Bits from the Branches
Tuvya Zaretsky reports, “I saw a powerful, poignant Israeli film called The Gatekeepers (Shomerei Ha’saf). It is an eye-opening and extremely thought-provoking look at efforts by the Shin Bet organization to keep peace and provide security in Israel. You can read an excellent review by Kenneth Turan.
“After the film, a couple overheard me talking about it with my family in the theater lobby. They welcomed the chance to discuss it along with us. It turns out they live near us in west Los Angeles. Bill* is a Gentile who is married to Rachel*, a Jewish woman. They belong to a synagogue and have children and grandchildren living in Israel. They identified with us when I told them that Ellen and I will be flying to Israel after the first of the year. Then, Rachel asked me what kind of work I do.
“I explained that in Hebrew our non-profit is Israel is called ‘Yehudim L’m’an Yeshua.’ Rachel paused for a moment, then asked, ‘Isn’t that “Jews for Jesus”?’ Then the conversation got really interesting! She wanted to know what drew Ellen and me to faith in Jesus. I also added that my work in Los Angeles specializes in the challenges experienced by Jewish-Gentile couples. Now she was hooked! We had a fantastic discussion, with Rachel finally letting us go, only after she gave me her business card so we could continue our discussion about Jesus!”
Peter Nasser reports, “In the November newsletter we told you about Meira,* who is from a strict Orthodox Jewish community. She ordered some books about Yeshua (Jesus) through our website but her parents confiscated them—all except for one book. She read that book and became convinced that Jesus is the true Messiah of Israel. Her parents threatened to kick her out of the house and anti-missionaries told her lies about what Jews for Jesus would do to her. We asked you to pray that Meira would trust the Lord and obey His voice despite these hardships.
“Thank you for praying! Meira’s situation at home grew worse and she realized that if she wanted to grow in her faith she would have to move elsewhere, which she has done. She got a job and was baptized in December. My wife Yarden and I have an ongoing ministry to Meira. She still needs much prayer to trust the Lord and grow in Him, and her family needs much prayer for salvation.”
Rahel Landrum reports: “Toby,* a young Jewish man that my husband Mark and I have been in touch with for awhile, recently prayed with us to receive the Lord. He’s very creative; he paints. His previous paintings were dark and disturbing but since coming to faith, he’s lit up, become full of joy, and his paintings reflect that. Mark is discipling him and they were just studying Romans 8:28 about God working all things together for good for those who love Him. On that very day Toby sold one of his paintings at a good price for the first time. His mother, an Israeli believer in Jesus, is thrilled that her son, (who we’ve been praying for together for years), has come to a saving knowledge of the Lord. Toby was recently baptized and continues to meet with Mark as he grows in the faith.
“I went to visit Joan* in the hospital; as she had seemed open to the gospel previously, I was disappointed that she seemed closed to Jesus this time. But at the end of the visit, her brother, a believer, said to me, ‘Let me introduce you to Gertrude, my friend down the hall. She’s Jewish and was born in Romania, like you.’ I met Gertrude and Carl, her husband, and we had many things in common. We all made aliyah (emigrated to Israel) from Romania; we all lived in Haifa, and we all now live in Sydney. Carl may even have been in the same labor camp during the Holocaust as my father. We exchanged information and they seem willing to meet again. As I was leaving, they introduced me to their son, Allen, and I had the opportunity to talk with him about Jesus, too. Praise the Lord for these divine appointments!” Editor: If you are interested in Jews for Jesus ministry in Sydney, and/or how we do outreach at New Age festivals, you might like Sydney Mind Body Spirit Outreach.
*not their real names