What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “missions trip?”
Many think of fund-raisers for church youth who go to poverty-stricken areas to build schools, churches or homes. Others go overseas to teach students English, working to build relationships that will lead to opportunities to witness. These cross-cultural experiences are enriching for those who experience them, and there can be no doubt that God is pleased with a humble attitude that takes Christians out of their comfort zone to help others in very tangible ways.
But when we at Jews for Jesus talk about short-term missions, we are talking about programs that are directly evangelistic in nature. The training, the expectations and the organization of the teams’ time are all aimed to draw attention to Jesus, and spark conversations about Him. That is not to devalue other short-term projects. But we hope you will join us in praying for the next generation of missions-minded Christians to understand the importance of direct evangelism.
Frankly, building a witness to gospel-resistant people does not often give the kind of immediate and visible results as putting up a much-needed building in a remote village. But God has called us to reach out to our Jewish people, and it’s always an adventure! Here are a couple of our summer short-term missions that you can be praying for this month.
Summer Witnessing Campaign in New York City
Last year, Dan Tasman had the following to say about an encounter on Campaign:
“Four of us were praying in a public park before we started our evangelism, when two men my age approached us: Isaiah and Asher (not their real names). They described themselves as Modern Orthodox. Isaiah wanted to stop and ask questions, while Asher was waiting politely. Isaiah wanted to know what we believe and if we were really Jewish. I explained that our message was about knowing the Jewish Messiah. I told him that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies in the Tanakh and that without Messiah Jesus or the Temple, there is no way to atone for our sins! I spoke to him about three passages: Isaiah 53, Daniel 9 and Jeremiah 31:31-34.
“Isaiah kept saying, ‘I have to go, but I have just one more question.’ After fifteen minutes, they left … with Messianic prophecies I had jotted down for them to look up on their own. I also wrote down their names because they said that we could continue the conversation via Facebook, which we have done. Sharing the gospel of Jesus is much easier when you leave it all in God’s hands after you plant the seed!
“Two weeks later I was in Union Square Park, exhausted, having been out in the sun for two and a half hours. Just as I was getting ready to leave, I met Vlad. When I asked who he thought Jesus was, his response was cynical. He told me that he was an atheist and that he wasn’t Jewish. Still, I invited him to our summer lecture series which we held weekly during our month-long outreach. He took the invitation and said he would think about it.
“Nearly two weeks later, I was preparing to give a public lecture on ‘The Risen Messiah’ as part of that series. I saw a familiar face so I approached and said, ‘Vlad, how are you!’ It startled him; he wasn’t sure I would be there. We chatted for a couple minutes, then I had to start the lecture.
“After the lecture I answered some questions, and then our guests mingled with our outreach team. Vlad approached me in tears and apologized for lying to me, because he was actually Jewish. He has been meeting with one of our NYC missionaries since then.
“If there is one thing I have learned about evangelism, it’s that God’s timing is perfect. Please pray that I might run into some of the people I witnessed to last year, as I am participating once again on this year’s SWC in New York City.”
In recent years, hundreds of thousands of Israeli soldiers have traded in their uniforms for a backpack and a “Lonely Planet” guidebook in pursuit of the ultimate travel experience. India, Nepal, Peru, New Zealand and Thailand are a sampling of the destinations that thousands of Israelis visit annually. In these countries, Israelis form a unique subculture. Many are open to the gospel, and a significant number of them have come to know Yeshua as Messiah while traveling outside the land of Israel.
Massah is a ten-week program that enables young Jewish believers in Jesus to meet and share the gospel with Israeli trekkers. The first seven weeks take place in Israel where the team reaches out to Israelis after being trained in apologetics, Messianic prophecy, conversation techniques, Israeli culture, and how to lead someone to Yeshua (Jesus).
During the final three weeks of Massah, we journey to popular “trekker” destinations to meet Israelis where they are. We see God at work as we offer a unique spiritual perspective that challenges our Jewish brothers and sisters to consider Yeshua.
Last July, on the Massah Blog, Isaac Brickner wrote:
“We are now several days into the India portion of Massah, and there is a lot to be thankful for! My team of seven people has shared the gospel with many Israelis in just a few days. We are continually amazed at the divine appointments that God has for us each day. Please pray that we would have continued interactions with those we have met so far, and that they would be open to speaking about the gospel.
“There is a group of six or seven Israelis staying in the rooms below us at our guest house, and we had a fun time playing music with them last night, and sharing with them about our faith in Yeshua. We had the opportunity to pray for one of them, named Imbal, who is feeling sick. Please pray for her healing and that God would get the glory for it!
“Thank you so much for being here with us in your prayers! As one of our team members shared the other day, Paul thanks the Philippians for ‘sharing his trouble’ even though they are not physically with him (Philippians 4:14). We are very conscious of and uplifted by your prayers, and we are extremely grateful. Thank you again!
“In our Messiah, Isaac”
One of Isaac’s teammates, Rebekah, wrote:
“On Sunday we left Tel Aviv and flew to Germany and then on to India. We were in Delhi for about twelve hours before splitting up into our teams and heading to three different locations in the north. Our bus ride … was not too bad and was through the night so we were able to sleep, at least in short bursts.
“Our health seems to be good, but we are all road-weary and will be happy to sleep tonight. Please be praying for our team: Isaac, Shaina, Molly, Jeremiah, Hannah, and Bucci—that we would be faithful to boldly share the hope that is in us and to introduce people to Jesus. It is pretty amazing to be in India and even more amazing that we come with words not about ourselves, but about who we are in Jesus.
“It’s amazing to be able to sit in an Internet cafe in India and ask for prayer from our believing community all over the world. I think it’s really allowing me to understand the greater body of Messiah in a new way, so thank you so much for your part in that! Shalom for now from the north!”
For an update on this year’s NYC SWC look out for this month’s RealTime (if you are subscribed, you will receive it on July 16 via email, otherwise, check for this month’s edition online on July 17 here.
If you’d like to hear from this year’s Massah participants, go to massahoutreach.org.