Jews for Jesus Toronto
Meet our Missionaries
I grew up in a Jewish home in New York City and first heard the gospel while studying at the Florida Institute of Technology. I came to know the Lord when I was working as an aerospace engineer in Denver, Colorado in 1980. I began going to Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary in the evenings. Jews for Jesus recruited me in 1983, while I was in seminary and working full-time as an engineer.
I have served with Jews for Jesus in our Los Angeles and Boston branches in the USA and was the director of Jews for Jesus in South Africa from 1989 to 1996. I finished my M.A. in Missiology at Fuller Seminary in 1995. Since 1996 I have been the director of our work in Canada. I am married to Laura, who is also a Jewish believer in Jesus. We have a son, Rafael, who was born in South Africa and two daughters, Ketzia and Simona, born here in Toronto. My family is attempting to gain permanent residency status in Canada.
I am a nice Jewish boy from Ecuador who, at the age of 15, began searching for truth. I wanted to know about God and if He was real. I wanted to know why there was so much pain and suffering in the world. My search for God was brief. I decided that God did not exist, and Judaism was nothing more than one worldview, and a tradition for my people. Political upheaval forced us to emigrate. In Toronto I met a Christian who began talking to me about Jesus. Ken and I had many discussions in which he would pick up his Bible, quote from the Hebrew Scriptures and knock down my arguments!
Tired of losing arguments, I said, I am Jewish. I have not met a single Jew in their right mind who would believe in Jesus.” With a big smile on his face he said, “I have a friend at Jews for Jesus.” My jaw dropped, and I responded, “Jews for who?” I would soon meet Karol Joseph, and after four weeks of prayer and Bible study, I came to faith in 1992. I wanted to offer others what I had received so I joined the staff of Jews for Jesus in 1993. I have since completed my Bachelor of Theology at Tyndale Bible College and I had the privilege of organizing our first Behold Your God campaign in Latin America in Mexico City in the Fall of 2002.
I was born in Karachi, Pakistan. My mother is Jewish from Bene-Israel (one of three Jewish communities in India) and my father is from Goa, a western province of India where many Portuguese colonies existed. We immigrated to Canada in 1973. I was raised Catholic, but I knew I was Jewish because of Mom’s background, plus we had relatives in Israel whom we visited. I rejected my religious upbringing when I was 16 but was left even more empty and without hope. I came to personal faith in my last year of University. I have a Bachelor of Science in Theoretical Physics from Concordia University in Montreal, PQ, and a Masters of Divinity from Heritage Theological Seminary. My wife, Kristen, and I have two children, Elizabeth and Nathanael.
I was an atheist from a Chinese home and came to know Christ through a dear friend. Before that, I lived contently in ignorance, striving for worldly things in hopes that I would find the meaning of life. But God had another agenda for me. Through His grace and mercy, I came to recognize that I am a sinner, and that above all things I needed HIM. On January 1, 1997, I professed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. In the last five years, I have learned that no matter what happens in my life, God is right there with me. My dream is to live a life of obedience to Him. He has given me a passion for evangelism.
I am the office administrator at Jews for Jesus in Toronto. I am also a children’s minister at a local church, a student at Bible college, a musician on a worship team, an actress in a Christian production, a struggling artist, a daughter to my parents, a sister to three and a friend to many. But above all things, I am a child of God.
I was born in Jamaica but lived in London until I immigrated to Canada in 1975. I was raised in a nominally religious home (we went to church once in a while) and received Christ at the age of 24. I am the mother of many children, but I have given birth only to three! I joined the Jews for Jesus staff in the summer of 1998 and am in charge of church relations and scheduling our missionaries to speak here in Canada. Prior to that I did freelance writing and sold life insurance.
I was born in El Salvador into a Christian home and gave my life to Jesus when I was seven years old. He surrounded me with His peace while I was growing up in the midst of a civil war. Before we left El Salvador, our whole church prayed for God’s blessing upon our family and He has honored that prayer. I am now working toward my Bachelor of Religious Education and wish to serve God in the missions field. I work with Jews for Jesus part time, assisting Marcello Araujo with all the Latin American Behold Your God campaigns.
And Soon to be Joining our Toronto Team…
Richard was born and raised in a conservative Jewish community in Niagara Falls, Ontario and has been following Jesus since 1998. We will be introducing him at length this January, when he begins his missionary training.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a federal state and parliamentary democracy with two official languages and two systems of law: civil law and common law. Canadians don’t sit around thinking about what a Canadian is. They do know that they are not Americans! (Well, geographically they are North Americans, but you know what we mean.) Canadians, however, are not united into nationhood as it is understood in the United States. Canadians like to say that America is a melting pot and Canada is a multicultural mosaic. Canada celebrates and takes pride in the small, the friendly and the relaxed.
Tolerance and respect for minorities and the disenfranchised are important aspects of Canadian culture. Nearly 60% of Toronto’s population were born and raised elsewhere. Unfortunately, in order to accommodate this mosaic of culture, a kind of self-congratulatory secularized and privatized worldview has pervaded the country and many of its churches. These strong forces insist that faith be kept a private matter.
Most of the Jewish community is Ashkenazi (Eastern European) but there is a large population of Frenchspeaking Moroccan Jews in Montreal. In the last decade, primarily due to immigration, Canadian Jewry grew by 14%, making it one of the fastest growing communities in the Diaspora. Twenty-five percent of all Jews who immigrated to Canada in the past ten years were born in the Soviet Union or its successor states and 20% in Israel (an estimated 30,000 Israelis live in Canada). The Canadian Jewish Congress has reported that Canada has the highest number of Holocaust survivors outside of Israel (30,000).
Jews for Jesus Canada
Jews for Jesus Canada began in the hearts of committed Canadian Christians who heard how God was using Jews for Jesus in the USA in the 1970s and so in 1980 Jews for Jesus established the groundwork for its first branch outside of the USA. Steve Cohen and his wife, Jan, arrived in Toronto in 1981 to pioneer the work. Baruch Goldstein became director in 1988 and Karol Joseph became director in 1992. Andrew Barron took over in 1996.
Our vision is to make the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people in Canada. There are 400,000 Jewish people throughout Canada in six time zones! Almost 200,000 live in Toronto. Canadian Jews tend to live in a cultural ghetto where the gospel is considered irrelevant and/or a threat.
The meat and potatoes of our work is public and personal evangelism. You may see our missionaries handing out our gospel literature at the Toronto Blue Jays baseball games, the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey matches, or the Toronto Raptors basketball games. All of our efforts are designed for our missionary workers to have one-on-one encounters with interested Jewish people. We conduct regular Bible studies and events around the Jewish festivals. We call and visit Jewish people on a regular basis and maintain a Canadian web site and chat room that attract Jewish people throughout Canada. We do campus evangelism and hope one day to open offices in Montreal and Vancouver. Montreal has 60,000 Jewish people and Vancouver has 25,000 Jewish people. As part of our ongoing ministry vision here in Canada we support our work in Paris, France to the amount of $25,000 per year. Our labors have us bringing the gospel to Jewish people in Southern Ontario as well as Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg and any other place where our people live in this country. That is six time zones of Jewish evangelism!
We are presently upgrading our computer systems in order to have a better handle on our desktop publishing and web work. We are developing an Intranet and we recently developed our own local Jews for Jesus web site, which is linked to our international site. We are finding that the greatest source of our contacts is the internet. We also are developing a Jews for Jesus Canadian cyber-branch.
One Missionary’s Report…
The SARS outbreak in the city of Toronto this past Spring made it difficult to minister to people in hospitals here. I managed to visit Alex, an 82-year-old Jewish man, whom I had been seeing every two weeks. Getting into the hospital to visit him was an ordeal. By the time I was at his bedside, I was in a mask and gown and I had washed my hands twice.
Alex was very concerned about his health and that of his family members. His daughter was very ill that day as well. Before I left Alex asked me to pray for his health as well as that of his daughter.
The following week Alex was out of the hospital and I visited him at home. He had obviously been looking forward to our meeting. The first thing that Alex said was, “Thank you for your prayers.” Then he told me that a few hours after I left the hospital his daughter phoned to let him know that she was feeling great, that whatever had been making her ill suddenly left. Alex said to me, “Now I know that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah; He healed my daughter. What do I have to do to accept Jesus as my Jewish Messiah?” Alex prayed with me to receive Jesus. He then asked me to pray for him and his daughter as he was going to tell her what he had done. Please pray for Alex to grow in his new faith, and for his daughter to be receptive to his witness.
- Pray that God will bless our outreach, weekly Bible studies and discipleship visits with new Jewish believers.
- Pray that God will provide and give us wisdom as we develop and update our database and web technology to reach more of our people across all the time zones in Canada.
- Pray for the Barron immigration—we are still waiting to hear regarding our second application for permanent status.
- BYG Toronto is taking place now! Please keep this outreach in prayer.
- Pray for more volunteers in Canada.
- Pray for our families to stay healthy physically and spiritually.
- Pray for a growing number of Jewish people in Canada to be willing to consider the claims of Jesus.
- Pray for Richard Muller, as he and his family prepare to come on board with us.