Thanks to those of you who prayed for all our missionaries who were out presenting Christ in the Passover” for our spring tours in April. We thought you would be encouraged to hear a few of the good things that happened as a result.
Good Friday was Good Indeed!
David Brickner was in Seattle, Washington on Good Friday. As is the tradition in some churches, at the close of the service the lights were turned off and people filed out of the sanctuary in silence. David thought he would have to forego greeting people, but two ladies approached him and said in hushed tones, “We brought a Jewish friend with us and she has questions.” As David sat with Carrie in that darkened sanctuary she began to share her fears. Faith in Jesus for her meant the possibility of betraying her beloved grandparents who are no longer living. Plus, how could she ever tell her parents if she believed that Jesus was the Messiah? David replied that while her concerns were genuine and needed to be addressed, she had to first of all do what God was showing her.
David points out, “This is an important truth that people need to remember as they witness, especially to Jewish friends. Trying to help someone to overcome their fear of rejection by family and friends before they trust Christ is in a sense ‘putting the cart before the horse.’ Following Jesus means responding to the truth regardless of what the consequences might be. But once you’ve said “yes” to Jesus, the power of God’s Holy Spirit comes in and begins to move your heart and give you new understanding about all these issues.”
Carrie understood, and prayed with David right there in that darkened sanctuary to receive Jesus as her Savior. Afterwards, a couple who had been sitting in the pew behind them introduced themselves. The husband was a Jewish believer and a member of that church, as were others in the church who were ready to take Carrie under their wings. When the two friends who brought Carrie heard that she had prayed to receive the Lord, they could barely contain their excitement. What a joy for each one involved to have a part in Carrie’s salvation!
Nici Smith was in St. Louis on Good Friday. There she visited a Jewish lady named Beatrice, who had been referred to us by a Christian friend. Beatrice is 88 years old and had heard the gospel many times. When Nici arrived one of the first things Beatrice asked was, “How do I know I will go to heaven?” Nici showed her some passages from the book of Romans and when they got to Romans 10:9 (“…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”) Beatrice asked, “So how does one do that?” The prayers and witness of all Beatrice’s friends had borne fruit! Nici prayed the sinner’s prayer with her and says, “It was really memorable. Tears were rolling down her cheeks. It was a perfect ending to my tour.”
Ruth Rosen was in Duncan, South Carolina on Good Friday. The pastor seemed a bit discouraged, as one of the staff who had actually arranged the meeting had moved on to another church. Also, the music minister was away with the seniors on a retreat. Ruth tried to help out by leading a couple of hymns at the beginning of the service (not her forte, she says) and silently prayed that the people would be blessed and that she would be blessed on this last night of her tour. As promised, she included a clear gospel presentation and suggested that no one had to leave that night without the joy of knowing they were right with God through Jesus. The pastor then closed with an actual invitation, and a Jewish woman named Laurie responded. Laurie’s sister-in-law had been praying and witnessing to her and felt that hearing the gospel in a Jewish context might be just the thing. Ruth and Laurie had a good talk after the service and many of the church folks extended themselves to our new sister in the Lord. The pastor was thrilled, and Ruth said the same thing as Nici, “This was the perfect ending to my tour!”
We hope you notice a common thread in these three stories. Much of the fruit that we Jews for Jesus have the opportunity to harvest are people whose friends and family have witnessed to and prayed for their salvation. Often, we are brought in only to help “close the deal.” We hope this encourages you to witness and pray for your Jewish friends, and to allow us to join you in that process.
More Encouraging News from Passover Tours…
At least three of our staff had opportunities to witness to family members as they presented “Christ in the Passover.”
Larry Dubin was in Colorado and says, “My dad saw the presentation five times (he sat in the front row). During a few of the drives, we had wonderful conversations about these sacred issues. He stated that he never heard the story as I told it.”
Karol Joseph led a Passover seder (meal and all) at one of our supporting churches in Naples, Florida. She was amazed that her parents, who live two hours away, called and asked if it was okay for them to come! Karol says, “I don’t think my dad has ever voluntarily stepped into a church.” The pastor arranged for Karol’s family to stay at a nearby hotel, a gesture of hospitality that they greatly appreciated.
When Karol finished the seder, the pastor wouldn’t let her close until she also shared her story…which she did with her parents a mere five feet away! Unfortunately, they seemed more impressed with their daughter’s speaking abilities than with the message, but it did provide more of an opportunity to discuss spiritual matters with her parents than Karol had ever had before. Karol says, “Please keep praying that the miracle of them being willing to hear me will be followed by the greater miracle of them coming to faith!”
Susan Perlman led the Passover banquet at our Los Angeles branch and invited her family as well (her mom, two sisters, brothers-in-law and nephew). What an answer to prayer that they all came! Many of Susan’s friends and co-workers have prayed for her family for years, and all the more so recently as one of her sisters is quite ill with cancer.
Susan closed her presentation with a very clear gospel message and an invitation for any who wanted to receive Jesus to respond. Later, the sister who has been struggling with cancer told Susan that she found the presentation very interesting. Susan asked what in particular she found interesting and her sister replied, “Just the way you explained the whole thing, and particularly the things you said at the end.” When Susan asked if her sister was interested in that for her own life, she replied that she didn’t know, she had to think about it. This is the first time in 30 years Susan’s sister has expressed any interest in the gospel, and it is such an answer to prayer! Please pray that the Lord will continue working in her heart, as well as the rest of Susan’s family.
(Believing volunteers and friends of the ministry also made connections with other family members—also an answer to prayer!)