In Russia and Ukraine, our staff has a name for their annual Hanukkah outreach: “Operation Light of the World.” Your newsletter was mailed before this year’s outreach began, but here are a few highlights from last year to help you pray for the work that is going on there this month.
From Moscow, Olga Ammosova reported, “This year, 112 people came to our Hanukkah holiday Shabbat meeting, including twenty first-time visitors, ten of them as yet unbelieving Jews. It was a wonderful service with lots of music, dancing, children’s ministry, history, holiday traditions and, of course, the sermon. But most important, three Jewish people and two Gentiles professed faith in Jesus for the first time at the Shabbat meeting. Hallelujah!”
From Odessa, Igor Barbanel reported: “On December 21, wet snow fell as Valentina and I were making drop-in visits; we prayed that God would protect us and send us to interested Jewish people. We rang the bell of the first apartment we’d planned to visit, and an elderly man opened the door. We introduced ourselves, and Naum invited us in.
“I shared the good news with him. He believed that Y’shua was a real historical figure. He read the Bible, but had doubts that Y’shua rose from the dead. But he said that as he has continued to read the Bible as well as historical and theological sources about Y’shua, he was beginning to believe that He rose from the dead.
“Naum’s wife, Lidia, listened with interest. I asked them both, ‘Do you consider yourself sinners?’ They said yes. I asked if they believed that Jesus is the promised Messiah of Israel who died for the sins of all people and particularly for their sins. They confirmed that. I read Romans 10:9-10 and invited them to receive Y’shua through a prayer of repentance. After the prayer, I saw gladness and hope in their faces. Valentina and I were glad also. God answered our prayers and brought salvation to a Jewish couple on the Jewish Festival of Light.”
Olga Vasserman reported, “Hanukkah is still a time of miracles. Volunteer Lina (wife of our missionary Gena) and I did drop-in visits together. For one of the addresses, we could not find the building and asked a pedestrian for directions. The woman explained how to get there. We thanked her and went on our way. When we arrived at the residence in that building, we rang the doorbell, and the same woman who had given us directions answered the door! She invited us in and was quite open; we had a good visit with Victoria, who is Jewish. Please pray for her salvation.”
From Kharkov, Igor Spivak reported: “While making drop-in visits I couldn’t find the apartment I needed, because none of the doors had numbers. I wandered from one floor to another, trying to understand the numbering system. Completely confused, I prayed and decided to ring a random apartment. I hoped they would tell me where the apartment I wanted was, but it turned out that I rang the very apartment I needed! An Orthodox Jewish man named Anatoly opened the door. I explained the gospel to him. I believe the seed was sown.
“While going door-to-door, we often face problems entering the apartment complex as there are usually locked doors or gates. Our volunteer Pavel and I went door-to-door to visit Jewish people who had given us their contact info. We prayed for the Lord to open the entrance doors for us, and the Jewish hearts for Y’shua. When we came to one building, the outer door literally opened in front of us. We entered the building, found the apartment we needed, and rang the doorbell. A Jewish man named Alexander was there as if waiting for us. He was very glad to see us; it was clear that the Lord had prepared his heart. When I had called him on the phone before, he was too busy to talk and showed no interest in Y’shua. However, during this visit he listened gladly to the gospel and agreed on further visits to talk about the Messiahship of Y’shua.
Please pray for those mentioned above (Naum and Lidia, Victoria, Anatoly and Alexander) and please pray for our missionaries who even now are out and about in the snow trying to share the gospel with those who will receive it.