Dear Mike,

Greetings from Kazakhstan. I thought it might be encouraging to send a brief
synopsis of my journey with the Lord since my escape from 515!  I hope it will
be an encouragement to the brethren.

Shalom and God bless you,

Jeff

Here goes:

Greetings and Shalom my dear brothers and sisters in Jesus!

The Coogans e-mailed me about this web sight and I logged on from here where
I live, in Almaty, Kazakhstan and presto I was thrown back into a "past life"
I have all but forgotten.  I do remember so many of you and thought that I
would attempt to encourage and refresh your hearts in Christ.  I believe my
story might encourage you to take heart and realize that all things do work
out for the good for those who love God and are called according to His
purpose.

It has been years since I escaped the fortress of 515 in NYC but I remember
those days with clarity.  I also remember the grace that was upon me even
when I was entangled along with all of you in the webs of deception and fear.

Being raised as a Jew I was so fascinated at my profound discovery that
Jesus was truly my Lord and Messiah that I was enveloped in a protective awe
throughout my early years as a believer.  I had a prevailing sense of
"chosenness" upon my life because the majority of my brethren in the flesh
were so blinded by the god of this age as to the truth concerning the
identity of Messiah.  Therefore in COBU although I like so many others were
subject to ridicule, and barraged by words that broke down rather than built
up I found myself unable to become as beaten down as one would expect from
such treatment.  I therefore was often referred to as being "unreal" a term
that I at first despised but later on grew to appreciate!  I guess it was
rather healthy at least for me to have been "unreal" in the unreal world in
which we lived!  At any rate I never grew as discouraged as I was supposed
to although I was told often like so many of you that I was a hopelessly
evil, unfaithful wretch contagious to others  and unworthy of grace at least
according to the gospel of the dark lord of colored flair pens and suction
machines.

Sometime in 1979 or 80 (those years are hazy) I by the grace of God was able
to escape. A group of bros. who had been listening to illegal clandestine
radio broadcasts by dangerous preachers of God's love began to preach to me.
I soon joined their ranks accepting the unpopular doctrine that we are truly
saved by grace.  In tribute to the then emerging market of video games we
called ourselves the "Grace Invaders" and attempted to "witness" to our
brethren who we felt along with us had believed "another gospel". Needless
to say we were given the left hand of fellowship or more appropriately the
right boot!  I found myself in the northern suburbs of NJ too scared to
"backslide" (Praise God) but even more sacred to go near a large red button
ever again!

About a year passed (I am leaving much out) and eventually I ran into a
precious family of Jewish believers in Jesus who helped me immensely.  They
were able to both laugh and cry as I told them of my color-coded life as a
lower orange, soon to be brown transient yellow-bellied sucker!  Yeah I
guess when it comes down to it I have to admit that if I had really believed
the bible I would never had swallowed all that poison.  But we were all
truly naïve and zealous -  a dangerous combination of traits to possess in
the presence of a charismatic dysfunctional megalomaniac.

It is my opinion that our bearded black buttoned, yellow sneakered leader
really had a tremendous call of God on his life. BUT by not submitting
himself to proper biblical authority early on I believe he gave himself over
to a spirit of rebellion and was doomed to fail from the beginning.
Unfortunately we who were coming out of a rebellious youth culture to begin
with both identified and were very attracted to this rebel.  If ST would
have allowed GOD to place him in authority AFTER being under right authority
himself he could have been a major player in our generation as a church
leader and a great blessing to the church. Instead his presence was
menacing.  He could have possibly even impacted the American church, which
was truly in need of repentance from dead religion and apathy.  Somehow you
could join COBU and remain a rebel against society.  In coming to Jesus this
is one of the things that must go and certainly not be strengthened!  Anyway
books can be written about Mr T who was merely one of many abusive leaders
who neither knew the grace of God nor could have possibly have been walking
with Jesus in an intimate way.

I believe also that the countless souls who gave themselves to COBU and
truly attempted to serve the Lord there to the best of their ability do HAVE
an incredible call upon their lives.  There was a level of commitment to THE
LORD there that should not go unrecognized.  Surely we were deceived BUT if
you look at your stay there as part of a process that God knew about before
hand, then you will hopefully not get stuck in the past but rather move on
"toward the upward call of God".

Back to my story: I visited Israel for the first time in 1983 and it was
there I rediscovered my roots as a Jew. In 1986 I moved to Gaithersburg Md
and became part of Beth Messiah, a Messianic Jewish Congregation.  It was
there where I began a radio ministry on a secular radio station we called
'Gates of Zion".  Through the media of live talk radio I was able to
communicate to gospel to the Jewish community in the Wash DC area and later
on in Baltimore. It was much fun and we really created quite a stir.   It
was a great opportunity to clearly communicate the gospel especially to my
Jewish listeners.

   In 1988 I made my second trip to Israel and there met by soon to be bride
Janet.  Janet was living in Israel at the time. She was born in Northern
England.  At the present we have three beautiful children: Yaron almost 8,
Eliya 5 and Ariana 2.  All three were born in the USA but have lived most of
their lives in the former Soviet Union.

In 1993 I visited St Petersburg Russia and like the days back in NYC I was
street witnessing but this time with an interpreter. When I would speak to a
Russian person, another Russian would be curious and begin to listen, soon
it became three or four. My friend Randy was with me and he sensed he should
ask people if they needed healing. When they replied yes, Randy laid his
hands on them and one after another were healed as the power of God was with
us.  Soon the crowd grew to 10 then 20, 40 and before long there were huge
crowds of people and from witnessing to one person I was now preaching to
100! They were coming up to me also for healing and this heat would come out
of my hands and people would be healed on the spot. This continued for hours
day after day. Many were healed and many prayed the prayer of repentance and
forgiveness in the name of Jesus.

In the evening's we held music outreaches to the large Jewish community
there. I saw more Jewish people come to the Lord each evening then I saw in
all my years of ministry!  It was amazing.  In Russia when you speak to
Jewish people about Jesus they ask you to their homes and receive what you
say with eagerness.  It was clear that this was an historic time and a
divine move of God.  Because of the grace and anointing upon me people soon
began to ask me, "Are you going to move here?"  I thought they were crazy
but as I left for America I has a sense this would not be the last time I
would see Russia.

In August of 1994 we actually did leave our lives in the USA to begin an
adventure that has not yet ended. We moved to Moscow to pioneer a new work
among the Jewish people of that city. We lived in Moscow for 4 years and now
our congregation "Shomer Yisrael" (Watchmen of Israel) is in the hands of
Russian speaking Jews we helped train and who were born in Russia.  Some of
our congregants have left Moscow and become part of Messianic Jewish
Congregations in Israel.  I also with the help of brothers in Israel and the
USA organized and held outreaches to the Jews of the Russian cities of
Samara (on the Volga River) and Murmansk, which is north of the Arctic
Circle.  As a rule far more non-Jews come to faith than Jews.  We have
therefore been part if a great move of God in which thousands have been
brought into the Kingdom of God-both Jews and Russians alike.

In 1998 we felt our job in Moscow was over and after prayer and fellowship
with those who we are submitted to, we decided the Lord wanted us to move
east to the Central Asian City of Almaty, Kazakhstan
First we traveled to Israel where  the elders of  our Messianic Jewish
Congregation - Ohalei Rachamim (Tents of Mercy) in Haifa, Israel laid hands
on us, anointed us with oil and literally sent us out of Zion to Almaty.
Therefore in fulfillment of the scripture we have come forth "out of Zion".
Micah 4:2 Many nations shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the
mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His
ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion the law shall go
forth, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

We felt it was both prophetically significant and expedient that as a Jewish
evangelist I should be sent out from Israel.  I believe God is already
raising up many Jewish followers of Jesus to go out to the nations.
Israel's purpose was and is to be a light to the Gentiles.

Alamty the largest city in Kazakhstan  is where we now live - under the
towering Tien Shen Mountains, which stretch into the Himalayas in the South.
We are one hour from China and in the 10/40 window of the last unreached
people groups on the earth.  We began a Messianic Jewish Congregation here
which we call Chaim Chadashim (Hebrew for New Life)

We just celebrated Passover with over 80 Jewish people mostly unbelievers.
I was able to freely tell them about the Lamb of God who takes away the sin
of the world.  It was a powerful evening.

We are about to hold an outreach to the Jews and Kyrgyz people of Bishkek,
Kyrgzstan on April 29, 30 and May 1.  After this I want to take some
exploratory trips to Ubekestan, and eventually China and maybe India.  There
remain millions in this part of the world who have never heard the good news.

There you have it in a nutshell. I write to you to encourage you that every
one of us can and should fulfill all that God has called us to.  Sure we
were all part of what became a strange personality cult or whatever you want
to call COBU.  However I want to remind you that your call and election are
sure.  Romans 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.  I
want to encourage you to not to allow the enemy to have another moment of
victory or success in your life but rather allow this scripture to be
fulfilled :

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who
love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

I bless you in the mighty name of Jesus!

Please pray for the success of our outreach to the Jews and Kyrgyz people of
Bishkek, Kyrgzstan on April 29,30 and May 1 - 1999,

Your brother in Messiah,

Jeffrey Bernstein
Almaty, Kazakstan
April 11, 1999
e-mail:  goz@kaznet.kz
tel/fax 7 095 25 68 28

USA mailing address:

Gates of Zion
PO Box 55123
Phoenix, Arizona 85078-5123