Jerusalem is home to many local artists and bohemians, and our team is blessed with several creative people who are connecting with them in unique ways. For example, Adel ben David, shown above, makes such beautiful hand-made pottery that numerous people who saw her work asked her to teach a class. Currently, she offers three weekly morning workshops, with seven women from her Jerusalem neighborhood attending, including Jackie.
Adel says, “Jackie definitely considers herself religious, and at first she seemed to be the most hostile to my faith among my pottery workshop attendees. But she has warmed up over time. Recently our conversation touched on the Jewish religion including the topic of animal sacrifices. She had dismissed the sacrifices as an antiquated system that is no longer relevant. I was able to explain why God gave the sacrifices as an atonement for sin, and how Jesus, as the ultimate sacrifice, did what all the other sacrifices could only point to. Apparently, Jackie had never heard this perspective before. ‘But why would such a nice Jewish girl like you believe in Jesus?’ she asked. I replied that I will gladly tell her my story next time we meet.”
Please pray for Jackie to be open to hearing Adel’s testimony (and you can see the amazing story of how she and her husband were part of a Hasidic community and came to faith in Jesus at j4j.co/adelandyoel).
Thanks to your partnership, our Jerusalem team is going full steam ahead! Some of the Jewish people we are connecting with have come to faith in Jesus! Following are a sample of ministry moments to encourage you.
Chaya Meets Her Messiah
Aviel Sela (who serves on our Jerusalem team in partnership with International Mission to Jewish People) has many talents that have opened doors for ministry. For one thing, he’s very good with technology and has been helping a number of older people install Zoom on their computers and cell phones. Several months ago, he arrived at a residential facility to do just that. Somehow, poor Chaya had been left off the list of people he was supposed to help. But Chaya “happened” to see Aviel helping others and asked him to install the application for her as well. Aviel says, “Of course I agreed to help her, but when I asked, ‘How are you?’ Chaya began to cry. She had recently returned from visiting her husband’s grave and was missing him terribly.
“Since Chaya was not interested in small talk, I cut straight to the point. I began to talk to her about eternal life and about the hope that God can give in Messiah Jesus. She showed me her Bible, and I began to point out some prophecies about the Messiah. She had many questions.
“We continued to meet over the next five months, and when I invited her to a biblical excursion I was about to lead for Russian-speaking Israelis to see historic sites, she accepted. After the excursion, Chaya said that it was very clear who Jesus is and what He did for us. I invited her to receive Jesus, but something seemed to hold her back.
“The following week, Chaya told me that due to some family history, she was afraid that she and her family were cursed. I looked into her eyes and said, ‘When Jesus died for us, He took our curses upon Himself. His resurrection proved that sin no longer has a hold on us if we trust Him as the Messiah of Israel and the whole world.’ Then I asked, ‘Chaya, do you want to pray to God, repent of your sins, and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior?’ She said, ‘Yes,’ and I led her in prayer! Please pray for her to grow in her new faith.
“I recently conducted another tour with 55 unbelievers attending, including a woman named Ruth. We had a deep gospel conversation and then a few days later, ‘by chance,’ we met at the store. Ruth had already read through the book we’d sent her after the excursion and was eager to learn more. I invited her to read Isaiah 53, explaining to her that the whole chapter talks about Jesus Christ! She promised to read it and let me know what she thinks. Please pray that the Lord will open Ruth’s eyes and she will see and understand that Jesus is her Lord and Savior.”
Single Mom Finds Faith and Community through Jesus
Avigail Rantanen reports, “Please pray for a single mom named Yeshi. She is Ethiopian and converted to Judaism to marry a Jewish Ethiopian man. Sadly, he recently left her and their three-month-old baby. I met Yeshi at a children’s park, and we made a good connection. I told her how I came to faith, and she said that before she was converted, she was Christian. However, it’s not clear that she’d ever been born again.
“Yeshi prayed with me the prayer of repentance to receive forgiveness of sins, and I invited her to her first Messianic congregation. The message was about raising children, which was perfect for her. She also met other Ethiopian believers and people who live near her. Please pray that Yeshi will grow in her faith.”
Creative Cookbook Project Opens Door to Gospel Testimony
The Shuk Book is a collaborative effort to celebrate the diversity and cultural heritage of the residents of Jerusalem. We are collecting one another’s recipes and stories and connecting with one another over food.—Shimon Levi
Shimon Levi* reports, “My wife Sara and I were invited to a wonderful Shabbat dinner by Avigail and Yoel, a couple we met through the Jerusalem Shuk** Book project. They are both from ultra-Orthodox families but have recently chosen to live a more secular life. They were interested to hear how I became a believer in Jesus, since I left a very Orthodox Jewish background myself. Avigail confessed that one of her greatest challenges was what to do when one of her children wanted to eat food that Jewish law forbids. Although they are moving toward a more secular life, they want to find a balance in how they see religion and God. Yoel and I have already spoken about getting together for lunch. We’ll be seeing them again for sure. Praise God!”
Gospel Seed Sown at Garden Party
Simon Stout reports, “Recently my wife, Liz, and I joined with one of our unbelieving Jewish friends to help host a fundraising garden party to replace equipment that was stolen from the main garden office at the Natural History Museum. The tools are available for any Jerusalem resident to borrow, so it was good for the community to come together to address the loss.
“About 35 people came to the garden party (31 of whom do not yet know Jesus), and we had lots of gospel conversations. The Modern Orthodox band leader who was playing for the fundraiser remembered me from a previous event and said, ‘Hey, aren’t you that Jesus guy?’ I told him that I was, and at one point he jokingly offered to convert me back to Orthodox Judaism. I can’t say that he was open, but he did listen to me explain that I won’t stop believing in Jesus because I need the sacrifice He provided for my sin. Please pray for the gospel seed that was sown at this garden party!”
The Rabbis Could Not Help Him
Yoel ben David reports, “I received Shlomo’s name and contact through his visits to online gospel videos. His interest in Jesus began in the army when he became friends with a believer—and was impressed by the way that friend spoke not only about God, but to God. After his military service, Shlomo looked for traditional answers to his questions about life and why he wasn’t able to find happiness. The rabbis he spoke to were unable to answer his questions or guide him. He began to watch evangelistic videos on YouTube and was referred to me. My wife, Adel, and I arranged to meet him at a local community center where he was satisfied that no one that he knew would see him. Most of his questions were about prayer and what we do when God doesn’t answer our prayers. Adel and I spoke about our trust in Jesus, and how knowing God means that our prayers are not only for making petitions but are also a time for God to convict and guide us. Shlomo seemed touched by that, and we will continue to meet. Please pray for our continued ministry to him.”
*Shimon and Sara Levi are pseudonyms for one of our Jerusalem staff couples, and though we are not picturing them at this time, we look forward to introducing their names and faces in future.
**Shuk refers to the marketplace
Names of people we minister to are changed to protect privacy.