Skip Navigation

Dream Comes True for IDF Lone Soldier from Peru

Fernando and Marilyn, two IDF lone soldier siblings from Peru (Photo: courtesy)

The IDF's lone soldiers - those who serve Israel's military, but who come from other nations and who have no family in Israel - often give up so much in order to protect their new homeland. This story, by Israel Hayom's Danny Brenner, tells of a Peruvian IDF soldier who is serving the Holy Land and is now able to visit his native home for the first time in nearly a decade:

Staff Sgt. Fernando Rengifo, 23, and his sister, Marilyn, 18, were born in Peru to a Jewish father and a Christian mother. Their parents' marriage failed and they divorced when the children were 10 and five. The mother took the children and disappeared. The siblings lost contact with their father, but their paternal grandmother searched for them for over a year until she found them in the city of Iquitos, deep in the Amazon jungle of Peru.

"I don't know what caused my grandmother to work so hard to look for us. My father had already lost hope, but she didn't give up," says Rengifo, now a lone soldier serving as an electrician in the IDF Artillery Brigade, stationed at the Tel Nof base...

"I chose to go to an army-sponsored conversion [to Judaism] course and continue on with full military service. My relationship with my father continued to worsen, and it had been a year since I'd seen him. When Marilyn was in the 10th grade, she also transferred to Neve Hadassah and now that she's in the army she's also doing the conversion course," Rengifo says.

"We both took exactly the same path. It's important to us to continue our lives in Israel as Jews. I personally connected to Judaism and I enjoy being one."

The Peru native certainly couldn't have imagined that toward the end of his service -- he is due to be released in a few weeks -- a dream of his would come true...

Tags: IDF

Previous Post

Next Post

More than 60 Fellowship supporters join Rabbi Eckstein and Fellowship staff on a tour of Israel, which includes visits to project areas and biblical and historic sites in the Holy Land.

Visit Israel

Here you’ll find an array of useful information on accommodations, transportation, exchanging currency, Israel's climate and customs, and much more. So get the most out of your trip to Israel with the help of The Fellowship.

Read More

About The Fellowship

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) funds humanitarian aid to the needy in Israel and in Jewish communities around the world, promotes prayer and advocacy on behalf of the Jewish state, and provides resources that help build bridges of understanding between Christians and Jews.

Read More