Project Joshua—An Adventure Begins
It all started over my Christmas school break in 1991. I was living in Lake Tahoe, a small mountain town in the California Sierras. Jews for Jesus sponsored a trip to Israel for college students—well, not just any college students, but Jewish students who believe in Jesus as Messiah and Savior. When I heard about the opportunity to study and see the Land—for only $200* —I jumped at it!
The trip involved a few days in New York City for training in evangelism prior to the two weeks in Israel. I had friends in New York whom I hadn’t seen in a while, so I arrived early to visit them.
My flight landed at 6:00 a.m., and I took the bus into the City. My first real experience was in a typical New York restaurant, where we had a breakfast of bagels, lox, and coffee. The waiter asked if I wanted my coffee regular.” Thinking that he meant with caffeine, I said yes. I quickly learned, however, that in New York, regular means with milk and two spoonfuls of sugar. I had a lot to learn! Yet there was something about the craziness that appealed to me.
When the time came for me to hook up with Jews for Jesus, I went out with them to the streets to hand out broadsides (gospel tracts) for the first time. I will never forget that day! I’d never seen so many Jewish people in such a short time. It seemed like my own grandfather walked past at least twenty times. There were so many faces. I could close my eyes, and still I saw them. And they were all in such a hurry.
I didn’t hand out many tracts that day and didn’t have any fruitful conversations. All in all, I felt discouraged, but the discouragement disappeared in the excitement of the trip to Israel. It was a great experience! The surprising thing was when I got back to Lake Tahoe after the Israel trip, all I could think about was how much I wanted to return—not to Israel but to New York City!
Several months passed. I heard about the Jews for Jesus Summer Witnessing Campaign, and I applied to be part of it. That July, I was back in New York City, doing more evangelism than I ever could have imagined. God used that Campaign to help me discern His leading. I “seized the moment,” and decided to change schools. I was accepted to Brooklyn College for the fall of ’92. I moved to New York, continued my studies and worked as a volunteer with Jews for Jesus. I met and married my wife, Annette (at the time, a Jews for Jesus missionary candidate) and became a part-time missionary with Jews for Jesus. In May, 1995, I finished my undergraduate degree in history from Brooklyn College and became a full-time missionary/evangelist. Now Annette and I serve together as part of the Los Angeles team.
I’m thankful for the way God used Project Joshua in my life. How else would I have known that in New York City “regular” coffee means milk and two sugars—or that there is nothing more fulfilling than telling people about the Messiah, Jesus.
* A Christian foundation helps Jews for Jesus subsidize this project. Students now pay $250 to participate.
Josh Sofaer is the leader of the Los Angeles branch of Jews for Jesus. He is one of four boys, but no one else in his immediate family have come to faith yet. Josh previously led the organization’s New York branch and pioneered their children’s program on the East Coast. He received his theological training at Western Seminary. He and his wife, Annette, have two children, Eliana and Taliah.