A Mini-Revival in South Africa
Our Johannesburg branch experienced a mini-revival when four Jewish people made commitments to the Lord during a week and a half.
The first was David, a Jewish man from Russia. Like many other Russian Jews, David had come to South Africa after first spending some time in Israel. He had married a South African girl, but had made a mess of his life and was miserable. He was a drug addict, unable to help himself.
David first heard the gospel through the witness of George, a Christian who runs a food market in his area. He was open to having George pray for him, but he thought he could never take Jesus for himself. David’s grandfather was a rabbi, and David had received a good Jewish education even though he had grown up in Russia.
George continued to pray for David every time he walked into the store. Then something began to happen. David became more and more open to the person of Jesus. One day David asked Jesus to help him break his drug addiction. When I met David, he had been off drugs for 55 days.
David had come to one of our Jews for Jesus meetings, but he had left before I had a chance to speak to him. Amazingly, the next day another of our missionaries, Eliyah Gould, met David on the street while doing street evangelism. The following day Eliyah and I went to visit David in his flat.
David acknowledged that he had been off drugs for so long through the help of Jesus, but he still could not come to the point of receiving Him as Messiah. Eliyah and I told David how we had come to know the Messiah. As we talked, I could see a change come over David. He acknowledged that his life had been a misery and that he had done nothing right. He began to repent of things he had done against his parents, against his family and, especially, against God.
I told David that God had brought him to this point of total surrender and that he could find forgiveness if he accepted Yeshua as his Messiah. David agreed to pray and commit himself to the Lord. We knelt right there on the floor of his flat and he confessed Yeshua as his Lord and Savior.
David had already begun to change. His face looked different. He asked if he could play a song for us on his accordion. He nostalgically recalled his dad’s insistance that he learn the instrument, and how, as a small boy in Russia, he used to drag it through the snow to music lessons. As David played, I saw such peace on his face.
Later that week I visited Jack, whose wife and daughter already were Jewish believers. Jack had come to a point in his life where he wanted to draw close to the Lord like they had. I was there to introduce him to his Messiah. Shortly after that, God brought the family safely through a frightening ordeal. Two men broke into their house and walked into the daughter’s room, probably intending to attack her. She woke up but remained frozen in her bed while one of the men stood over her. She prayed fervently, he left the room and she went running out of the house in her nightgown, straight to the police station. All the time she was concerned for her elderly parents who were still in the house. When the police arrived, the two intruders had fled and Jack and his wife were safe. Jack exclaimed, If it wasn’t for my daughter’s faith and the fact that I prayed to receive the Lord last week, we would all be dead!”
Then there was Myra, a Jewish lady who had recently had a malignant tumor removed from her brain. My wife Louise and I went to visit her, and while Louise gave Myra her first manicure and pedicure since the operation, we talked about faith in Jesus. Myra had been deeply into all sorts of religions, but she finally came to the point of renouncing them all and accepted Jesus as her Lord. Myra prayed her own prayer of commitment to Yeshua so beautifully and sincerely that Louise ended up crying.
Then to top it all off, I received a call from Lauren, a 21-year-old girl who had been earnestly seeking the Lord for some time. Lauren had prayed to the Lord to reveal Himself to her. The next morning she felt an incredible peace in her heart. She also had been waking up at all times of the night, praying to Jesus. One night she woke up and said, “Jesus is Lord.”
Jenny, our office manager, lives very close to Lauren. When Lauren called, Jenny invited Lauren over for tea that evening. They had a very fruitful visit, and Jenny scheduled a time for Lauren to come into the office to see me the following day. Since this was a case of “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father in heaven,” Jenny and I only had to lead Lauren in a prayer of commitment to Yeshua as an open confession of her faith. Lauren was so excited. She said she felt like a completely different person.
As is often the case, in the midst of all these blessings there was also persecution. I was distributing tracts in Yeoville, a Jewish area where I had been assaulted by an Orthodox man a year and a half ago. I gave a tract to a rabbi who, after looking at the cover, tore it up, vowing to send me and the rest of Jews for Jesus back to America. When I pointed out to him that I was South African and not American, he turned back toward me in a rage, demanding another tract. Since he had torn up the first one, I refused to give him another. This frustrated the rabbi all the more. After taking a tract from another passer-by, the rabbi approached two policemen on the beat and insisted that they arrest me for handing out “offensive literature.” The rabbi was shouting “Handcuff him! Arrest him! I am laying a charge against him!”
The truth of the gospel can be very offensive, and that arrest was just a reminder. Yet we should never shrink from proclaiming the gospel just because it might offend. We must speak the truth in love, but love without truth is not true love at all. Thankfully, when we proclaim God’s truth with courage, though some are offended, others believe and find salvation.