If it were not for Jews for Jesus, I would not be standing here, the pastor announced. “And here is their executive director, who has come to speak to us this morning.”
What a warm and wonderful welcome to a terrific church—Wasilla Bible Church—that sits a little less than an hour outside of Anchorage, Alaska.
Pastor Kroon was referring to a presentation he and his wife had seen in Seattle back in 1974. The young couple realized their lives had strayed from the things of God, and they decided to begin attending church. Lo and behold, The Liberated Wailing Wall from Jews for Jesus was visiting that morning. The Jewish gospel music, drama and testimonies touched this couple’s hearts and helped them to hear the call of God for their own lives.
The Liberated Wailing Wall has been the mobile evangelistic music branch of Jews for Jesus since the very beginning of our ministry. In the early days they traveled in a van and everyone took turns driving—today it takes an experienced bus driver to handle the “house on wheels.” Our ’70s homemade costumes have given way to a little more professional style. But the heart and soul of the team is the same. A handful of gifted Jewish musicians who love Jesus leave home to live out of a suitcase for a year and a half. They travel across the country, singing in churches and handing out our broadside tracts on city street corners and college campuses. They get tired, they get homesick and they face the numerous challenges of living and working in very close quarters. Most of all, they get to be used by God to touch people’s lives in powerful ways, and they grow closer to the Lord in the process.
The newest Liberated Wailing Wall is in its formative stages and your prayers would mean so very much.
Meet the Team Members:
Team leader Chad Elliott has been published in our Newsletter before, and you can read his story, “I found Jesus in the yellow pages” on our web site.
Chad joined our staff in 1999 as a missionary trainee. After nine months of training in New York City, he joined The Liberated Wailing Wall. Chad has a bachelor’s degree in music education from Vandercook College, plays bass and sings baritone. Following his tour, Chad relocated to Fort Lauderdale, where he served with our branch prior to re-joining the team as leader.
Chad has been on the cutting edge of Jewish cyber-evangelism and he also co-led our Behold Your God campaign in West Palm Beach, Florida. As he re-joins The Liberated Wailing Wall as the team’s leader, Chad brings a wealth of missionary experience with him.
Lydia Jacobs was born and raised in Rochester, New York. Lydia’s parents are both Jewish and they sent Lydia and her twin brother to Hebrew school. However, when Lydia was seven years old, her mother came to faith in Jesus, as did her father the following year. The family began attending church and it was not long before Lydia and her brother also came to know and love Jesus.
Lydia is a graduate of Pensacola Christian College with a B.A. in English. She has been involved with ministry to children and has played and sung for the worship team in her messianic congregation. She is not new to The Liberated Wailing Wall. In fact, Lydia just completed her first tour with the team—and liked it so much that she decided to come back for more! She sings soprano and plays tambourine and doumbek (Middle Eastern drum).
Melissa Zaidman was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and in fact, we came in contact with her through Sergio Danon, our Rio branch leader, who first met Melissa when she was about 12 years old. Melissa’s father, a Jewish believer in Jesus, was associate pastor at a church the Danons attended. Sergio remembers Melissa announcing at an early age that she was going to be a missionary…and he is hoping to have her join the Rio team following her tour with The Liberated Wailing Wall.
Melissa believed in Jesus from a very young age (not quite four years old). She grew up attending a Christian academy and heard a speaker, “Brother Andrew,” whom God used to call her into the mission field. Melissa has since studied speech and drama at Trinity Baptist College. She has played an active role in her church in Cleveland, Tennessee, where she recently started a small group weekly Bible study for young single adults.
In addition to contributing her dramatic talents to The Liberated Wailing Wall, Melissa will be singing alto on the team.
Sabra Vidak was born and raised in the Dallas, Texas area. She cannot remember a time when Yeshua (Jesus) was not part of her life. Sabra’s Christian mom helped her to know Him at an early age, and Sabra has since rededicated her life to Him on her own. Sabra’s father is Jewish, and while he has not been the primary spiritual influence in the family, Sabra identifies herself as a Jewish believer in Jesus. She and her family have learned much about their Jewish heritage through their local messianic congregation, Baruch Ha Shem, in the Dallas area.
Sabra absolutely loves to sing. She has been a member of two worship teams, has sung in several high school and college choruses and has participated in many musicals. She has attended two and a half years of college thus far, as a musical theater major. Sabra sings alto as well as soprano and has written and co-written several songs.
David Abramsky was born in Toronto, Ontario. Raised in a Jewish home, he attended Hebrew school at synagogue two nights a week. At an early age, David fell in love with music, and his parents nurtured that love with piano and cello lessons.
Academics also played an important part in David’s life and he ended up at MIT, where he graduated with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. As a musician and a software programmer, the pieces of David’s life seemed to fit together…except he was missing the spiritual aspect. He realized that he needed God in his life.
One day David picked up a New Testament left in his grandmother’s house by a previous live-in housekeeper. He realized he had made assumptions about the book without any first-hand experience. As he began to read the New Testament, David found himself drawn to Jesus. He began attending church and one of the members introduced him to Andrew Barron, leader of our Toronto branch. By the time the two met, David was well on the way to faith. With Andrew, he prayed to acknowledge his need for forgiveness, and Jesus as his Messiah and sin-bearer. That was seven years ago.
David has a heart for evangelism, has volunteered with our Toronto branch and participated on the Behold Your God Toronto witnessing campaign. He has also played in many orchestras, including the MIT Symphony (which played at Carnegie Hall) and has released two CDs. In addition to playing cello and piano, David sings tenor.
Jenny Kaye was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts. Both her parents are Jewish believers in Jesus, so Jenny was raised in a messianic Jewish home. She prayed to receive Jesus when she was eight years old. She has seen The Liberated Wailing Wall minister many times, and the last time she went to see the group she felt that God was calling her to music ministry.
Jenny holds a bachelor of arts degree in Bible from Houghton College, where she was also involved in music. She has been on several worship teams, in and out of church, playing piano/keyboard and singing soprano.
Keith Ramsey was born and raised in Revere, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. His mother is Jewish and his father converted to Judaism before they were married. Keith’s childhood was spent participating in Jewish community center activities and Jewish summer camps. He would occasionally ask questions about who Jesus was and was never satisfied with the answers. Keith went on to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, where he graduated with a B.S. in business administration with a concentration in computer information systems. A year later he was seeking spiritual answers to some of life’s bigger questions. Through a friend, Keith began attending church. There the pastor introduced him to a Jewish believer in Jesus named Michael. Keith and Michael began meeting weekly to study the Bible.
One day Keith was at a funeral and found himself next to the sister of the deceased. As she was crying, Keith tried to comfort her. Through that conversation, the woman, a Christian, realized that Keith was Jewish and was seeking spiritual answers. She asked for his address and she sent him the book Betrayed! (the story of a Jewish believer named Stan Telchin) and he also began receiving information from Jews for Jesus. After almost a year of seeking, and three months of going to church, Keith realized the only way to have peace was to give his heart to Jesus, the Jewish Messiah. Four years later Keith enrolled in Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland, Oregon, where he completed a certificate in Bible and graduated with a master’s degree in pastoral studies.
During his time at Bible school and seminary, Keith has had a growing desire to serve the Lord and to reach Jewish people for Jesus. He will be singing baritone with The Liberated Wailing Wall.
As of this writing, we are still searching for the bus driver/sound person for the team. This is a crucial position, so please pray! And pray for the other team members, that God will bless and strengthen them, and enable them to have a wonderful year and a half of ministry together.