Marion Shin was only nine when the Japanese bombed Hong Kong. She and her single mother escaped as occupation refugees to Mainland China. After her mother died, she was adopted and moved to America. She never knew a father’s love until one day when she remembers going off to the beach in Florida and crying out to the Lord. “That day, my relationship with God changed. He spoke to my spirit. I felt him saying to me: ’Fear not, I knew you before you were born.’” That was when Marion knew she had found a true father and quotes Psalm 23 which mirrors her feelings: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want… I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”
Marion always knew that the Jews were the chosen people. During WWII, when she was 14, she had a lot of questions. If God is love, then why are there concentration camps? She knew God must have a purpose and her beloved American godmother promised her that another Holocaust would never happen. “But I see it happening today!” claims Marion. “Christians need to wake up and bless Israel, and take a stand if they don’t agree with their governments.”
In 1988, she and her good friend Shirley Schindler took their first trip to Israel. Somehow, they ended up on a tour with pro-Palestinians, the airplane playing loud Islamic music, landing them in Jordan and housing them in East Jerusalem. And it was January and cold! On her way back, Marion was determined not to return to Israel any time soon.
“But the Lord had other plans and when He calls, we answer.” That August, she was driving the two hours to her job in Orlando as an aviation inspector. She was listening to a tape that spoke about supporting Israel and how Christians have “We pray… for the peace of Jerusalem, for the comfort of the people of Judea and Samaria. But praying is easy. Sometimes you need to do more than talk. You need physical, practical proof of your love.” to bring the people of Israel home. “I cried the whole ride and realized I must go to the Feast that October and started scrambling to find tickets. Teaches you to never say never!”
Marion was working overtime to support her frequent trips to Israel when “miracles started happening”. In 1995, Israeli Aircraft Industries sought an aviation expert for one of their key projects in Israel and contacted Marion to offer her the position, and Marion moved to Israel. Even after her return to the US, she continued her consulting work for Israel for many years.
In 1999, Marion and Shirley met Sondra Baras for the first time. “Sondra’s testimony blessed me. I started hearing about the Biblical people and heartland communities of Judea and Samaria.” Marion and Shirley host a prayer group in their home, aptly named “Come Bless Israel.” “We are not preachers, but we know the people and the land and can identify the needs of the communities.” They gather materials from CFOIC Heartland and they educate. Many of their group were never in Israel. “I am their link; I see myself as a facilitator, connecting people.” Marion encourages people to visit the land and has organized numerous tours. She feels privileged to have Gary Cristofaro, CFOIC Heartland’s Outreach Director, as her pastor.
“We pray… for the peace of Jerusalem, for the comfort of the people of Judea and Samaria. But praying is easy. Sometimes you need to do more than talk. You need physical, practical proof of your love.” Every time Marion and Shirley come to Israel they take up a collection and bring a gift offering.
“If I had all the money in the world, I would send it to the people of the Biblical Heartland. There is so much need.”