• A few photos of the Aliyah work of Christians for Israel in the early nineties.
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Aliyah started after the fall of the Iron Curtain

Koen Carlier - 24 August 2021

Today Ukraine commemorates that it became an independent nation 30 years ago (1991 – 2021). We are reminded today that the fall of the Iron Curtain led to the exodus from the land of the north (Jeremiah 16 : 14-16) which, to our amazement, still continues today!

In the early days busloads of Jewish families from Ukraine were taken to neighboring countries: Hungary, Poland and Romania, because there weren’t any direct flights yet to Israel. That was tough, especially the long delays at the borders.

Time goes by fast… We continue spreading the message of the return (Aliyah). The past years have been special years with many obstacles and setbacks. But it is incredible to be in the ‘land of the North’ and to be able to help out practically with the return!

My wife, Ira Sulim-Carlier recalls the following from the time when the Iron Curtain fell:

“The freedom we have today is built on blood and suffering of many people. The struggle for freedom touched every family in Ukraine, whether through Holodomor (Starvation) or through fighting in II World War, through facing Stalin’s repressions or striving for national identity and faith in God.

Eleven years of my life I lived under the Soviet regime, under strict government control and limited freedom. It was the time when we had to speak only Russian, when any religious practice had been gradually forced out of public and private life, when your own opinion couldn’t be shared and initiative was punished. The ideology that I was taught at school at that time didn’t correspond with the ideology of my grandmother, who raised me and who was a Christian. She was also a witness and survivor of many terrible actions performed by communists against Christians, Jewish people and those who didn’t support ideas of communism. But at that time, I could not even dare asking her or my parents questions, I had to go with the flow…

From the end of the Communist period I remember the empty shelves in the grocery shops, hours without electricity at home, flats without heating. But it was also the time for gospel to come to Ukraine. During the first years of independence thousands of people came to the Lord, underground churches opened their doors. Since the Iron Curtain fell and borders were opened, the ‘refuzniks”, Jewish people, were finally free to go to Israel. I still remember big buses coming to my city to pick up families with their belongings and luggage, but I had no idea who they were and where they were going. As time passed, I got to know that they were Jewish families making Aliyah after so many years of praying, hoping and dreaming to return home. Psalm 126

Though Ukraine became independent, we still fight for our independence. In the past 30 years, already in the independent Ukraine, we had three revolutions, one of them was the overthrow of pro russian president Viktor Yanukovich. Even today in the Eastern part of Ukraine (frozen war) we have to fight for our security, our language, our territory, people still give their lives for our freedom.

I love my country and pray for it. ‘Blessed is the people whose God is the Lord’ says Psalm 143:15. And only in Him we can have real freedom and independence!”

Below: Some of the recent olim we assisted with their Aliyah. Your prayers and donations have made this (prophetic) work possible! 

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