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They believed in Jesus, were betrayed by family, rejected by Israel, tormented by court trials, and reported on by international media.
Gary and Shirley Beresford never cared to be heroes. South African Messianic Jews, they felt God call them to live in Israel. Wanting nothing more than to grow old in the country of refuge for all Jewish people, little did they suspect what would follow to try their faith. Their fight to claim inheritance in the Promised Land became a battle waged not only for them, but for Messianic Jews all over the world wanting residence in Israel.
Shirley's earliest years were spent in the untamed beauty of the South African countryside on the outskirts of Pretoria--dangerous, solitary, lonely. Her parents, who both lived and worked there, were forever concerned about raising their daughter in such an environment with only a housekeeper to watch her.
Hoping that Shirley would receive a solid education in a well-rounded social environment, they made the painful, difficult decision to place her in a Catholic convent boarding school. It was their honest belief that this would be best for her, insuring her safety and guarding her from the struggles found in the "real world."
The fact that they were Jewish didn't seem to concern them in their decision-making. The convent was by far the most structured, acceptable environment available to them. Religion didn't enter the picture.
A very young child, only six years old, Shirley observed and noted every crack in the gray, angry-looking buildings as she and her parents drove up the road to the convent. Certain that those blocks of ugly stone would soon come to represent something hateful in her life, she instinctively fought being there. She didn't want to be away from her mother and father. Lonely already, Shirley hadn't even moved in yet.
Her parents, however, had made up their minds and there was no room for argument. Little Shirley clung to her mother's skirts as the nuns forcefully peeled her away. Tears ran unchecked down her reddened cheeks as she stood shivering, surrounded by her cold, dark stone prison. Her parents had left her alone with these strange, unfriendly women.
Nothing was explained to her. Taken to what she was summarily told would be her dormitory, an unfriendly room shared by eight or so other little girls, Shirley cried uncontrollably for what seemed like hours. No attention was paid to her sorrow.
She lived in her own private world despite the other children constantly around her....
Jewish History: The Unpromised Land
Betrayed by their son, rejected by Israeli immigration, tormented by unending court trials, this brave couple fought the good fight for their right, as Jews, as Messianic Jews, to live in the Promised Land. Both their testimonies and the faithfulness of God through their struggle for Israeli citizenship-from family betrayals to Israeli courtrooms will bless you as you read.
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The Unpromised Land: The Struggle of Messianic Jews, Gary and Shirley Beresford
When Gary and Shirley Beresford of South Africa found the Messiah, neither of them had ever considered the possibility of living in Israel. They were comfortable and contented in South Africa and later, in Zimbabwe, surrounded by family and friends, and a part of the Jewish community. Life was good and pleasant. All of this changed when God called them to make aliyah (literally, "go up", the term used for those returning to the Promised Land from exile). Having gone through the normal procedures for Jews who wanted to make aliyah under the Law of Return.
The Beresfords were certain, that, as this was God's will for their lives, everything would go smoothly. But from that time on, nothing was as it had been, and every thing that could go "wrong" did go wrong. Or so it seemed. But God's ways are not our ways ... This book may challenge you to
re-think the meaning of the word "commitment", as you see the Beresford's story unfold. Hopefully, you will also be encouraged and uplifted, will gain in understanding and will be led to pray more fervently for Jewish believers in the Land, and for the Beresfords and others like them who have been willing to pay a price for their commitment to the Lord and to the Land of their fathers.
Reviews for "The Unpromised Land"
|Reviewed by Annette Hendrix Williams
|I would love to read it.|
|Reviewed by Daniel Benjamin (Reader)
|How about a comment from someone who actually read the book? The story was excellent, as is the quality of the writing. It is written in a dramatic and captivating style, but this book is of far greater significance and poignance journalistically. The reason for this, of which nearly every reviewer noted above is unaware, is that it is a TRUE story. I know Gary and Shirley personally (and at present attend their congregation) and can attest to the reality of their story and their struggle. The personal drama and novelistic style in this chronicle of Gary and Shirley's failed attempt to emigrate to Israel is merely the vehicle for the presentation of the Israeli government's persistent actions to prevent certain jews from emigrating to Israel under the "Law of Return", (a law that exists specifically to enable jews from every part of the world to return to the land of Israel to live), on the basis of their very practice of Judaism -- specifically their convictions regarding the identity of the Messiah that G-d promised to the jewish people, and who is known to the Christian world as "Jesus". The book is a well-rounded presentation of this largely unknown social issue, an issue of growing significance and interest to jews and christians the world over. It includes a foreword written by Dr. David Stern, a pre-eminent and prolific author of messianic jewish literature, as well as numerous appendices detailing the difficult history of messianic jews who have attempted to return to Israel and been barred, and also statistics, studies and surveys that shed light on the social and political climate in Israel... and contrary to the silly anti-semitic comment above that compares Israel to South Africa under apartheid, these same studies indicate the the Israeli public overwhelmingly supports the acceptance of "messianic" jewish emigrees.|
|Reviewed by Lynn Barry
|Amazingly talented writer with diverse interests...two thumbs up!|
|Reviewed by No thank you!
|Aparthied South Africa and Israel are but two sides of the same coin. Sad that cultural and political aparthied is still glorified in Israel.|
|Reviewed by A Schut (Reader)
|Very interesting storyline. Very creative and readable! A talented writer.|
|Reviewed by P Lewis
|The excerpt sounds interesting.Would like to read the book.|
|Reviewed by William Overby
|Very intriguing premise. Sounds like my kind of story!|
|Reviewed by Marcyle Taliaferro
|Vivid excerpt! Intriguing story! Can't wait to read the book.
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