Forget the scary hair and concentrate on the joyful faces!

This photo was taken in St. Petersburg, Russia, in April 1996. This was our first, fact-finding trip to the former Soviet Union at the invitation of Jonathan Bernis. We were invited to oversee a Bible school for young Messianic Jewish believers, but we did know where it would be and how it would all come together. Our hearts soared with joy and expectation as we took our first steps into a new world and a new life.

Seven months later, we sold, stored, and/or packed all our worldly belongings and relocated in Odessa, Ukraine, the birthplace of the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute.

Welcome to the new Messianic Jewish Bible Institute’s Photo Journal!

The flames of Communism burned across the former Soviet Union for decades. In the late 1990s those flames went underground leaving the land and the people scorched and thirsty. They desired Living Water–something they could drink and never thirst again.

Gospel teams rushed on the scene, and unprecedented revival broke out. Hear O Israel under the direction of Jonathan Bernis began to hold large Jewish cultural festivals of song and dance in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Odessa, Minsk, and Kiev. At the end of each festival, Jonathan presented a clear message of salvation in the Messiah.

Thousands of Jewish people attended these services and hundreds of them responded to the Good News. A desperate need for training arose. The Messianic Jewish Bible Institute was birthed in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1996 as a cooperative effort of several ministries. Since then schools started in Hungary, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, and Israel with affiliate schools in Korea and Kazakhstan.

My husband, Wayne, serves as the International Director of the MJBI. Although we helped pioneer the first school with Valentin and Tatyana Sviontek in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1996, we have lived in both Hungry and Cyprus as well. Currently, we are in the states tending to the administration needs of the ministry; but our hearts remain on foreign soil. Soil that is really not so foreign to us–all the places we call home abroad and with all the wonderful friends that have become like family.

The purpose of this journal is to present a few photos each week with a brief explanation. It may be of something current that is happening at an MJBI or related Messianic Jewish ministry. Or it may be something from our pictorial  archives.

Although I have dedicated my life to writing, I believe that a picture is worth a thousand words, and sometimes the best stories still need photographs.

We are tickled to receive your comments about the Messianic Jewish story that is unfolding around the world and expressed in our small way through photos.

This YouTube video below was complied in 2005 for the annual MJBI banquet. It is a good overview of who we are and some we are linked with.

It’s a joy and privilege to share this journey with you!



  1. […] He stripped us to our lowest point, so we would utterly depend on Him. You can read the whole story here and here and […]

  2. […] things came together. In case you haven’t read our humble beginnings, please check the Beginnings section of the MJBIphotojournal […]

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