Cougar Interview—Estera Wieja ’04
Estera Wieja ’04 moved two years ago from her native Poland, where she served as managing editor of Nasze Inspiracje, a Polish magazine for the family, to join the media department of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ).
APU LIFE: What inspired you to make such a bold transition in your life and career?
WIEJA: While working for Nasze Inspiracje magazine, I also applied to a master’s degree program in journalism and social communication, with special focus on the Polish-Jewish dialogue. I had already learned a lot about cross-cultural communication while at APU, and felt ready to immerse myself in it. I discovered that in addition to the many wounds God wants to heal between the Polish and Jewish nations, a restoration between the Jewish nation and the Church is also needed. I prayed that God would use my experience in journalism and knowledge of Jewish culture to somehow achieve this. In June 2010, ICEJ invited me to work in its media department. Although I loved working for Nasze Inspiracje, moving to Israel was an important next step and answer to prayer.
APU LIFE: What do you hope to accomplish?
WIEJA: My greatest desire is to speak the truth and educate people, especially in the Church. Through all the writing, reporting, and teaching I do on the topics of Israel, the Jewish nation, and the Hebraic roots of Christian faith, I hope to help believers understand that God’s thoughts are higher than our own. Today, Israel needs us more than ever, not just our support, but our simple care and friendship. Jews have faced the world’s hatred for centuries and still feel it today. Holding Israel to a higher standard than its neighbors is unjustified and harmful to everyone else around.
APU LIFE: How has your faith affected your career decisions?
WIEJA: We either live to merely make it through the day, or we live to make an eternal impact. Knowing there’s a bigger picture to God’s plan in the world changes my perspective on life. Faith is like first love—it keeps us awake at night and energizes us to fight any obstacle in our way. I attended APU and I live in Israel today because I believe God has a plan. He has purpose for each one of us.
APU LIFE: What are you learning?
WIEJA: I’m learning humility. In a place like Israel, or the Middle East for that matter, everyone has his or her own opinion about solutions to every problem. I constantly meet people or find myself in situations that challenge my knowledge and beliefs. It is humbling to realize that there are things I don’t understand. It takes humility to disagree with someone without hostility. At the same time, it takes a combination of humility and courage to be steadfast and outspoken about what one stands for. Humility is a lifelong process.
APU LIFE: What is the most important thing you want people to know about the Middle East?
WIEJA: Israel’s difficult position in the Middle East, both politically and socially, confuses many Christians in regard to their own beliefs. Loving the chosen people and being compassionate toward other nations should not be mutually exclusive. The greatest harm stems from uneducated and misinformed people who encourage aggression. Israelis tend to be unsympathetic toward the Palestinians, but it does not make every Israeli a racist. Conversely, Palestinians are responsible for many of the tragedies in Israel, but this does not make every Palestinian a terrorist. We can no longer tolerate ignorance, especially as Christians, if we want to deem ourselves useful in establishing the Kingdom of God here on Earth.
Posted: September 27, 2012