Early last fall I had an appointment with a student volunteer to distribute broadsides on the University of Chicago campus. Due to extra heavy traffic, I was running late and decided not to take the time to park the van. Instead I drove into the center of the campus to wait for the volunteer. Our Jews for Jesus vans are moving billboards with JEWS FOR JESUS” emblazoned on all sides in letters almost a foot high. Needless to say, the van’s presence aroused the curiosity of several students.
As I waited for my friend, a student approached and asked, “Don’t you think you are being unnecessarily offensive?” I wasn’t sure at that point if he was sympathetic or hostile to our cause. I responded in typical Jewish fashion by answering his question with another question: “Do you mind if I ask who is asking, and why?” His name was Art. To my surprise, he was a Jewish believer, enrolled in the University’s graduate school. I answered Art’s question, and we exchanged phone numbers. A friendship had begun.
Over the next several months, Art and I got to know one another. He had many questions about Jews for Jesus. After a while, convinced that we were fairly normal, he became interested in joining me on the campus to hand out broadsides.
Art was good at broadsiding. Not only that, he enjoyed it, especially the opportunities to talk about his faith in the Messiah Jesus. Soon it was Art who was calling me to find out when I was coming to the campus again. Then he called to ask if it was O.K. for him and one of the student volunteers to broadside without me. Next he wanted to know if it would “burn out” campus interest if he went broadsiding three times a week. Then his phone calls turned into pleas for more literature because he kept running out of it.
Someone like Art is a missionary’s dream come true! During the school year he continued to demonstrate faithfulness and commitment. Due to financial reasons, Art decided not to take classes for one quarter, but since he was still enrolled in the grad school, he remained active in the campus ministry. He even started a Bible study with another Jewish believer, hoping to attract some unbelieving Jewish friends.
In the course of our working together, I told Art about our Jewish Evangelism techniques training and about our Summer Witnessing Campaign. Over a period of time, Art found his interest in these programs growing and asked for more information. When he heard Moishe Rosen was going to be in town, he wanted to meet with Moishe personally.
That meeting took place, and Art applied to participate in our Jews for Jesus Summer Witnessing Campaign. He also took an application for full-time vocational work which he intends to fill out after completing the Summer Campaign.
I look back to how I first met Art and think it certainly is a blessing to find oneself being used by the Lord to direct someone’s way. Perhaps there’s an “Art” in your life. You never know. Perhaps you, too, will be used soon in the life of some Jewish believer to move that person in a direction that God intends for him or her.