Missionary work is full of questions—those that people ask us, those we ask others to get them to think about the gospel, and those we ask ourselves. These experiences of some of the members of our Liberated Wailing Wall Mobile Evangelistic Team represent some of the queries we encounter.
Part of our training as missionaries/evangelists is to field the barrages of questions thrown at us on our sorties. We learn to distinguish between sincere and insincere questions.
Insincere questions that don’t deserve answers are: Why don’t you find a real job?; Are you paid to do this?; Does your mother know you’re doing this?
Because these are the norm, we come up with a variety of responses designed to get to the real issue—the messiahship of Jesus. After being out in the field for a while, we anticipate the insincere questions and begin to suspect even those that are merely naive. Yet occasionally we encounter questions from people who have a genuine interest.
One day team member Michael James and I were food-foraging in a small town for supper for all of us. Scouting the area and finding no grocery store, we went to a gas station/food mart. As we began piling our purchases on the counter, we heard a woman’s voice behind us.
Are you guys with the big bus?”
We were wearing shirts with our Jews for Jesus logo, so it was obvious that we were, indeed, “with the big bus” whose bright orange letters proclaimed our identity. We both turned to the woman, ready to respond to a stinging remark if necessary, but her eyes were inquiring and honest.
She had noticed our bus earlier in the day and had wondered about it. Then seeing our little van (also with the Jews for Jesus logo on it) pull into the gas station, she had followed us into the food mart.
She asked what Jews for Jesus meant. Michael told her that we were the Liberated Wailing Wall, a Jewish gospel group which is part of Jews for Jesus. At this she looked confused. I added that we were a group of Jewish people who believed in Jesus.
“Oh, that’s nice!” she exclaimed. “I’m Jewish, too.”
I looked at her narrowly. Was she being sarcastic or enthusiastic?
“But I thought…I mean, most Jews don’t believe in Jesus,” she continued.
I was still on guard. I couldn’t match her smiling face with her questions. I replied somewhat tersely that many Jews don’t believe, but we do. In fact, we believe He is the Messiah we’ve been waiting for, the One promised in the Old Testament.
“That’s wonderful!” she pronounced.
Michael and I exchanged glances of happy wonderment.
“Are you a believer, too?” he asked.
“No, no. I saw your bus and I wanted to know what it was all about,” she explained.
Just then the man behind the register, who had been watching with interest, asked if he could help her. Startled at the intervention, she gestured with widespread arms and said, “No, no…I just came to find Jesus!”
It was quite incredible. Rarely do we meet people with such an open attitude. We talked a little more, mostly about seeking God, and the woman willingly gave us her name and address for further correspondence. We left the store, incredulous at the encounter. It was an encouraging experience that reminded us that some people really do want to know!