Meet Our Trainees!
Deb Dubin, was raised in a secular Jewish home on Long Island where she attended Hebrew school for ten years. When she was seven, Deb went with a friend to church. This raised a question in her mind: why was there a different God for the Gentiles than for the Jews? Thus began what turned out to be a 30-year search.
In the summer of 1996, Deb received a tract from one of our New York City summer witnessing campaigners. She began attending our New York branch Bible study and later came to one of our worship services. She discovered that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, and that there is but one God and one way of salvation for Jews and Gentiles. She received that salvation and three years later, she took an administrative position with Jews for Jesus. That’s how she met her husband Larry, also a Jewish believer in Jesus and a missionary on our staff. Deb and Larry have served in our New York and Los Angeles branches and currently are serving in Washington, D.C.
Deb has continued with Jews for Jesus as an administrative assistant over the last nine and a half years, but has also served as chief steward on many of our Behold Your God campaigns. Last May, she served for six weeks on our BYG Israel campaign, not as a steward but as one of the campaigners. That experience changed her. I began praying about my ministry and how I could best be used by the Lord for the sake of the gospel. There are many Jewish people here in D.C. who need to hear about Jesus.” Deb moved out of her administrative role, and into training to become a full-time outreach worker. She requests, “Would you pray that the Lord would continue to do His good work in me and equip me for the calling He has now placed on my life? Please pray for a fruitful ministry as Larry and I serve together on the streets of the Washington, D.C. metro area.”
Rachelle Trank, grew up in San Diego, California. As the child of a Jewish mother and an Italian father who both know Jesus, Rachelle always felt like she had “the best of both worlds” with a rich heritage and a strong faith in Yeshua. She attended Jews for Jesus’ Camp Gilgal in 1996, sponsored by a family friend. Rachelle says, “Camp Gilgal really changed my life, bringing me into a community of Jewish believers I could really relate to.” She continued attending each year and when she “outgrew” camp she became a counselor; that’s how she met fellow counselor and husband-to-be, Aaron.
Rachelle has a bachelor’s degree in deaf studies from California State University, Northridge and is a certified Sign Language Interpreter. She was working at the University of California, Los Angeles in a genetics research project before coming on our staff.
Aaron Trank, grew up in Sacramento, California, also in a believing home, with a Jewish dad and a Gentile mom. Aaron’s parents were Co-Laborers (trained volunteers) with Jews for Jesus for many years. Aaron attended the very first Camp Gilgal in 1991 and later served as a camp counselor as well as junior camp director. He has a degree is computer science from California State University, Northridge and was working for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory before coming on our staff.
Aaron and Rachelle were married in the summer of 2005 as the first “Camp Gilgal Couple.” A year and a half into their marriage they suffered a tragic loss. In Rachelle’s fourth month of pregnancy, the couple learned that their baby had chromosomal defects that would most likely be fatal. Three months later, Rachelle delivered Isabella May stillborn. Rachelle says, “This was the most painful and heartbreaking experience of our lives. Yet, through this tragedy, God radically changed our perspective and our priorities.” The Tranks agreed to lead Massah, our short-term missions trip to Israel and India for college-age Jewish believers. As they were preparing for the trip, they decided to come early and participate on the first Behold Your God Israel campaign. Through this intense time of outreach and investing in the next generation of Jewish believers, the Tranks sensed God’s leading to come on staff with Jews for Jesus.
Barry B., grew up in London, UK, the son of two Jewish psychotherapists. While his religious upbringing was considered “Liberal” (somewhat equivalent to Reform Judaism in the U.S.), Barry remembers his Bar Mitzvah well, and his holidays to Israel. He was a Jewish Youth leader in his twenties and lived in Israel for a year, where he learned to speak Hebrew.
Jealous of the personal faith he saw in others, Barry began searching. He attended church, found the worship sincere, and tried singing the hymns—leaving out the name of Jesus! He also attended a course for those exploring Jesus and Christianity and prayed that God would make the truth clear. As Barry felt his heart turning to Jesus, he became fearful. He’d always been taught that Jews cannot believe in Jesus; he did not want to turn his back on his Jewish identity or be rejected by his family and community. When he heard the story of Helen Shapiro, who explained how her faith in Jesus as the Messiah and Savior of the world went hand in hand with her Jewish identity, the pieces fell into place. With great relief, Barry surrendered his life to Jesus. It was 1996 and he was 33 years old. In 2002, Barry left his teaching career to be a missionary with YWAM (Youth With a Mission). In 2005, he began volunteering with Jews for Jesus in London.
Alison B. grew up in Liverpool, the daughter of a Jewish father and a Gentile mother who decided not to give their children a religious upbringing. Nevertheless, Alison spent every Shabbat with her Jewish grandparents and cannot remember a time when she did not believe in God.
At age eleven, Alison heard prayers and Scripture chanted from the monastery in Taize and was somehow impressed that Jesus was Savior and Lord. But with no one at home to guide or support her belief, she felt that she was too young to “go it alone.”
At the age of sixteen, Alison attended an evangelistic event and made a public profession of her faith in Christ. Her parents were shocked at the news. She became a teacher, first in Spain and then in Hong Kong, where God began leading her into ministry. She returned to England to attend All Nations Christian College. There she met Richard Harvey, a former director of Jews for Jesus in the UK, who encouraged her to think more of her Jewish identity.
Alison began volunteering with Jews for Jesus and she met Barry at our London Hanukkah party in 2005. They were married March 31, 2007, and applied to become missionaries the following December. They were part of the “Tiger Team” in 2008, which means they participated in the BYG Israel campaign, then went on to the London campaign, and following that, the New York Summer Witnessing campaign–all before starting training in September!
Barry and Alison request your prayers as they return to their home branch in London to continue their studies as trainees. Please pray for them as they readjust into life and culture there, seek affordable housing, and look to establish good links with unsaved Jewish people who will be willing to hear about Jesus.