"I ate the brownies. Then they said, 'That's it. You're in for it now.'"

For eight years we ate together, slept at each other's houses, spent weekends hanging out - me and my buddies.

Then our activities began to include night clubs and drinking beer. My conscience would say, "I am doing such nonsense. When will I make a clean break for myself?"

Meanwhile, I completed my army service and reentered civilian life.

At a certain point I got tired of this double existence. On Friday night I would get drunk, and then on Shabbat I would go to the congregational worship service like a "butterfly". Each time I prayed and asked for forgiveness.

Then the moral situation around me got so low that I was physically nauseous at the things being done. I decided to stop associating with these friends. Not too long after, I fell from a ladder and could not work for months. It was a very tough time for me.

My old friends tried to get me to rejoin their partying and drinking lifestyle. When I refused they laughed at me, "What, you think you are really going to change?!"

After a particularly good worship time at the congregation, the guys called asking me to go out with them that night. As usual I declined. Then they showed up at my house at midnight. Something was not right in their eyes. They were drunk and something else besides. But they had brought brownies and I was hungry. We made tea. They gave me several brownie squares and could not stop laughing, but they promised the brownies were fine! I ate the brownies. Then they said, "That's it. You're in for it now."

They warned me not to let myself fall asleep. Soon I started hallucinating. I didn't know if I was awake or asleep. The "broken record" in my brain kept repeating itself again and again. Again and again. I went to look at myself in the bathroom mirror. The lights in my eyes had been turned off. I saw my soul go up while my body stayed put. I told my brother, "I am dying." I saw everything from above. I couldn't see the faces of my family. I could only hear them. My heart almost stopped.

All through that night I suffered. My mom phoned my so-called friends and yelled at them. My body convulsed as if jolted by electricity.

Then I saw it. I saw that I would one day stand and testify before people of how God rescued me. I prayed. I slept for 15 hours.

My friends laughed at me. They got a kick out of the way I talked incoherently after they drugged me. They had almost killed me but didn't seem to care.

After praying with Eitan and Avi later that week I told my ex-friends, "I prayed for you and forgave you even in the middle of the hallucinations. But I am taking an axe and cutting every root that connects us. I choose this day to live for God. I implore you to choose life because you never know when the end will come."

I did not file a complaint with the police.

All this happened over two years ago. I do not have anger in my heart. God showed me that I was living for the flesh. Since then I have chosen every day to live for Him. My life made a complete turnaround in every way. As part of this I devoted myself to serve the young adults at Tents of Mercy intensively.

Things began to change for the better in many ways. Soon after the brownie incident, I began working on a farm and seeking God daily. A believing family visited from Central Asia and happened to come see the farm where I was working. They had a beautiful daughter my age. We began an accelerated courtship, and today we are happily married!

Now I continue to pursue God's presence together with my wife. God is the foundation rock for us, and we are learning to rely on Him.

"You thought evil against me: but God turned it into good." (Genesis 50:20 DRA)

By Tents of Mercy
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00:09 29Mar15 Florence Berg -
You can choose your friends, choose them wisely.

04:11 29Mar15 Frank Onofrio -
It would be nice to know if "Joseph" became a "believing Jew" (Messianic Jew) or not, apparently after marrying the daughter of a "believing family" from Central Asia. Or was he a supposed Messianic Jew, but a wayward one, from before?
In any case, a very interesting story about what happens when one pursues God with his whole heart.

  -- David, the Managing Editor replies: Yes! Indeed this dear friend has become an inspiration in faith to many around him, particularly young adults. God knows the heart, but I think he would characterize himself as certainly being "wayward" before the crossroads incidents he shared.

04:29 29Mar15 Suzanna -
Thank you so much for sharing that true, great story with us, to glorify God. He has taught me there are 3 Temptations, that both Chavah/Eve and Yeshua faced - and I too, each day: 1. Just PLEASE yourself... You must be hungry... You need "it"... so "just do it" - (even though you know it's wrong.) 2.SHOW OFF yourself... Satan used one Scripture verse [Ps 91:12] about Yeshua being lifted up and protected. He missed out the next verse: "You (Yeshua) will tread on the lion and the snake..."! 3. SAVE yourself... don't take up your cross to obey God's will, or to serve others, maybe take a selfish path to "fame"? May the loving LORD use you and your wife to bless many Jewish - Secular and other Israelis.

13:24 29Mar15 Joy Grainge -
Great testimony of God's love!!! Thank you for sharing.

16:23 29Mar15 RF -
Thank you for sharing your testimony - quite a gripping story and a powerful witness to forgiveness and God's redemptive power but also a sobering warning. A call to pray when evil, also in the form of mockery is raising its head in our societies more than ever.

14:59 30Mar15 Philip Latham -
A most encouraging story. But I know from my own life how patient God is with us (he certainly was - is - with me). I wish every blessing from God to this couple.

Also in this issue of the newsletter:
Daniel Juster: Cup of Staggering
Hannah: God's Faithfulness, A Messianic Mommy's Musings
Evgeni: A Place Without Noise
Lyndsey: Behind the Scenes
Asher Intater: God Told Me! ... Really?
Asher Intrater: The Price of Unity
Revive Israel: Esther Fast Recap