Bits from the Branches
Tuvya Zaretsky reports, I went to do a sortie at Santa Monica College on September 16, to coincide with the appearance of our “Happy New Year” ad that appeared in the Corsair newspaper. After the sortie, I went to the cafeteria to rehydrate. Seeing my Jews for Jesus T-shirt, a Persian Jew named Ramin came and sat down with me. He had lots of wonderful questions. The High Holy Days gave us a terrific platform for conversation, especially the importance of Jesus in answering the dilemma of Yom Kippur (how do we have atonement for our sin without the required sacrifice now that the Temple is gone?). Pray that God will water those seeds and that Ramin will see that the answers to his excellent spiritual questions can only be found in Jesus.”
Rio de Janeiro
Sergio Danon reports, “While calling to invite people to our Rosh Hashanah service, I spoke to Ana, a 72-year-old Christian who was recently divorced from her Jewish husband. She was happy to be invited to our services and asked if she could bring a couple of friends with her. I told her she certainly could… but what happened next came as a big surprise.
“When Ana took the bus from Niteroi (which is across the bay) to Rio, she noticed a woman in her thirties who was obviously feeling sick and dizzy. Ana gave her seat to the younger woman, whose name was Roseanne and who turned out to be Jewish. Roseanne was on her way to the Rosh Hashanah service at a Kabbala synagogue in Rio. Ana began to witness to her. Roseanne ended up changing her plans and coming to our service instead! During the oneg (refreshments) she and I spoke. Roseanne told me that for some time she had been interested in Jews for Jesus, but didn’t know how to reach us. It was just amazing the way God brought her to our holiday service. Roseanne was open to the gospel, gave her contact information, and said she would be willing to meet with Melissa, one of our missionaries. Please pray for Roseanne’s salvation, and for God’s continued blessing on Ana.”
Valery Bolotov reports, “Inna came to our Shabbat meeting three years ago. At 70 years old, she was very energetic, was learning Hebrew and searching for her Jewish roots. From her first meeting with us, she immediately understood the sacrifice of Yeshua, said the sinner’s prayer, and invited me to talk to her husband Anatoly, a Gentile who had not yet responded to the call of Jesus. It was surprising, but during my talk with Anatoly, he suddenly began to cry and asked me to pray for him that God would forgive all of his sins. Oh, Inna was so happy! She and her husband began to attend our home group meetings together.
“But when Anatoly passed away suddenly, Inna cooled off to everything. She stopped attending our services, and when we tried to console her, she let us know she wanted to be left alone. What could we do? We could only pray and rely on God and wait for the Holy Spirit to open the heart of our sister and grant her a desire to come back to her Father.
“My wife and I called Inna on the phone from time to time over the course of the next year. Then Inna fell seriously ill. Sadly, her adult son Gregory responded to her situation by going on a drinking bout. One can only guess what was going on in Inna’s heart. A few months passed, first at the hospital, then at home. Inna could not walk and refused to eat. One of the local pastors who has been cooperating with Jews for Jesus for a long time visited Inna, as did others from the church, and of course my wife visited her as well. Inna’s illness had made her much more open to seeing believers. When Tanya returned for another visit, she saw a New Testament on Inna’s bedside table. ‘It’s surprising, but now I just can’t read anything but the Word of God,’ Inna said. Praise God! Soon after, Inna received water baptism and made a firm decision to follow Yeshua. Please pray that Inna will remain faithful and also, pray for her son Gregory who, so far, continues to drink.”