Bits from the Branches
Arielle Randle reports, “Our Chicago branch has started hosting Shabbat dinners every week with the prayer that the Lord would lead us to unsaved Jewish people who would be open to attending. It was so encouraging and exciting that 25 people, including four unsaved people, attended the very first Shabbat that my husband, David, and I hosted—and three of them were Jewish!
“Adam* is a DePaul student who Jeremiah met at a Bible study and invited to Shabbat. When we went around the room to give everyone an opportunity to share something God has been doing in their lives recently, Adam told us that he is on a spiritual journey. Please pray that his journey would lead him to Jesus, and that Jeremiah (our branch leader) would be able to continue meeting with him.
“Another unbelieving Jewish guy who attended Shabbat was Josh*. Though he is a member of the ultra-Orthodox community in Skokie, IL, he is a self-proclaimed atheist. He has been friends with some local Jewish believers since high school, and so they often invite him to Messianic functions. He told me that he could only come to Shabbat if someone would pick him up at a local coffee shop, where he could change from his very Orthodox clothes. Pray that Josh’s disillusionment with the Orthodox community won’t prevent him from seeking a personal relationship with God!
“Dan* and Stephanie* are a Jewish/Gentile couple who also attended Shabbat. David and I met Dan on a sortie some time ago and he professes faith in Jesus, but the fruit in his life makes it hard to read where he stands. His wife Stephanie is not Jewish and not a believer. Please pray that we would have wisdom in how to minister to this couple.”
Cyril Gordon reports, “Jacob,* a Jewish man in his twenties, called our Los Angeles Branch. He was raised in a Reform Jewish family but lives in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood with his mother. He had been searching for truth in Eastern religions but was especially drawn to the person of Jesus. I shared the gospel with him, and after counting the cost of following Jesus, Jacob understood he needed to embrace the truth. He has been struggling with mental illness most of his life and is dependent on his mother’s help. Apparently she divorced her (Jewish) husband because he gave his life to Jesus. Please pray for Jacob’s spiritual growth, for me as I hope to disciple him, and for his mother’s salvation.
“Praise God! A Jewish man, Mark,* also gave his life to Jesus. I met Mark at one of our public events at our Los Angeles branch. He shared with me how, while he was dying of kidney failure, Jesus came to him in a dream and comforted him. Two weeks later he miraculously found a matching kidney donor and his life was spared. Ever since, he’s been curious as to why Jesus came to comfort him, a Jew. I ministered to Mark for several months, sharing with him from God’s Word and inviting him to our Jewish men’s BBQ fellowship. One day I asked if anything was preventing him from receiving Jesus as his Messiah and Lord. The following day, Mark called all excited and said he was ready. He put me on the speakerphone so that his wife (a Christian) could hear, and I led him in a sinner’s prayer over the phone. Mark and his wife were elated.
“He quickly posted on Facebook that he is now a follower of Jesus, and immediately started sharing his new faith with Jewish relatives who responded. Please pray for Mark’s spiritual growth as I disciple him.
“A Jewish believer named Karen* shared with me how she recently found her Jewish father after a 50-year estrangement. Her parents divorced early in their marriage. Karen was excited about meeting her long-lost father and desperately prayed that she would find someone who could minister to him. When she discovered that that’s what I do as a full-time missionary, she quickly got the OK from her father Murray* to give me his phone number, as she knew that he had an interest in Jesus.
“I called and had a long talk with Murray. He let me know he had been married seven times and had a reputation as a philanderer. God was with us in that phone conversation, and to make a long story short, Murray prayed to repent and receive the Lord Jesus. Needless to say, his daughter was beside herself with joy when she found out. Murray is starting to read the Bible as I begin to disciple him. Please pray for healing in the relationship between Murray and Karen, and that Murray would be used by God for His glory from now on.”
Alexander Adelson reports, “We wanted to do something to bring the gospel message to religious Jews, known in Israel as ‘Haredim.’ We decided to use a flyer titled, ‘The Best Sermon of the Best Rabbi’ which is about Yeshua’s ‘Sermon on the Mount.’ We decided that we would use the font that is named for Rashi (a famous rabbi and interpreter of the Torah who lived in the 11th century). It is based on typeface that was actually used for Rashi’s commentaries, so the font is well known and accepted among the religious community. We distributed 1,900 flyers.
“About 100 people called us to ask about the sermon and the rabbi who gave the sermon. Most of them, hearing that the rabbi is Yeshua (Jesus), spat and swore, or argued that He is not for the Jews. But as always and everywhere, the Lord works—and some religious Jews not only called and heard the message of Yeshua, but also agreed to read certain Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Bible, to think about the passages, and to call back to discuss them in relation to Yeshua. Please pray that they would keep these promises and hear from the Lord as they search the Scriptures.
“While I was on a sortie in Tel Aviv, a man came to tell me he knows a Messianic rabbi here in Israel. According to Dan, while he is not sure if Yeshua is Messiah, he sees that people who believe become different, better. I replied that God changes our hearts and it’s not because we’re better than anyone else. Dan was open to take a broadside and he promised to visit our website. Pray for his salvation!”
Svetlana Kotlomina reports, “I had tried calling a Jewish contact, Alexander, for days, but nobody answered the phone. Since I wasn’t sure I had the right number, I decided to try dialing ‘8’ instead of ‘9.’ The woman who answered the phone told me I had the wrong number. However, she was Jewish and after a short conversation, she understood that I was calling to invite people to our special holiday Shabbat meeting, and the next day, she attended! Pray for Lyubov’s salvation.
“As I was handing out tracts at a subway station, I saw two Jewish women approaching me, and prayed for God’s wisdom. I said, ‘Shalom! It seems to me that you are Jewish. You look like you are from Odessa!’ Yulia replied, ‘How did you guess? I was born in Moscow, but my parents are originally from Odessa.’ That was the beginning of a good conversation with a Jewish woman who turned out to be open to talking more about Yeshua. She gave me her contact info, then she said to her Jewish friend Lyudmila, ‘Now you also give your information!’ There was so much joy in this fellowship, it was as if we’d known each other for many years. Please pray for these two women to be saved.”
*not their real names