Bits from the Branches
Thank you for praying!
Bimini Cohen reports from Israel: “Even though Miri* prayed with me to receive the Lord last year, she seemed to be spiritually stagnant. I have requested prayer for her on more than one occasion. It seemed that perhaps her unbelieving boyfriend (they’d been together for years before she came to faith) might be hindering her walk with the Lord. He is from a religious family and has mocked her faith at times.
“Miri recently let me know that she broke up with her boyfriend because she just couldn’t imagine spending the rest of her life with him, especially with their differing views on such important matters. She has complete peace and strength from God about her firm decision. She is now thinking about attending a Messianic congregation because she senses a new freedom to be who she is and to openly practice her faith.
“Thanks to those who have prayed for Miri, and thank you to those who are willing to pray that the Lord might direct her young life and help her to become all that God is calling her to be.”
*Not her real name.
Bitterness turned sweet
Kata Tar reports from Budapest: “‘Will you buy a jar of honey from me?’ a short lady in her 50s asked me as I was handing out broadsides at Móricz Zsigmond Square. ‘I can’t right now, but I am finishing soon and then I am happy to buy your honey,’ I replied. Zsuzsa came back around the time I was finishing. Looking at my T-shirt, she shared that her grandmother worked for a Jewish chemist and they fell in love. Then she told me that she believes in Jesus.
“By now I have learned that believing in Jesus means all kinds of things depending on who is speaking. Some believe that He is Buddha’s fifth incarnation, others believe that He is some Big Chief up there, still others seem to think that He brings Christmas presents. So I asked her, ‘So, what will happen to you when you finish your race on this earth?’ She wasn’t sure about that. But when I explained the gospel to her, she was open to pray to receive Jesus as her personal Savior. She has had a hard life, suffering lots of abuse and as a result three of her fingers are numb and she can’t really work with them. However, her heart wasn’t numb, but quick to receive the truth. The bitterness of her life turned sweet as she received forgiveness and eternal life!”
Three Jewish Bubbies* have dinner and a discussion over Survivor Stories
From Jeremiah Zaretsky in San Fancisco: “Recently I was on a sortie (tract-passing expedition) with my colleague Shannon Fischer, who works at our headquarters. She mentioned her desire to reach the Jewish neighbors in her apartment complex with the gospel. We thought and prayed about what we could do, and weeks later, my wife Hannah and I came to a dinner hosted by Shannon. Three of her Jewish friends as well as a Christian were also invited, knowing that we would be there, and that we would watch the Survivor Stories DVD and have a discussion afterwards. (Survivor Stories is a compilation of testimonies of Jewish Holocaust survivors who found hope in Jesus.)
The dinner discussion was quite entertaining (you can imagine the lively conversations that would arise from three Jewish grandmas sitting together). There was a lot of laughter. We had just started eating when Ava turned to my wife and asked the first of what would be many pointed questions that evening, “So Hannah, honey, you’re a Jew for Jesus? Tell me why.” Could we have asked for a better opening? Great conversation ensued.
Dinner ended and we transitioned to the living room. As an introduction to Survivor Stories I shared about my family background. I’m the grandson of a Holocaust survivor. I told about my mom’s miraculous vision of a man who was shining with brilliant light and how she knew, even as a child, that the man was Jesus. Then we watched the first two testimonies of Survivor Stories. We discussed what we had seen, and after much back and forth I asked two questions: “How should we respond to human suffering?” and “What hope is there for us today?” The women offered some thoughts, but none of them very concrete.
“For me” I shared, “my hope lies in the fact that I serve a God who promised to be there with us – even when we walk through the flood, even when we walk through the fires, the trials (or literal fires). My hope lies in the fact that God so loves us, He willingly gave up his life for us, so that we could live and not die. God wants to redeem you (as I looked into the eyes of each of those three Jewish souls staring back at me), and He wants to give you hope, too.”
I was done talking. I handed each lady a few brochures to take home so that they could think on the subject more if they wanted to. Then my wife and I picked up our guitars and shared a song that she had written called Forget Me Not. I could tell that the music touched a part of these ladies that my words never could have.
After a few hugs and kisses … ok, after many hugs and kisses from these sweet Jewish grandmothers, we parted. What an amazing night of ministry! It all started with the faithful witness of a Christian who loves her Jewish neighbors; and wasn’t afraid to ask for help reaching out to them. As I like to say to anyone who wants to witness to a Jewish friend, “you can do it; we can help.”
*Yiddish for grandmothers
Can I ask you something?
Ziggy Rogoff reports from London: “Once again, Simon L. and I ventured into Stamford Hill approaching Hassidic men with a cheery, ‘Shabbat Shalom’ and then adding, ‘Can I ask you something? Has anyone ever taken the time to explain to you who Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) is?’
“One man told me he was under the authority of his rabbi and he couldn’t consider another rabbi. I replied that my rabbi (Yeshua) is the greatest rabbi of them all, as he died and rose to life, and that in his death he took upon himself all the sin of the world – chet, peshat, avera (the three words for sin in the Bible). ‘He is our kappora (our atonement)’ I concluded. Amazingly he said, ‘Give me your phone number!’ Please pray he gets in touch.”
If you meet someone who doesn’t want to listen to the gospel, don’t get upset. There are questions inside of that person that you know answers to. Just pray. And be persistent!”