From Israel to London to Find Faith
Gali is an Israeli and a single mother. She and her six-year-old son, Ilya, have lived in London for the past seven years. In Israel, Gali’s next door neighbor on the kibbutz (commune) was a believer in Jesus, and Gali had also spent some time at the believers’ moshav (settlement) near Jerusalem. Gali was always fascinated by those people, but she could never understand how believing in Jesus could be for Jewish people.
Here in London, Gali is good friends with Carol, a Gentile Christian nurse and alumna of All Nations Bible College. Carol and others had been talking to Gali about Jesus for about a year. Gali was always interested. She had read Scriptures such as Isaiah 53 and had even prayed with these Christian friends. She had been looking for peace in her heart and knew that she never felt forgiven. Carol had explained to Gali that Jesus came to deal with those things, but Gali was still stuck on two points: How could a person believe in Jesus and stay Jewish, and what would her family think if she made the commitment?
I met Carol through Nancy, a mutual friend. On three occasions Carol, Gali and I planned to get together, but each time something happened, and one of us had to cancel. Finally Carol suggested that I just get in touch with Gali by phone. One day I called Gali from our Jews for Jesus office where I am Office Administrator.
Is that Gali?” I asked. “Carol asked me to contact you.”
“I know who you are, and I want to talk to you,” Gali replied, “but I can’t talk now. Call me again.”
I wondered whether Gali was really interested, but I called again, only to get the same response.
“Gali, is there a good time to call you?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said, “and please do call. About 10 or 11 o’clock at night is a good time.”
Once more I called Gali, this time about 10:15 in the evening, and her response was totally different. She really did want to talk.
“I just found out that Jesus is Jewish,” Gali began.
“That’s right,” I said. “Do you think He could be the Messiah?”
“I think He is the one who forgives sin; I know that I sin and I am tempted, and I want to know peace. I think He can give peace in my heart,” Gali said.
As we talked, Gali asked whether believers in England observed the Jewish holidays.
I was able to explain the gospel, using the Passover imagery of Jesus as the Lamb who takes away sin. That seemed to strike a responsive chord in Gali, but then she brought up one of her objections.
“I don’t want to stop being Jewish. It is important that I don’t give that up for my son’s sake!”
I was able to put Gali at ease about this. I explained that believing in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, does not detract from a person’s Jewishness at all.
Then Gali asked, “Doesn’t God hate us if we are sinners?”
“He loves us, but He hates the sin,” I explained. “That’s why we need Jesus.”
Gali understood. “Like when my son is bad, I punish him, but I love him.”
“That’s right!” I said.
“And God loves us so much that He wants the best for us?” she continued.
“Exactly! That’s why we need Jesus.”
“And from knowing Jesus I could have peace in my heart?”
“Receiving forgiveness would give you peace, wouldn’t it?” I responded.
“Yes,” she said. “How would you do that?”
“You mean how would you ask Jesus into your life?” I asked.
“That’s what I want to know, to have peace!” Gali exclaimed.
I explained how she might pray to commit herself to Yeshua and asked, “Gali, do you want to pray that prayer?”
“I do—but my family?” she stopped midsentence.
I explained about the cost of following Jesus. Gali was sure that this was what she wanted, but she was worried about her family’s reaction. She asked me to pray for her, which I did. Then she requested that I hang up and call her back in five minutes so she could ask God on her own what to do.
As I put the phone down, I wondered whether Gali would answer a second time. I prayed and after a short while rang her again. Gali answered instantly.
“Tell me the prayer again,” she requested.
I read her a prayer of commitment and asked if she wanted to pray now.
“You say it, and I’ll say it after you,” Gali said. “Then will you please pray for me?”
Gali prayed to accept Jesus, and then we prayed together. By now it was 11 p.m. Just a short while later the phone rang again. This time it was Carol. Gali had just called Carol to tell her the good news, and Carol wanted to rejoice with me over the telephone.
I learned later from Gali why she had not wanted to speak to me the first two times I had called. Each time, a visitor was there whom she did not want to hear our conversation. Also, when I called at a later hour, her small son was in bed and she could be more relaxed.
After Gali’s profession of faith, she began to attend a local fellowship with Carol. Gali recently went to France to continue some French studies she began at University in London. Before Gali left, I was able to visit her and give her our Growth Book for new believers. I also gave her our Paris missionaries’ address, and I hope to contact her myself as soon as I have an address for her in France.
Editor’s Note: Caroline Hewitt works with our London office. She is on her way to becoming a missionary when her support is raised.