Bits from the Branches
Viktor Moiseyenko reports, “I have been asking God to give me more Russian-speaking Jewish people to minister to. Recently, I visited a woman named Fruma. After we finished our discussion, I ‘happened’ to run into a lady who had also come to visit Fruma. I introduced myself and told her the reason for my visit. It turned out that she was from Kiev (like myself), had lived within two blocks of where I lived and her father taught at the same University where I taught for 29 years before immigrating to the United States. God has a way of putting pleasant little surprises along our way. We exchanged phone numbers and I will visit her family in San Jose. Her name is Irina. Please pray for my ministry to this family.
“Then, while distributing broadsides (i.e., gospel tracts) at De Anza College in a suburb of San Jose, I noticed a man observing me from a distance. Finally he came over and asked, “Are you working on behalf of Jews for Jesus?” I could tell that he was Russian. I replied that his English was impeccable, but suggested that we speak in Russian. His name is David.
“It turned out that he worked in the same area where I worked back in the former USSR. We had attended the same conferences and even met each other back in the former USSR! Here we were, more than 30 years and 10,000 miles from where we had met. I offered to answer all of his questions and have an indepth conversation at a time convenient for him.
“Later we met and continued our conversation. David told me the story of his immigration. We then moved on to spiritual matters.
David said that it had been many years since he’d read the Bible, but when he did read it back in the Baltic, he had a lot of questions. We started to read and discuss the Gospel of John. I gave him the New Testament in Russian. We set up a time for the next visit. Please pray that David will be encouraged to continue the study of the Holy Scripture and that God will open his eyes to Jesus.”
Greg Savitt reports, “I received a phone call from a rabbi who frankly told me that he wanted to educate his people on why Jews should not believe in Jesus. He felt a good way to do this would be to have an open forum at a synagogue, where he would explain why Jews cannot believe in Jesus and I would explain why I think that Jews can and should believe in Jesus.
“At first, I thought it was a crank call. But upon further discussion, the rabbi seemed to be genuine and fair. After consulting with Jews for Jesus staff more experienced than I, I decided to accept his invitation.
“It would be an understatement to say that I was nervous. God led me to a passage that gave me great comfort. “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the story of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:1-4). After reading this I knew that the Holy Spirit would show up in a powerful way.
“This event was publicized and drew many believers in Jesus; still, the rabbi estimated that 150 or so who attended were not Christians.
“The moderator gave me permission to have Jews for Jesus literature on the table in the sanctuary. We had to restock it because so many people took brochures such as “Jewish and Christian, Can it Be?”
“I used my 20 minutes to make a clear gospel presentation, including bits of my own story. The rabbi could have used his 20 minutes to challenge everything I said, but instead he lectured on how Jesus was a good Jew, and would not have liked the message that Paul brought. (It is a common Jewish belief that Paul, not Jesus, is responsible for the Christian religion.)
“During the question and answer time, a woman asked me to read from Isaiah 53 and comment on it. Later, she whispered in my ear, ‘I am on your side; I believe in Jesus, but don’t tell the rabbi.’ I am still amazed by this opportunity. God certainly is full of surprises!”