Working with Jews for Jesus has been more than I expected. Before I came on staff last spring, I thought missionary work just meant telling people about Jesus every day, which is what I am learning to do. What I did not anticipate was how God would use my working at Jews for Jesus to change me. He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6), certainly applies to my life as I continue to work on staff.
God began his refining process in me when I first became a believer. Many of the obvious sins in my life were removed. I stopped going to clubs and started to attend church. Then, as I began to spend more time with other believers, my circle of friends changed. I switched jobs, too, because the old work environment was hurting my walk with the Lord. Those aspects of my life were easy to change, because they only required altering my lifestyle. Next came the inner transformations.
My priorities changed as I started to think about serving God. I turned to Jews for Jesus for direction because it was through them that I had become a Christian. Through working with them as a volunteer, I learned more about the ministry and contemplated working there full time. After a few months, doors began to open. Many applications and interviews later, I joined our Los Angeles staff.
Once on staff, I quickly realized that working for Jews for Jesus was not another nine-to-five job. The first thing I learned was how the Jews for Jesus staff works as a team. For each branch to function smoothly, everyone must meet their obligations and put the ministry first. One person’s mistake can cause everyone hardship. In my secular job I had cared mainly about myself, and whatever I did had never drastically affected others. I saw that in order for me to function well at Jews for Jesus, my selfish attitude would have to change.
Many of my personal faults that had been tolerated could no longer be ignored. God gave me the ability to overcome problems I had had for years. One of the more serious problems was my habit of always being late. My first day on Jews for Jesus staff I arrived early, and ever since then, I have managed to keep ahead of the clock.
Another aspect of the work I had to get used to was learning to do what was right regardless of the consequences. In my secular job, no one had seemed terribly concerned with doing the right thing. What had mattered was getting the job done to maximize profit, pleasing my boss and looking good. In contrast, at Jews for Jesus honesty and integrity counted for everything. I found myself unable to ignore mistakes that once I would have covered up. I realized that what really mattered was “doing right” in God’s eyes.
In my secular job I had always aimed to please people. At Jews for Jesus we seek to please God and look to him for affirmation. This is difficult to get used to, but I know that “as the refining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold, so is a man to his praise” (Proverbs 27:21).
God is refining me. That small inner voice telling me to do what is right and pleasing to God is getting a little louder, but I still have a long way to go. I know that I must look to him if I am to succeed at being a missionary.
God has begun to change me. At limes the process is very painful. Simply getting by used to be easier, but the results were not very promising. Now what God wants is ultimately what I want. If I let God work, I know the changes will come. I face the challenges each day, and there are many victories. But then, just when I think I have removed the last impurity, God changes the size of the “sieve,” and the purifying process starts all over again.
Editor’s Note: Ellen Kamentsky comes from the East Coast. She received Yeshua as her Messiah about one year ago early in our 1986 Summer Witnessing Campaign. Immediately she joined our campaigners on the streets of New York as a volunteer helper, and the Lord blessed her efforts by using her to bring several others to a saving knowledge of Yeshua. In mid-March of 1987, Ellen joined our full-time Jews for Jesus missionary staff.