Posted by: Bonnie | September 23, 2007

Meet Our Friends!

Valentin and Tatyana taken at MJBI banquet, 2006

Valentin and Tatyana helped us pioneer the first Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, first in Myaki, Ukraine, and later in Odessa, Ukraine. Valentin grew up in Chmelnitski, Ukraine, and Tatyana grew up in Moldova.

After they met and married, they sought immigration to the United States. In the 1980’s, the Soviet states released many Jews to make immigration to America and Israel.

They planned to immigrate to Israel, but when the Israeli immigration officer asked them if they were Christians or Jews, they answered Christians, not wanting to deny Jesus. They did not have much knowledge of the fact that Jews can keep their identity as Jews and maintain their Jewish lifestyle and practice and still embrace Yeshua as Messiah. So Valentine and Tatyana were sent to the United States instead. They actually arrived as refugees.

They scrambled to learn English, and Valentin got a job working at MacDonald’s! God ordered their steps and they eventually arrived in Dallas, Texas, and became students of Christ for the Nations Institute. They studied missions and deeply desired to return to Ukraine to reach the Jewish people someday with the Good News.

Valentin and Tatyana flourished in the USA. Tatyana graduated from a design school and Dallas and was offered a job at GAP. Valentin started a limosene service. God blessed them in everything they did.

They also joined Shady Grove Church in Grand Prairie, Texas, and that is where Wayne and I met them. Communism had fallen in the early 1990’s, and the Svionteks were eager to return to their homeland.

When it came time for Shady Grove Church to send Wayne and I to Ukraine to start the first school, we asked the Sviontek family to join us. So in the fall of 1996, both families started a new life in Ukraine, pioneering the MJBI.

Picture taken in Myaki, Ukraine, in 1996, the Sviontek family, Wilks family, and Ukrainian cooks.

Today Valentin and Tatyana oversee the MJBI school, and a Messianic congregation called “Or HaMeshicah.” They hold outreach events for the Jewish people in the city of Odessa during the Jewish holidays. Many Jews are still coming to faith in the Messiah throughout the former Soviet Union.

One of the most significant works of compassion of the MJBI in Odessa is the soup kitchen for Holocaust survivors. MJBI students bring meals to them weekly. They also tell them about the saving blood and grace of Yeshua. Over 130 Holocaust survivors have come to salvation over the years. Many of these have now died and gone to heaven.

Valentin and Tatyana have three boys, Roman, David, and Joshua.



  1. Hello!
    My name is Anders Branderud, I am 23 years and I am from Sweden. I have practised Orthodox Judaism through Netzarim ( in Ra’anana in Israel (led by the Orthodox Jew Paqid Yirmeyahu ha-Tzadiq), who are followers of Ribi Yehoshua – the Messiah – since 2007-05. Before that I was a devoted Christian for 6 years.

    By practising Torah non-selectively we make the world a better place to live in!

    You write: Many Jews are still coming to faith in the Messiah throughout the former Soviet Union.”

    The research of world-recognized authorities (for example Barrie Wilson; ) in this area implies that Ribi Yehoshua was a Pharisee (a Torah-practising Jewish group) – who according to 4Q MMT (a Scroll found in the Qumran-caves) practised both written and oral Torah.

    That Ribi Yehoshua was a Pharisee implies that you need to practise his Torah-teachings if want to follow him. You do that by practising Torah (including oral Torah; see “Mishpat” and “Halakhah” at Glossaries in the first page at the above website)!

    Ribi Yehoshua warned for false prophets who don’t produce good fruit = defined as don’t practise the commandments in Torah according to Halakhah (oral Torah; see “Mishpat” and “Halakhah” at Glossaries in the first page at the abvove website). See Devarim (Deuteronomy) 13:1-6.

    If Ribi Yehoshua didn’t keep Halakhah he is a false prophet. Torah gives authority to Halakhah (as I said see the glossaries-definition at our website).

    So the real Messiah was an Jew who practised Torah and Halakhah.

    To quote the first century Ribi Yehoshua: “Happy are they to be who hunger and thirst after tzedaqah [justness according to Torah; that is practising the מצות in תורה (Torah)], for they shall be filled of it.” [The Netzarim Reconstruction of Hebrew Matityahu 5:3].

    All the best,

    From Anders Branderud

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