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Ariel Israel

Sasha and Lilian Granovsky

We are Israeli local Messianic believers, who have a visionary passion to share God's love with their own people and with nearby un-reached people groups. We speak 3 languages – Russian, Hebrew and English, which allows us to reach a majority of the people in the international Israeli society.


Our Beginnings

We both grew up in Kazakhstan, in the former USSR. After immigrating to the nation of Israel in 1990, as non-believing newly-weds, the Lord brought believers into our lives who loved us and introduced us to the Messiah, Jesus. Like the season of pregnancy, we were born-again after nine months of love and witness.

Being new immigrants ourselves, we can say that we understand the culture of two people-groups: those who immigrated from the former Soviet Union, as well as the Israel-born Israelis. Our 3 kids were born here and called Sabras (locals, born-in-Israel).

We went through 5 wars together with our nation. Sasha served in the Israeli army and was released from this service when he turned 40. We live with the people we serve and face together the same political, economic and other challenges.

As we were discipled, served in many ways within local congregations and volunteered with various ministries in the land, we knew that God was calling us to enter into full-time ministry for Him. And so, in 2001, with much counsel and prayer, we took that step of faith. Our family ministry focuses on three areas: building the local church, evangelism/discipleship, and biblical counselling.

Our vision:

Evangelism — To share the Good News among the Hebrew and Russian-speaking Jewish people. Today, the population of Russian speakers in Israel is approximately 1.5 million people. If we include the immigrants that arrived in the 1970's, it’s over 17% of the Israeli population.

Discipleship — The Lord has put it deep in our hearts to equip and encourage young believers in their daily faithful walk with the Lord. We strongly believe that in order to be effective, we must train and educate these new believers with the knowledge of God’s Word. Our vision is to teach and train them so they can go and be a strong witness in their immediate context: families, neighbors, co-workers, etc.

Counseling — To help people understand the Biblical perspective of the suffering, tests and trials they are facing in our fallen world.

Our Practice:

Relational evangelism

In the 1990s, when we arrived in the country, 93% of Jewish people coming to know Jesus as Messiah were Jews from the former Soviet Union. Since 2000, more and more native born Israelis (known as sabras) are becoming believers. The community of Messianic believers has grown significantly over the years, and has become known and respected in the land for our values, integrity, and committed hearts.

In the Israeli army, for instance, young Messianic believers are highly esteemed and given freedom to share their faith. Many rise to high ranking positions and are taken into elite units. Our oldest son, Yonatan, was asked to teach other soldiers a short Bible study once a week during his military service. Twenty years ago, this was unheard of and quite unbelievable. Our younger son, Ariel, has served in an elite combat unit for more than 3.5 years. We are praising the Lord for his health and safety, but also for his many opportunities to share his faith in Yeshua with fellow soldiers and officers. He was asked to share about his faith with about 40 members of his own unit, who will work closely together for four years.

After the army, young Israelis travel for a year or so to find refreshment and “reset” themselves. They travel mainly in India, New Zealand, Thailand and South America. Many search for this refreshment in drugs, Eastern religions, and by immersing themselves in other cultures and traditions. Young Messianic believers have been increasingly going to these same countries, but with the purpose of reaching their fellow countrymen with the gospel. They find great openness to the gospel, as many obstacles to the message have been removed. Our Yonatan served for six months at a Messianic guest house in New Zealand and was able to share the gospel with more than 700 young Jewish people! Most guests stayed for 3 days and had many long, late-night conversations about faith in Yeshua. After Yonatan returned to Israel, he has continued friendships that started at the New Zealand guest house.

Yonatan is currently studying at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He is enjoying it thoroughly and thriving in his studies! He is asking God to equip him to return to Israel as an even more effective minister of the gospel.

We are also rejoicing over the way God is using Yonatan’s testimony on video, which is being widely shared through the internet and social media. You can watch it and share it through the “One for Israel” website. God is using it to bring many “old friends” back into contact with our family. These friends are writing to Yonatan (and some even visiting him in windy Chicago!) to ask questions about faith.

Our youngest child, was diagnosed with autism when she was two. One of the things the Lord had enabled us to do, even in the middle of dealing with that tragedy, is to find creative, personal, and sensitive ways to share the Gospel with the team of care-givers who constantly came into our home for years. Relational Evangelism Through the years, we have also met and established a warm personal and caring relationship with more than 60 people. In this context, we could share the Good News of Yeshua Messiah with young, Hebrew speaking Israeli people in a very natural way, over the long term. In fact, all of the people who have come to care for our daughter have gone away feeling that they themselves have been cared for. It is a unique opportunity that the Lord has given to us, as we needed to minister to our daughter.

God has built into our family ministry His focus. He has also provided all funds needed for the private therapeutic sessions. He has blessed us with daily opportunities to share the Gospel without leaving our home and while ministering to our daughter’s needs. God gave us the words and skills to bring the Good News to people that He brought into our life’s path. That is the greatest gift that the Lord had given us through our precious child. When we look back, we can see that God was preparing us for this ministry through our background, through various experiences, and through training that we received in many different contexts.


Sasha is coordinating the translation of the “Come and See“ discipleship program into Hebrew and Russian. He is also overseeing the Ariel Israel Media Team, which promotes our new Ariel-Israel website in various social media platforms.

New Messianic Congregation

A new congregation was founded in September 2011, with Sasha serving as one of three co-founders and leaders. This fully Hebrew-speaking congregation has a vision to reach local Israelis and the vision is being realized by God’s grace!

Biblical Counseling

In 2007 we both graduated from Israel College of the Bible with Masters in Biblical Counseling degrees, having seen the huge need for counseling among the body of Messiah in Israel. While Sasha does some one on one counseling with men, and Lilian does the same with women, the bulk of our ministry is with couples. Shepherd's Heart MinistryEach week we counsel two to four couples whose marriages are in crisis. Often, these couples are leaders and pastors in the country. We are honored to help preserve and strengthen marriages by God’s grace.

In addition, we are very passionate about premarital counseling. So far, eighteen couples have gone through our 10-session pre-marriage course. Each course lasts for three to six months as we meet with each couple privately for about two hours per week. After their weddings, we continue meeting with them for another three to six months, usually around our family dinner table rather than in the counselling room. We desire to maintain and build upon the warm relationships that have developed in pre-marital counselling when the issues we discussed were largely theoretical for them. We find these dinners to be so strategic in the lives of young couples. Our desire is to see the gospel proclaimed loudly in our culture, through joyful, biblical marriages. Our home is open to the many young couples who return to us with ongoing questions.

Our Prayer

We can’t express in words how encouraged we are that God has called us to the vital ministry of building and strengthening godly marriages and families here in Israel. Hopefully, more and more homes will be pointing the people around us to the Lord of love.

We pray as we invest our lives in reaching people with the gospel, building a joyful multiplying church, and strengthening marriages, that the gospel will go forth with power as those dear ones take the message to more and more (2 Timothy 2:2).

Your partnership, love, prayers and support empower us to lovingly and patiently communicate the Gospel with the lost sheep of the House of Israel, teach the Scriptures effectively from the proper Jewish perspective, and reach out to leaders as we serve together our Messiah Yeshua, Jesus the Christ.

Your Partnership

If you are led of the Lord to contribute to the ministry, you may do the following:

  • Pray for us regularly.
  • Please Visit Ariel Israel
  • Sign up for regular giving: from the Fund dropdown, please select Missionary - Israel and from the Donation Frequency dropdown please select Monthly, Quarterly, or Annually.
  • Make a one-time donation: from the Fund dropdown, please select Missionary - Israel and from the Donation Frequency dropdown please select One-Time.