Hot town, summer in the city.…” Do you think the Lovin’ Spoonful wrote that song about the Jews for Jesus Summer Witnessing Campaign in New York City? Every year we bring a team of willing workers to the Big Apple to share the Good News of Yeshua and to remind them that though New York may be hot in the summer, eternity without the Messiah is going to be much, much worse.
Guillermo Katz, veteran campaigner
It’s not easy spending almost twelve hours on your feet each day on the steamy city streets, handing out tracts and confronting people with Jesus. But just as the early believers in Yeshua went to the Temple area and other public venues, we feel it’s necessary to go to the modern temples of today—Wall Street, Macy’s, the Metropolitan Museum of Art—to confront passersby with the gospel. As people rush from place to place, we try to stop them long enough to talk. The challenge to stop a frenzied New Yorker is not only a physical one. It hurts to see how some people will flatly reject the message of Jesus. Yet sometimes you have opportunities to rejoice with the ones who do accept Him, whether it’s at the subway station, at South Street Seaport or in Central Park.
“Who do you think Jesus is?” This is the same question the Lord asked the disciples, and it’s the one we ask to open conversations. During last year’s Campaign I was in Bryant Park, a quiet spot at the end of 5th Avenue. When I tried to hand a tract to a young man, he told me to get lost. As I turned my back he yelled, “Can I ask you a question?” He asked me how I could believe in God when there was so much pain and suffering in the world. Steve introduced himself and told me he was Jewish. He told me how he was living day to day, wondering what was the next bad thing that would happen to him. His wife had cancer and his life had been an unending chain of bad events.
I told Steve that Jesus could take up his burdens and cares and carry them for him. “Boy that sounds wonderful!” he exclaimed. I explained the gospel briefly and asked him if he wanted to ask Jesus to come into his life and take up his burdens. Steve told me he was not ready to go against what he had heard all his life, that Jesus was not for Jewish people. Yet, he let me pray for him and as I finished, I saw the tears in his eyes. He said “thank you” and I believe he meant it.