Bits from the Branches
Because of this city’s high crime rate you don’t find crowds of people on public walkways. So public events are exciting for us as they provide the occasional opportunity to go and hand out our broadside tracts. That was the case at a recent pop concert in Pretoria. Says branch leader Michael Sischy, Our team of three noticed quite a number of Jewish folks in the river of people streaming into the stadium to hear Robbie Williams. One Jewish woman pointed us out to her children, warning them that we are the people they need to beware of. (Most don’t realize that on principle, we do not talk to children under 18 without parental consent.) I was surprised to see a professor I knew from medical school (Michael was in medical practice before becoming a missionary) years ago. He smiled, said hello, took a broadside and went on his way! I was glad that we got to hand out 3,000 broadsides and be visible to so many who need Yeshua.”
What do you do when you visit someone who tells you “Don’t teach your grandmother to suck eggs!” That’s what Riva L. told Sveta Kotlomina, irritated that the younger woman had come to teach her about Jesus. Further, Riva flatly denied that she was a sinner. Nevertheless, Sveta continued to visit her over the next year and a half, with intervals ranging from two weeks to 2 1/2 months. After some time, Riva became interested and attentive to the Word of God. Her progress became evident as she gained a greater realization of sin, as well as a hunger to talk about Jesus. Once she told Sveta, “I understand with my mind that it is time for me to make a decision, but my heart isn’t ready.” Regarding this, Sveta comments, “I wasn’t in a hurry ‘to reap fruit out of season,’ but I noticed that from that point Riva began understanding spiritual truths. One day as we discussed repentance, she asked with a holy impatience, ‘How can I do that?’ With some guidance she turned to God in repentance. I especially rejoice over this born-again heart that confesses, ‘Jesus is my God!'”
Lena Gourtovaya was amazed to learn that whereas Yefim left the room whenever she came to visit his wife, Alla (a new Jewish believer), he had been eavesdropping on everything they said. It became apparent that he had only pretended disinterest when he came to our Shabbat meeting and listened attentively to the message. Please pray for Yefim’s salvation.
“Can I ask you a question? Actually, several questions.” Matt Friedman, twenty-two-year-old associate staff with our New York branch, describes how a group of teen-aged Jewish believers in Jesus had a great time conducting surveys with people at Madison Square Park. Matt says, “This was part of our series of monthly events for teens here at the New York branch. Four teens were involved in writing and conducting the surveys, three of whom are Jewish believers. I led the event, along with Elisheva R, David Liebman and (Jews for Jesus missionary) Josh Sofaer.
“For our last teen event of the school year we wanted to do something evangelistic. Instead of handing out tracts, which we’ve done before, we decided to write and conduct a survey. So on Saturday we got together and brainstormed a survey that talked about feet, specifically dirty feet.
“On the spiritual side it mentioned how Jesus washed His disciples’ feet and asked the question, ‘Have you ever felt like you needed spiritual cleansing?’ Writing the survey got everyone thinking about what kinds of questions would lead to good interactions.
“Then it was time to go to Madison Square Park and ask people our questions. Thirty-five people were willing to take our surveys, and eight of them gave us their contact information. When we came back, everyone had a story about an interaction they’d had. It was great to see God use our teens, and for them to be excited about sharing their faith.”