Salvation, Weather or Not!
Michigan? Are you sure you want me to go there?” That was my response when I learned the location for my “spring” speaking tour a couple of years ago. My concern was whether or not the state of Michigan realized that it was supposed to be spring already!
I finished my first “Christ in the Passover” presentation of the season and drove back to my host’s home in freezing rain. Sleet, I think they call it (I was raised in California; we don’t get much weather to speak of). My host’s home had no electricity for five days, just like 300,000 other homes in the area. The next day it snowed.
A few days after the snow, I headed up to a tiny town about an hour outside of Detroit. By tiny I mean the pastor warned me to remain alert as I drove through the town because I would miss it if I blinked. Before the service, the pastor informed me that a Jewish woman had been attending their church sporadically, and that members had made a special effort to ensure that she would attend the Jews for Jesus presentation that evening.
After the service, a young woman named Amy introduced herself to me, and asked for more information. This was the woman the pastor had spoken of, and she explained that she had been both deeply moved and disturbed by my presentation. She sincerely wanted to know how a Jew could believe in Jesus, so I gave her some reading material and we set a time to meet on Palm Sunday.
The day arrived and I dashed to the local coffee shop to meet Amy in between church services. She had read all the materials I’d given her, including portions of the New Testament, and she had a long list of questions. We tackled her questions and looked at key prophecies concerning the Messiah. Amy confided that she had been drawn to Jesus for a long time, but feared that following Him would mean turning her back on her Jewish heritage. Meeting a Jewish person who believed in Jesus was just what she needed to help her trust Yeshua as her Messiah and Savior.
We prayed together in the front seat of my rental car, with a box of tissues readily available. Amy’s joy over the forgiveness of her sin was evident. I was thankful too, that Amy already had a loving Christian family ready to welcome her. That night, she called several people from the church, including the pastor, and told them of her decision.
You know, between my down coat, the warmth of Christian love and the glow of seeing a baby believer born, it wasn’t so cold in Michigan after all!
Annette had regular contact with Amy for about a year, and was encouraged to see her take root and grow in the faith. This year Annette, “passed over” spring tour to stay home with her seven-month-old baby girl while husband Josh (one of our LA missionaries) toured in Kentucky.
Annette grew up in Fresno, CA in a Jewish Christian home. Her grandparents were the first people in her family to come to faith in Jesus. Annette came to faith at a young age and was baptized at age 13. She graduated from Biola University with a bachelor's degree in music and a minor in Bible. After college she toured the U.S., parts of Europe and South Africa with Jews for Jesus' mobile evangelistic music team, the Liberated Wailing Wall. In 1993 she moved to New York City to begin training as a missionary with Jews for Jesus. It was there that she met and married, Josh, who was also a Jewish believer from California and was a Brooklyn College student at the time. In their early married years Josh and Annette served as missionaries with Jews for Jesus in New York City, then for another five years in Los Angeles. They felt called to return to New York so that Josh could develop Jews for Jesus' youth and camp ministries on the East Coast, so Josh and Annette served in New York from 2000-2011, during which time their daughters Eliana and Taliah were born, and Josh became the branch director. During those years Annette was a full-time mom, with side duties such as leading a moms Bible study and helping wives of missionary trainees transition to life in ministry. In 2011, the Sofaer family moved to Portland, Oregon so that Josh could complete a master's degree at Western Seminary. In August 2012 the Sofaer family moved back to Los Angeles so that Josh could begin directing the Jews for Jesus work in Southern California. Though the family is still very much in the midst of transitioning to a new area, Josh and Annette are excited to see what the Lord will be doing through Jews for Jesus there. In 2015, Annette returned to part-time staff with Jews for Jesus, first in the church relations department, and now as a missionary to the Jewish women in the Southern California area.