“Start a women’s Bible class!”
“Shosh, when are you going to start a women’s Bible study?”
“Is there a women’s study I can attend?” Three women had asked this within two weeks. But I wasn’t in a hurry to answer.
When we first moved to NYC I quickly began a Mom’s Bible study at our apartment. It seemed like a good idea. But it wasn’t long before the group decided to head off to a city playground for their weekly gatherings. Three years had passed since that first study had launched and failed. I wasn’t going to move so quickly now. I just wanted to be certain I was answering the call of God.
So I began to pray about starting a women’s Bible class, and it seemed God was leading in that direction. I decided I’d definitely invite two new Jewish believers I had recently led to the Lord, but I thought, why not invite all the Jewish believers to whom I extend ministry in Manhattan—and even some unbelievers?
As I began talking to the women I hoped would participate, it became clear that Tuesday morning was the best fit for everyone’s schedule. Personally, I’d been attending another Bible study on Tuesday mornings (a mom’s group!) as a participant, not a leader. As one of the few attenders whose children are adults, I sometimes had the opportunity to share an encouraging word with tired moms who loved God and found themselves falling short in their Bible reading and prayer life. Plus I got to hold babies! Anyway, good-bye to the mom’s Bible study. I was more than happy to make the sacrifice.
Our Jews for Jesus staff prayed; I studied, cleaned our apartment and prepared snacks. It was Tuesday, 11:00 a.m. The phone rang. It was the front desk, “Mrs. Weinisch, Leah* is here.” “Send her up,” I replied, though somewhat surprised. Leah is a not-yet-believing Jewish woman with whom I have been sharing the gospel for two years. We meet every few weeks—sometimes we have Bible studies, other times it’s spiritual conversation over a cup of coffee or a meal. I hadn’t expected Leah to accept the invitation, but now I was very glad I’d asked. Next, Rhea showed up. She is a new Jewish believer I had not previously met in person. (She was also one of the women who’d called the Jews for Jesus office asking about a women’s study months earlier.) Her Jewish neighbor, Esther* (not yet a believer) was in tow. One of the missionary trainees, Lisa, was there to observe as a part of her training and for support. As introductions were made and the five of us filled plates with snacks and cups with coffee and tea, I said a slightly panicked, but silent prayer: “Oh Lord, I should be teaching ‘What is the Bible?’ not Colossians!”
I decided to stick with the plan and present what I had believed God put on my heart to teach. There were so many questions! Who is Paul? Where is he writing from? Who is he writing to? Where is Colossae? Did he know the people there? What is an apostle? Who is Jesus Christ? Is Jesus His first name and Christ His last name? Who is Timothy; is he Jewish, too? Was he really Paul’s brother? Before the end of the study these and many other questions were answered—and we had read Paul’s conversion in Acts 9. I looked at my watch and we’d gone way too long for a Bible study—but the room was electric. We’d had lively conversation and everyone wanted more! As Esther stood up from the sofa she said with a big smile. “Wow, this was a real surprise. I had no idea where I was going. Wow!”
I was surprised too, but God wasn’t! In a subsequent visit with Esther, she prayed to receive the Lord! Please pray for the salvation of Leah, and that Rhea and Esther will be grounded in their new faith. Also, pray as we continue with this unlikely study on Colossians, that God will continue to bring those women He is seeking as his own.
*Not their real names