Expanding Our Horizons
I’ve believed in Yeshua for twenty years. In that time, I’ve seen the Jews for Jesus Los Angeles office grow from Baruch Goldstein’s garage in Santa Monica (1975) to a two-story Westwood office building across the street from U.C.L.A. (1995). If you detect a connection between my two decades as a believer and the development of the L.A. branch over 20 years, you’re absolutely right. The Lord used the Los Angeles branch to bring first my brother, then me, to faith in Jesus. Our parents also came to faith with help from our New York branch. Now the whole mishpochah (family) lives in California.
I’ve been on staff with Jews for Jesus for eight years—and what more fitting place could I serve than in Los Angeles, where my brother first heard the gospel? It’s been a fulfilling time, but lately I’ve been ready for a new challenge.
When Tuvya Zaretsky, our southern California Director came to Los Angeles in 1991, part of his vision was to extend our outreach into Orange County. Last spring, I learned that I would be the one to establish our ministry there. And in September my wife, Sandy, and our three children (Saul, Rose and Joshua) made the big move with me.
It’s been exciting to hand out broadsides (gospel tracts) in new locations—including campuses that the rest of our staff have never even heard of, let alone evangelized! I have also been greatly encouraged by the many Christians who live in the area. Best of all, I’ve been able to rekindle relationships with some to whom I’d only ministered periodically in the past, as well as meet new people who need to know Jesus.
For example, Marlene is a sixty-five-year-old Jewish woman who was from an Orthodox Jewish home in Canada. Over the years she’s heard the gospel from a number of Christians and has been considering Christ for quite some time. Last summer, one of Marlene’s Christian friends attended a Jews for Jesus presentation at her local church. She gave us Marlene’s name, address and phone number, asking that we contact her.
I telephoned Marlene several times, but this senior works three jobs, and her on-the-go schedule made it difficult to meet in person. When we finally managed to meet, I could see that Marlene’s heart was really inclined toward Jesus. I asked if there was any reason why she should not ask Him into her life. She replied that she wanted to but was afraid of betraying her Jewish roots.
As I pointed to the messianic prophecies in her own Bible, Marlene realized that Jesus is indeed the Jewish Messiah. Once she recognized the Jewishness of the gospel, she allowed her heart to agree with what she already knew in her head. Marlene is the firstfruits” of our ministry in Orange County. She is as busy as ever, and it’s still difficult to schedule visits with her, but she loves the Lord. Please pray that she will make plenty of time for Him and grow in her faith.
Rob Wertheim is a senior missionary serving with the San Francisco branch of Jews for Jesus. He has been on staff since 1988 and has participated in and led several outreaches during that time. Rob’s father and mother are Holocaust survivors, originally from Germany and are also believers in Jesus. His wife, Sandy, is a Jewish believer as well. However, she is the only one in her family that knows the Lord. Rob and Sandy have three grown children, Saul, Rose and Josh.