As missionaries we know that whatever fruit we see from our labor is because God is at work behind the scenes.” But now and then we see His hand so clearly that even those of us who’ve served for 20 years and more just get chills. That was how many of us felt when we heard the following story from Nici Smith.
A Christian friend had asked us to witness to her daughter, June. June had converted to Judaism many years ago in order to marry a Jewish man. I’d followed up the request with several phone calls. One day when I called to speak to June, her (adult) daughter Leah answered. “Who are you?” she demanded. When I told her I was with Jews for Jesus, she became curious and we had the first of many good phone conversations. We finally began meeting face-to-face. Eventually, Leah confessed, “I’m starting to see that Jesus is the Messiah, but if I accept it, I’m also accepting that my dad, who didn’t believe in Jesus, is in hell. I loved him more than anyone else in this world. I can’t bear the thought of never seeing him again—I can’t do it.”
It was difficult to know what to say. I asked Leah to read Isaiah 53 and we arranged our next meeting. The day for the visit arrived, and no sooner had I walked into the house than she brought me her father’s faded Tenach (Hebrew Scriptures) and opened it to show me what she had discovered. There in Isaiah her father had circled chapter 53. And in the margin he had written: Messianic prophecy—Yeshua is Messiah.
“Now what I want to know,” Leah said, “is who is Yeshua?”
“Don’t you remember?” I said with a smile, “Yeshua is the Jewish way to say Jesus.” Leah immediately went to tell her brother what she’d found. She was not ready to receive Yeshua then, but when we met again two weeks later, she was! Praise God!”