Bits from the Branches
Volunteer Attila Csakany reports, “Aron* met us on the streets during this year’s campaign and immediately sensed that God had sent us across his path. He is about 35–40, from a mixed Jewish and Catholic background and suffers from lung-heart disease as well as depression-anxiety. I began to visit with him and during our third meeting he said he had been reading our Questions and Answers booklet. The part that really caught his attention was at the end, where the reader is invited to pray a prayer of repentance and salvation. The prayer really touched him. He prayed it at home, but wanted to once again, during our visit. He said, ‘This is it; I want to leave everything behind, all my sinful life.’ After he prayed I felt like I should share Psalm 91 with him. It was right on. He asked me to put it on a paper for him, so he can take it home. I also shared about Peter walking on water, how we should always focus on Jesus, and the parable of the lost sheep, to show how important we are to God. Aron commented that learning about God and the Bible had a better effect on him than any anti-depressant. He wants to come to church with us and hopes to bring his girlfriend. His little brother is also interested in meeting with us. Praise God!”
Tzachi Danor reports, “Dani,* 25, has been searching for the truth about Yeshua for long time. He used to watch short videos made by iGOD in Israel and had many exchanges on Facebook with a friend of ours who works with Israel College of the Bible. Our friend at the Bible college contacted us and I was the one who got to meet with Dani in person. Thanks to the ministry of others here in Israel, he was ready to receive Yeshua into his heart at our first meeting. Now he is growing in faith and I have the honor to lead him and care for him as he is making his first steps with the Lord.”
Do you remember Heather Drake’s prayer request for campus evangelism in our September newsletter? Consider this an answer to prayer!
Heather reports, “I was at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) handing out some of our postcard-style literature in the breezeway when I noticed a girl with a clipboard. As Abby* approached, I asked what she was doing, pointing to her clipboard. She was talking with students about the environment and women’s rights. I asked a few more questions and, after she had answered, I thanked her for sharing what she was passionate about. She asked, ‘What are you passionate about?’ I replied, ‘I am passionate about Jesus!’ Abby blanched a bit, even though I know she’d noticed the Jews for Jesus logo on my shirt. I leaned in and said, “Look, if you are really wanting change, you’re wanting Jesus. Because Jesus is an agent of change. If you want things to change around you, hold on to Him and they will surely change.” At this Abby informed me she is Israeli and Jewish. We talked about the upcoming High Holidays and that we might see each other again on campus. Before she walked away, Abby said one more thing, ‘You know, I do like everything Jesus stood for.’ Please pray that Abby’s understanding and acceptance of what He stands for will grow.”
Later that month, Heather was experimenting with a Rosh Hashanah outreach: “The FAU administration wouldn’t let me distribute real apples and honey [as is traditional for the holiday], so I gave out ‘paper apples’ and invited people to use them to write something that they’d like to begin over new in their lives. It turned out to be a great conversation starter. Sam,* an unbelieving Jewish student asked, ‘What’s this all about?’ I told him that I wanted to know what area of his life he wanted to be made new. He was very open to discussing it. Before leaving he said, ‘You know, I came over here to argue with you but for some reason I don’t want to argue with you anymore. I hate it when people push leaflets and pamphlets at you and don’t really want to know anything about you. I feel like we made a real human connection.’ Pray for Sam, who said he would look for me again on the campus.”
Remember last month David Liebman asked for prayer for connecting with people in Meet Up groups? Well, here’s another answer to prayer!
Lynn McCoy reports, “Often when “Meet Up” groups find out we’re with Jews for Jesus, we’re no longer welcome to participate. When David, my coworker, joined a group studying the book, The Misunderstood Jew, by Amy-Jill Levine, he knew he might be disinvited. The group was composed of several Jewish women and one Gentile man, all interested in the ‘historic’ Jesus. David let the moderator know up front that he is a Jew for Jesus, with no adverse results.
“For five weeks David attended the group, expressing his view as a Jew who has embraced Jesus as the true Messiah. And—they appreciated hearing his point of view! David asked me to join him in the final discussion of the book, as he thought the moderator, Sarah,* and I would click. And click we did!
“In that meeting I was able to share how I’d been raised Orthodox, and how I came to understand that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. Sarah asked me to tell more about my experience and I did.
“When I got home, an email from Sarah was waiting in my inbox. I held my breath, thinking I might have said too much, too soon. But it was simply an invite to the next meeting, which was a Skype visit with the author herself. At the conclusion of that meeting, Sarah asked what ‘we’ could do next. I suggested a book by Dr. Michael Brown, The Real Kosher Jesus.
“Before our book discussion continued in September, we decided to view the film Sister Rose’s Passion about a Dominican nun whose passion was fighting anti-Semitism within the Catholic Church. During our discussion of the film, I mentioned Jews for Jesus. Sarah and another group member were surprised. They knew David and I were Jews who believed in Jesus, but they hadn’t realized we are actually on staff with the organization.
“Once again I wondered if I would be invited back to the group. And once again, by the time I got home, there was already an email awaiting me from Sarah. She had enjoyed our conversation and was sorry we didn’t get to speak longer. She invited me to some local farmers’ markets, and I invited her to a tea with live music. I’m looking forward to the development of our new friendship, and am asking you to keep Sarah in your prayers, especially as we embark on our new study of The Real Kosher Jesus.”
Mikhail Vayshengolts reports, “A Jewish man named Dmitry found us on the Internet and called, wanting to meet. Three years ago, he had a dream in which an elderly man and woman were holding a cardboard sign with the Jews for Jesus inscription. The man and the woman were approaching Dmitry. He awoke with a sense that he should contact us… and now, three years later, he did! Please pray for his salvation.”
Ziggy Rogoff reports, “86-year-old Rachel* was introduced to us by a Christian friend. Though Jewish, Rachel had experienced visions of Jesus in the past and this made her open to talking about Him. God brought her a kosher-hearted Gentile, who then
introduced her to me. Rachel would often say, ‘I have nothing against His [God’s] Son. Can His Son help my son?’ I explained that it is not enough to have nothing against His Son; we should be for His Son. (Rachel’s son, while an adult, has a learning disability that has caused some difficulties.)
“During our visits I explained that when we trust that Jesus died, not for His own sins, but our sins, we can repent, be forgiven and receive eternal life.
“Rachel came to understand the problem of sin, and our need to be washed and forgiven in order to come into God’s presence. A white carpet and muddy boots do not mix. ‘Rachel, He wants to wash you,’ I said. Then I asked, ‘Do you believe Jesus took the blame for you?’ She answered, ‘He took the blame for me, taking my punishment.’ She then prayed to receive Jesus as her Savior and Lord. Please pray for her faith to grow strong, and for her son.”
*not their real names