All in the Family
Bob was quite learned in Judaism and Jewishness. He had undergone some bad experiences as he grew up and had decided that his association with the Jewish community would be limited. Although he had heard the gospel before his encounter with me, he still was not ready to decide about the person of Yeshua.
Bob’s first call to our Boston branch office came in the fall of 1987, around the time known in the Jewish calendar as the High Holidays. He was resistant about a meeting but wanted to read some literature. In fact, that was all he wanted from us. In the literature pack I sent him I included an invitation to our Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) service. Much to my surprise, both Bob and his wife Ann came to that service. We talked for a while afterwards and set up a time to meet and discuss the issue of Jesus.
Soon afterwards, we began to meet on a regular basis. We discussed many topics that all related to the issue of Jesus in one way or another. I noticed that Bob had a particular interest in reading. He especially liked to read what the Jewish community would say about us. This went on for about eight months.
During that time, Gary Derechinsky, a worker with Chosen People Ministries, had started a messianic congregation on Boston’s South Shore. To counteract that ministry, a local synagogue had brought in a speaker who was nothing more than an anti-missionary. He was to give the inside scoop” on what really goes on inside “Jews for Jesus” (a term he was using to categorize all Jewish believers in Christ).
Of course the anti-missionary speaker’s workshop was filled with lies and distortions. The lecture generated a great deal of controversy, which resulted in several newspaper articles and many letters to the editor. The next day Bob called me.
He said he had been following the events of the previous few days. He had read the accusations made about us, and he knew that they were not true. He also said he had been doing some thinking about the things we had discussed, and he wanted to make a commitment to Jesus.
I immediately drove to Bob’s house and explained the gospel in detail, so that he and his wife both fully understood the commitment they were about to make. After my explaining it to them, they both prayed with me and asked Yeshua into their lives as their Lord and Savior.
It was exciting to see this husband and wife become a part of God’s family. They began to grow in a wonderful way as we continued to meet every week to learn about the ways God wants to see his children mature in their faith.
There is an exciting postscript about the way God is working in this family. As I met with Bob and Ann over the months, I learned more about their family. Bob had first called me because one of his daughters was a believer in Jesus. They told me of their other daughter. She had had some problems growing up, had become involved in some destructive things and was now working to overcome those problems.
As Bob and Ann began attending our weekly Bible study, they thought it would be good to bring this daughter. She came with them to our weekly meetings as well as to other events that our branch sponsored. Each time various people took the initiative to reach out to her.
As time passed, our Passover Banquet approached. This too would be a family event, as Bob was bringing several of his family members. The evening went as planned, with a festive meal and celebrative ceremony. Then it was time for the invitation.
As I explained the gospel, I asked those who wanted to accept the Lord to let me know by raising their hands. I made it clear that raising one’s hand does not bring salvation, but it was my way of knowing with whom I should meet afterwards for prayer and counseling. Some people raised their hands, but it turned out that they were already believers who were recommitting their lives to Christ.
As I was at the door greeting people, I was a bit disappointed that no one had responded to my invitation for salvation, for I knew that there had been quite a few unbelievers in attendance. Then Bob and Ann’s daughter approached and said that she would like to accept the Lord. I took her aside, and after sharing some important passages of scripture, prayed with her to commit her life to Christ. I then told her to go and tell her parents what she had done. It was thrilling to see people rejoice over the redemption in her life as we celebrated the redemption in Jesus, our Passover Lamb, that night.
This girl is still struggling with some of her past problems, yet continuing in the healing process. At the same time, she is involved in a weekly discipleship meeting for new believers. Praise God with us for this new family in Christ, and pray for them, that together they will continue to know the joys that come from their relationship with Yeshua.