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.