My name is David Lovi. I was born in 1980 and I grew up in a mixed home. My father is a non-practicing Jew and my mother was Catholic. We sometimes went to a cousin’s house to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, and my mother would take me to a Catholic church for Christmas Eve. I remember as a kid in kindergarten someone asked what religion I was and I said both,” thinking there were only two in the world.In high school, I began reading books on Taoism, Buddhism and even Islam, all of which were very confusing and did not satisfy my hunger for something real to grasp on to. All the while I was sinking lower and lower into all kinds of drugs and sex.
When I got to college, I was so entrenched in my sinful lifestyle that I felt as though I was drowning. I wasn’t sure if Truth even existed. Then one day in August of 1999, as I was sitting on the floor outside the Harper College library reading a book, a Korean man named Dr. Paul Koh approached me. He said, in a heavy accent, “Excuse me, would you like to come to Bible study?”
I was stunned for a moment, and then much to my surprise I heard myself tell this stranger, “Why not, when are you gonna have it? I might as well keep an open mind.” He offered to meet me at the library that very night and I agreed! After he walked away I wondered what I had gotten myself into. So I brought three or four other guys with me! That night, Dr. Koh opened up his Bible to Genesis 1. For the first time in my life I read the verse, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” There was power behind that verse and I wanted to learn more. I started to see how the Bible was different from all the other books I’d been reading!
Dr. Koh was an amazing man of God. He was an endocrinologist who felt impressed by God to reach out to college students in the United States. So he left Korea and began to do just that. He was a highly intelligent person and though our meeting seemed random, it was obvious that he cared about me.
I continued to study every week with Dr. Koh, usually one on one. My eyes were opened and I finally saw that the Bible had the very thing my soul was longing for—Jesus! However, receiving Jesus as my Lord and Savior did not happen instantaneously. It took two years of meticulous study before I surrendered my life to Him—but when I did, I was drastically and forever changed. The old David was dead, and the new David was born again!
I began leading group Bible studies and I developed a burning heart for lost people. I really wanted to do more to reach out and shine the love of Jesus to the world—as Dr. Koh had done with me.
Some years later, I was taking a course on “Religions of the World” and I had to do a project on Judaism. I’d planned to interview a rabbi, but none would talk to me. So I thought, who better to call about Jewish questions than Jews for Jesus! Through a series of phone calls and e-mails I not only got the information for my class but I got hooked up with a missionary from Jews for Jesus named Micha Cohen. Micha invited me to Passover dinner at his home. While we were sitting around the table, I told Micha how the Lord had been prompting me to tell others the gospel. He understood perfectly my desire to share the love and grace that I’d experienced with others. And so we started our Thursday tradition of hitting the streets (Devon Avenue in particular) almost every week to reach out and offer people the life-saving gospel of Jesus.
Devon Avenue is very diverse. West of California Avenue is almost all Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, and east of California is dominated by Muslims and Hindus, kind of like the Middle East today! Micha and I hand out broadside tracts, and try to engage in as many meaningful conversations about God as we can. We usually have at least two or three great conversations about Jesus every time we go out. I leave feeling amazingly uplifted. It’s true that while sharing the gospel on the cold street we are often rejected, laughed at, or yelled at, but it is worth it! We are planting seeds and sometimes we even get to watch them grow!
Just the other day, I saw a Hindu businessman named Sri, whom I had met a few weeks ago. I had given him the Jesus movie in his native language and he told me that he has since watched the DVD twice! He was too busy to continue our conversation but he wants to meet and talk about Jesus again.
Obviously street ministry is not the only way to share the gospel. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15). “All” means from college campuses, to Devon, to our families and even to foreign nations. We must develop a passion in our hearts for the souls of men. Preaching the good news is more than a request; it is a command! Jesus tells us to GO!
How are we to experience a great move of the Holy Spirit like the disciples did unless we do what they did? They preached the gospel in season and out of season and so should we (2 Timothy 4:2).
I have heard people say, “But I am just not that outgoing,” or “I don’t have the gift of evangelism.” I would bet a dollar to a doughnut, that if these believers had just one glimpse of the eternity that awaits unsaved people, they would very quickly become outgoing evangelists.
I think about what a missionary named C.T. Studd once said, “Some wish to live within the sound of church or chapel bell, I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.”
I shudder to think where I would be right now if Dr. Koh had not reached out to me in obedience and shared the love of Jesus with me in that college hall. The love and grace of God compels me to “pass it on” and serve others in the same way. To people who want to get involved but don’t know where to begin, I quote Acts 16:9, “During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.'” Micha and I are like that man. Anyone in the Chicago area is welcome to join us in serving the Lord through our evangelistic efforts. If you are not in this area I encourage you to pray and step out in faith on the streets. For those who can’t get out on the streets, please pray for us.
Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field”(Matthew 9:37-38).
In conclusion, I pray that many will listen to the call of the Lord and serve in His harvest field. May we all echo Isaiah 6:8 and say to the Lord, “Here am I. Send me!”
26-year-old David Lovi has an Associate Degree from Harper College in Palatine and is working to complete his BA in liberal arts from Indiana University. He works part-time as a handyman (thus shattering the stereotype that Jewish men don’t know how to fix things). He hopes, after his graduation, to enroll in seminary where he will pursue an M.Div., with the view of becoming a full-time preacher or pastor.