Bits from the Branches
Micha Cohen reports, “Within a two-week period, five people in an evangelistic chat room ended up praying to put their trust in Jesus! Please pray the seeds of faith in these five people will grow, and that many more in our chat rooms will turn to Jesus! If you are interested in helping us share your faith in Jesus over the internet, click here.
“Another praise report: I arrived at a college campus to hand out gospel tracts but, unfortunately, the two other people who I expected to join me did not come. By a great miracle of God I was able to hand out all my literature as well as all that I had brought for the other two. I had asked a number of people to pray for me … and God heard because I was able to hand out 1000 gospel tracts with steady hands, when they are usually twitchy and clumsy from my Huntington’s disease! God answers prayer! Please pray those gospel tracts find good soil out there.”
Arielle Randle reports, “My husband David and I had two Jews for Jesus associate staff (students) Isaiah Ascher and Shmuly Abramson staying with us, as well as my sister, Simone Parkas and another young Jewish believer named Tirzah Walker. We decided to bring everyone along with us to visit a local synagogue for Shabbat. We expected a huge service where we would just blend in, but instead, our group turned out to be a third of the attenders in this discussion-style service! In the meantime, someone I’d met on a sortie (tract-passing expedition) wrote to me on Facebook asking what David and I were doing for Shabbat. I told him we were visiting this synagogue – and he actually showed up there too, to meet with us!
“During the discussion on the parsha (weekly scripture reading) some of the older people were telling us younger ones how Judaism is all about being rebellious and thinking for yourself, the way that Moses did in Egypt. I honestly couldn’t help it; the opportunity was too perfect to miss – so I started talking about how we were Jewish believers in Jesus. I said that while some people might find this rebellious, really it’s all about thinking for yourself and not letting the majority tell you what to believe or how to be Jewish. I think they all nearly fell out of their chairs!
“Once they got over their shock, they were really nice and asked us to come volunteer with them and attend various events. They even asked Shmuly to come back and speak at one of their events! Now we have an unexpected open door to get to know people in this Jewish community. I am already planning to go to a film they are screening.
“After the service we all came back to our apartment for a big Shabbat dinner, including the guy we’d met on the sortie, a Jewish believer in Jesus who has been out of fellowship for a long time. It was great to connect with him – he stayed for several hours talking with David. It turned out to be quite an exciting Shabbat!”
Nataly Bearshtein reports, “Months ago, my husband Alex and I began meeting with Asaf, a guy in his 30s. We met while handing out gospel literature at a Barbara Streisand concert. Asaf told us he believed some kind of supreme power controls the world, but he did not believe in a personal God at all. Yet he was searching for answers to many questions. During one of our meetings with him, we gave him a book called A Lawyer Proves the Existence of God as well as a copy of the New Testament. Alex shared his story and we prayed for God to soften Asaf’s heart.
“We stopped meeting with this young man for two months because we were busy with the Behold Your God Negev campaign, but we kept in touch by phone. After the campaign, Asaf said he had read the two books and really wanted to meet with us again.
“When we met, I realized that sitting in front of me was a different person, not the same lost guy I remembered, but a guy who was getting answers to his questions, and was very happy with them. Asaf confirmed this when he told us that now he is sure that God exists, and that His Messiah, Jesus, came to take away our sins. During our time together he prayed to receive Jesus with tears of joy in his eyes. I thank God for giving us the opportunity to participate in these wonderful moments and see people come to the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Rob Wertheim reports, “I’ve been visiting with a Jewish seeker named Lucy who attended a ‘Christ in the Passover’ presentation one of my colleagues gave. Lucy happens to live in Reno, which is part of the San Francisco branch area of ministry!
“We have been studying the gospel of John (by telephone) and last week, I had the joy of leading Lucy to the Lord! It happens that about two years ago, I had the opportunity to lead a Jewish man, Mel* to the Lord. Mel and his wife live in a suburb of Reno. I have been discipling him via Skype, since his work schedule makes it difficult for him to be in church regularly. I contacted Mel and his wife the other day to let them know that Lucy would be calling them to introduce herself and tell them about her new faith in Jesus. I also asked Mel’s wife, Dawn, if she might invite Lucy to go to church with her. I have been very encouraged to hear how that worked out.
Rahel Landrum reports, “My husband Mark and I got to know Karen* through a Christian friend who invited her to hear Mark speak at her church. Karen came, and after the service, was interested to hear more from us. Mark and I have been taking turns visiting her since she lives nearly an hour away. When we first began seeing her, she used to say that Yeshua was a good Jew, nothing more. Since then, she has made great progress, and recently confessed her belief that Yeshua was more than a man, that he was God in the flesh. On our last visit, after I shared with her again that Yeshua died for our sins, she said she believes we need to pay for our own wrongdoings. I affirmed her sense of responsibility for her own mistakes, and pointed out that owning up to our sin (and making restitution where that is possible) is not the same as paying the full penalty for our sin. The Bible tells us the penalty for our sin is to be separated from God; the penalty for our sin is death. But the gift of forgiveness we have through Yeshua is that He paid that penalty for us so that we could spend eternity in the presence of God, the Giver of Life.
“I went to on to describe what it means being in the presence of God forever: love, light, goodness, warmth, belonging to His family, acceptance – as opposed to paying the penalty for our own sin, which means being apart from God’s presence and all that is good forever. Karen thought for a moment and then told me that she wants to spend eternity with God. I asked if there’s any reason she would not accept Yeshua’s payment for her sins and His forgiveness. She said there was no reason, and she prayed with me to receive Him. She was very happy afterward, and Mark and I look forward to continued meetings with Karen for discipleship.”
*Not their real names
Find out who called whom a “religious nut-job” and how a smoker’s cough prompted a gospel conversation!
Kata Tar reports, “‘Are you an English teacher? I must learn English!’ That’s how the young Jewish man sitting next to me on the bus began our conversation. I looked up from the postcards (which I was writing in English) ‘Not any more. I used to be one.’ ‘And what do you do now?’ This question set the platform for me to give the gospel in a nutshell.
“When I finished, he responded ‘I have many sins’ but without much regret in his voice. I told him that Jesus had paid for all. ‘But I am Jewish’ – he eventually admitted. ‘So am I,’ I replied quickly, to his amazement. ‘Look, ‘” I continued, ‘I can’t teach you English, but you are more than welcome to come to our meetings, where the teaching is in English with Hungarian translation.’ He was willing to give me his phone number. When he told me his name – Akhilleusz – I could not believe my ears. We had met two months before, when he overheard me talking about the Bible with my friend and gave me his phone number. I had only been able to reach him once, then that phone number never worked again. Now, buried beneath our winter clothes neither of us recognized the other. He gave me his new number. He assured me that he was not interested in Jesus at all, but he repeated several times: ‘This can’t be an accident.’ Then he entered my number into his phone under this name: ‘Religious Nutjob.’ This young man’s Jewish identity seems to be confined to not believing in Jesus. Please pray for his salvation.”
Rahel Landrum reports, “I was in London (my husband Mark and I were part of the London branch before moving to Sydney) for a holiday and was looking forward to seeing many friends. Whenever I’m in London, I always phone Lara, an 87-year-old old Jewish lady who is a friend of a friend of mine. This time when I phoned her, she asked me to come visit her. I wasn’t sure if it was possible as I had only two more days in London and my schedule was full. We talked a bit more on the phone and then Lara asked a second time, ‘come and see me’. I knew then that it was very important for me to make the effort to see her, I thought perhaps it meant she was a bit more open to the gospel. The next day I visited her with my friend and as soon as we came into her house we encountered a thick layer of cigarette smoke.
“After a bit of chat, during which she was continually coughing, I asked Lara about her health. She said she has had a constant cough. Gently I said, ‘I don’t want to offend you, but you know the cigarettes don’t really help in getting rid of the cough. She agreed and said, ‘I know, but this is my only pleasure.’ I told her, ‘It does not have to be this way, you can have a far greater pleasure – one beyond comparison with smoking.’
“I told Lara that I used to smoke before I became a believer in Yeshua, and how I prayed as a new believer for the Lord to take away my desire to smoke. He answered that prayer, and my relationship with the Lord got to deeper and deeper levels. I shared with Lara the great pleasures of intimate relationship with the Lord through Yeshua and showed her verses like Isaiah 61:10 and the pleasure and delight of being called a child of the Most High. Then I asked her if she wants to accept Yeshua’s salvation, which is the way to this delight and she said yes. So she put her shawl over her head, and as Lara, our mutual friend and I held hands together, Lara prayed to receive the Lord. Alison, who serves with our London branch, is going to disciple her.”