Our chaplains help to provide spiritual food, but when it comes to meal times, we have Chef Wayne Erickson to keep those hunger pangs at bay.
This will be Wayne’s eleventh summer* to cook for campaigners in New York City. He sold his catering business in June of 1996. “Soon after,” he says, “a friend invited me to lunch with[Jews for Jesus staff member] Rich Robinson. Rich asked me what I was doing in July and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Wayne loves street evangelism and looks forward to every July 4th in New York, when he joins the campaigners on the streets. He says,“I wish I could do more, but I know that my primary service is to prepare meals for everyone. And my biggest pleasure is using my skills as a chef for the Lord. As long as He gives me the energy, I’ll keep going. I also love getting to know the missionaries. I think I’ve fed practically everyone in the Jews for Jesus ministry at onetime or another.”
Wayne lives on a 10,000-acre ranch in Wyoming where he surrounds himself
with chickens, cats and a few ducks. His brother-in-law owns the ranch
next to his, where he raises 400 head of cattle.
*Wayne has also served as chef on seven of our Behold Your God campaigns.
A STEWARD FOR ALL SEASONS
What brought Reggie Douglas from his home in Baton Rouge to manage the behind-the-scenes details of Jews for Jesus witnessing campaigns in cities all over the U.S.?
It all started at Community Bible Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where Reggie served as chairman of the missions board. “We were dealing with missionaries all around the world,” he says, “and I remember looking at a map and seeing a void. We had no missionaries to Israel. I wondered, ‘Who is bringing the gospel to Israel, and who is bringing the gospel to the Jewish people?’ That’s where it began.” Reggie began to look for organizations whose purpose was to reach Jewish people with the gospel. He found Jews for Jesus, and joined us in San Francisco as a steward for our first in a series of Behold Your God campaigns. He did so well that he found himself in high demand as chief steward, and from the summer of 2001 through the summer of 2006, he served on thirteen Behold Your God campaigns throughout the U.S. He’s also served as chief steward for several regular New York Summer Witnessing Campaigns, and this fall he will serve on his second Behold Your God Israel campaign. This summer marks Reggie’s 20th campaign.
Like Wayne, Reggie will join the campaigners on sorties any time he gets a chance, but with his many other responsibilities, that’s rare. He says, “Even when I’m not involved in sorties, I’m wearing a campaign T-shirt. People ask questions when they see those shirts. I’ve had many good conversations on my way to the grocery store.” This year, Reggie has written one of the campaign tracts. It’s titled “Before and After” and no doubt he will have a good supply of them as he runs errands all around Manhattan. What keeps Reggie coming back, campaign after campaign? He answers that question without hesitation: “My desire to see the Jewish people come to know their Messiah.”
Sara Friedman is leading this year’s New York City Witnessing Campaign, with Susan Perlman as her “second.” Sara is a second-generation Jewish believer in Jesus. She grew up participating in various Jews for Jesus family programs, including Camp Gilgal. She now serves with Jews for Jesus in Los Angeles with her husband Matt, who she met through our ministry.
This is Sara’s fifth New York City Summer Witnessing Campaign. Last year, she was the second” for campaign leader Shaun Buchhalter. Sara’s passion is to see community and a strong sense of spiritual integration throughout the campaign so that people can serve joyfully—however long and hard the hours—out of the fullness of their own relationship with God.
In the past we have housed campaigners in a hotel, but last year everyone stayed in our mid-town building. That cut down our expenses but it also added significantly to the community experience and we’ll be doing it again this year. Sara says, “We’re appointing a few mature believers as spiritual leaders. During off times, they will be helping to guide discussions in a spiritual direction.
“We’re working to reach a new generation of Jewish people that might not connect with us through the usual campaign routine,” Sara says. She’s talking about people her age or even a bit younger; people who don’t normally commute to work at seven a.m.—and you won’t find them on Wall Street, either. “So,” she continues, “We have some teams staying out later, going to places where we’re more likely to meet and get into conversations with younger people.” But she stresses that they are also continuing to greet commuters in the subways during morning and evening rush hours, handing out broadsides throughout the days and nights in the usual high traffic areas to people of all ages and backgrounds.
The position of “second” is sometimes filled by an up-and-coming leader, as Sara was last year, or by a veteran campaigner, like Susan Perlman who can be a great help and support to a newer leader.
Susan is one of the core group of Jews for Jesus who played a major role in the founding of the organization. Having first heard the gospel on the streets of New York City, it is fitting that she served on our very first New York City Summer Witnessing Campaign in 1973. Since then she has been on many more New York campaigns, having led three of them, and serving as chaplain on another. She also served as David Brickner’s “second” on our Behold Your God New York finale in 2006, as well as being part of the kick-off of Behold Your God Israel in Tel Aviv in 2008.
Susan not only loves to hand out broadsides and engage with interested seekers on the streets, but as our communications director she is excited to see creativity in art, literature, drama and music incorporated as an integral part of our street evangelism. She has been looking forward to serving as Sara Friedman’s “second.” Says Susan, “I hope to be a mentor/coach and encourager to Sara, who is one of our very capable younger leaders.” Susan will also be available to add her expertise in situational strategy, broadside writing, drama coaching, media interviews and whatever else is needed from this die-hard Jewish New Yorker who wants to see her people won to the Lord.
While not campaigning, Susan is the first assistant to our executive director, as well as director of our publications and media departments, working out of our San Francisco Headquarters.