and I realized many Muslim people are searching for God, searching to live in a right way.”
Marcela now says her time in Israel taught her complete dependence on God. “It was my first time sharing the gospel in English, and I also didn’t know anything about the culture. Everything was new for me. I learned to be more humble because I had to depend on God for everything.”
Marcela might have returned home from her trip to Israel, but her impact there continues.
*Name changed for security