Part of the necessity for I Live the Journey is the fact that Journey is growing! God is bringing new worshipers from near and far. Here is someone who was brought to Journey and has only been in San Diego for a few weeks.
It only took Anna Tovbin three days in San Diego to find Journey Church. Then, before the next three days passed she had been to a Worship Service, a Life Group pot luck, God at the Movies: Unbroken and has been surrounded by new friends. A week later she discovered the Twice Treasured Thrift Store, which was great because she needs pots and pans, bedding and furniture.
Journey was an aptly named “home” for Anna (pronounced Ana). She was born in Sochi, Russia in 1980 and lived with her parents. She went to a Christian church with a girlfriend – a novelty in that town – and was about to accept Christ as her savior when her life went through a radical change.
“I didn’t know that I was Jewish until I accidentally found my birth certificate when I was 9 years-old. In Russia there is a great deal of anti-Semitism. Unless you are pure Russian, you can’t get a good job, and it’s hard to go to a university and you get a white diploma instead of a red one. Everybody in Russia points fingers at Jews,” she said.
Shortly afterward, her family immigrated to Israel, because her mother was Jewish. She found discrimination there because she was Russian.
“In Israel, children would throw stones at me and I would be beaten,” she said.
When she was 19 Anna left Israel for Boston, MA. The first year she worked in a pizza place to get residency and earn money for college. The second year she attended Harvard University and got a Bachelor’s degree and then a Master’s in Theology. She began to attend New Generations Christian Center and her faith was completed, 10 years after first hearing about Jesus. She was working at Boston Hospital when she earned a second Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work at Boston University.
In recent months, Anna felt that the Lord was telling her to go to San Diego, so she moved across the United States and wound up here. She works as a freelance translator for now, but would love to continue her clinical social work career in a hospital.
Anna was hiking up Cowles Mountain when she started a conversation with another hiker named Aaron. At the end of the trail, Aaron said, “If church is important to you, I go to Journey.” That Friday night, almost three weeks ago, Anna found her way to Journey.
“Journey is so welcoming and comfortable. There is no persecution here. I’m not sure why I’m here, but I just want to be where the Lord wants me, to do what He wants me to do.”