For those of us who have handed out tracts with Jews for Jesus, we’ve all heard it—in fact, we almost come to expect it. A person is walking down the street, their eyes focused on where they’re headed. They see us, their eyes close a bit. They don’t look too happy, because they’ve just seen a Jew for Jesus.
There is a moment of hesitation, as if they’re thinking, I really don’t want to talk with this person.” But it comes out anyway and you hear their words, “Does your mother know you’re doing this??!!” It is both a question and an accusation.
For the last two years I have had the opportunity to lead “Halutzim,” our summer missions project for teenagers. Jews for Jesus brings ten Jewish believers between the ages of 16 and 18 to New York City for two weeks of street witnessing, Bible study, sightseeing, Jewish identity building and fun. Here is some of what we’ve heard from both the teens and their mothers.
“Being in New York was fun. I really liked the people who were on Halutzim.”
Hannah Lentz, 18 years old
“Before she went, I was concerned. I had to pray and trust in the sovereignty of God for her safety. My hope for Hannah is that she continues to be strengthened in her walk with the Lord. Being in New York was a great experience for her to be away from her parents and be with other young Jewish believers.”
Hannah’s mom, Patricia Lentz, Azusa, CA
“What we did was a lot of fun. Walking everywhere was great. I really enjoyed how the leaders took time to answer our questions, however dumb they may have been. I also liked the scenarios we did for broadsiding.”
Ben Wertheim, 17 years old
“I know what it is like to broadside in New York and I was a little scared for Ben. He told me of one experience where a hostile person cursed at him. Instead of mouthing back, Ben prayed and then said God bless you to that man—and he really meant it! That was great.”
Ben’s mom, Janie-sue Wertheim, San Francisco, CA
“Halutzim was great! We became like one happy family. It was really fun to serve the Lord on the streets and as stewards.”
Rachel, 19 years old
“My first reaction to Rachel going to New York was that I hoped she would be safe! I was, however, pleased with the association she had with other Jewish believers, something which she doesn’t have a whole lot of at home. She needs to have identification with who she is. Sharing the gospel is exhilarating. I was glad that Rachel could experience that.”
Rachel’s mom, Marcia, Toronto, Canada
“Does your mother know you’re doing this?” These mothers did, and I suspect that if they had the chance they would have been right there on the streets with their teens!
I have great faith in this generation of Jewish believers that is coming up. They are articulate, full of conviction and interested in who they are as Jewish believers in the Messiah. I am convinced that we are going to see more and more step up and take their place as leaders. May we hear more and more mothers saying “right on!” to their children as they boldly proclaim the words of life to our Jewish people.