The Caspari Center began organizing seminars in Haifa for Russian-speaking teachers in 2011. Our primary goal was to offer training to teachers from the north of Israel, and the Russian language was initially chosen due to the abundance of Russian-speaking congregations in the region. What do we see seven years later? First, the number of congregations that send their teachers to be trained has doubled. Second, the number of participants keeps growing. Third, and in my opinion, the most interesting observation, is that for the third consecutive year, the Haifa seminar has been attracting teachers from as far away as the center of Israel. It’s safe to say that if we had been able to organize transportation to and from the event, we would have had even more participants.
Our 8th seminar took place on February 16th, and this time we invited not only teachers, but also parents. Part of the planning of a seminar involves taking a short survey of the teachers to help us determine their most urgent needs and how we can meet them. This year, after reviewing the surveys, we decided upon the seminar’s theme of working with teenagers. Those of us with teens in our families, or who work with teens, are aware of the particular issues and challenges related to this age group which arise during teaching, or even simply during fellowship with them. It seems there can’t be too many seminars on working with teenagers!
We give praise to the Lord for the fact that in Israel’s small Messianic community, there is a growing number of professionals from a variety of fields who are willing to share their wisdom and experience. Our main speaker for this year’s seminar was both a family counselor and pastor of a local Messianic congregation. He taught about the reasons for a lack of good communication between parents and teenagers, about sources of conflict, and about ways to avoid and resolve them. Role-playing games were a very good practical way to illustrate the real-life situations we face, and to apply the principles he taught. It was interesting to listen to him – an experienced congregational minister who often encounters believers struggling with life’s problems – state the correct way of approaching conflict situations. The Scripture says: “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrines. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” (1 Tim. 4:16). Sort out your own life first, apply Scripture to it, and make this your habit – then you will see good results in ministering to others, too. That was a very useful reminder to us all.
Speaking with participants at the conclusion of the seminar and looking through the written feedback, the response was overwhelmingly positive: “It was a very practical seminar! We really worked through all the topics! That is the way we would like to study other topics as well!”
It is always a great joy for me when our ministry blesses people. And I know that we can’t take all the credit for that. Our Haifa seminars would have been impossible without the Shavei Tzion Congregation, the local Messianic congregation which hosts and helps organize the seminars, and provides lunch. We feel very much at home there, and are very grateful to them. Such partnership of congregations and ministries tremendously strengthens the believing Israeli community.