Bits from the Branches
Stewart Weinisch reports, “On any normal day, I’m not surprised if one or more people I’m scheduled to visit cancels at the last minute or simply does not show up. What a great day it was when I was scheduled to visit with four people . . . and actually visited with all four! I met with two people by phone and two in person. Three of the four were Jewish people I had the privilege to lead to Messiah in the last year. What also struck me was the diversity of these four: the oldest was 84 years old and the youngest was 21. I also met with a former atheist, as well as a man from a Hasidic background. It is a great thrill for me to see God at work in young and old, as well as in religious and non-religious.”
Susan Mendelson reports from Long Island, “Last year I approached my home church with a willingness to help train our members to do evangelism. As a result, I’m now part of the leadership team that is hosting “Christianity Explored,” a seven-week course that is directed toward the unsaved. Among those attending are three Jewish women. One of them, Jamie, approached me after the second session, exploding with questions. I had the wonderful privilege of leading her in a prayer to receive the Lord! From this same course, I’ve also had a visit with Mindy. Mindy has a strong Jewish identity and is looking at who Jesus is and what it might mean for her to believe. Her friend Mike, who is a believer, brought her to the course. Please pray for Mindy. I thank God for the way that involvement with my church and my calling with Jews for Jesus are working together.”
Kata Tar reports, “2 Corinthians 5:20 is a key verse for evangelism: ‘Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.’
“Recently, I found myself translating as an ad hoc interpreter at a Jewish missions conference. One leader was happy to report, ‘We made friends with the Jewish community in our area. Now they trust us and phone us if we don’t appear at their events.’ Then a pastor announced, ‘We had the privilege to take part in the seder meal at the Orthodox old folks home.’ I waited to hear about a gospel conversation that ensued, but in vain.
“Finally, I was given an opportunity to speak for myself. I briefly shared how God led me to direct evangelism with Jews for Jesus, and how I have experienced an outstanding openness among both Jews and Gentiles in the streets of Budapest. ‘Just at our last Havurah meeting, two Jewish women prayed to receive Jesus, and since then they have been meeting with me for Bible study. Since we began our outreach in Hungary in October 2011, more than ten Jewish people have received Yeshua. Most of them are people we met on the street.’ When I said this, people applauded spontaneously.
“Direct evangelism is scary. We talk to complete strangers about something they may not want to hear. Perhaps they may never want to talk to us again, let alone become friends with us. Yet God commanded us to reach out and invite people to become God’s friends—which we cannot do without speaking about the need for forgiveness through Jesus. Perhaps people will become friends of ours as well, but not necessarily. That is not what we have been called to. Please pray for Andrea and Kiara, God’s two new Jewish friends, and for Ferenc and Ildikó, two elderly Jewish people who are very close to being reconciled with the God of Israel.”
Oded Cohen reports, “One day while driving in a remote area, I noticed a young man attempting to hitch a ride. The Sabbath was soon approaching, so buses had stopped running. I pulled over and learned that he was going about half an hour out of my way. I drove off, but had a strong sense in my heart to turn back.
“As we rode together, I shared with Yishai* a bit about my life and story. When I told how I had come to faith in Yeshua, he was intrigued. Before we parted, Yishai gave me his phone number and said he would read Isaiah 53. He also said, ‘I want to hear more. I would like to understand.’ Please pray for him.”
Barry B.: “A volunteer, Angie, and I set off to witness in Golders Green. As soon as we sat down on the station platform, an elderly Jewish man, Ray, introduced himself. He was very surprised to see Hebrew words and ‘Jesus’ on my T-shirt. (We were wearing ‘Jesus is Messiah’ T-shirts.) We shared the gospel with Ray and offered him a tract. He said, ‘My wife would kill me if I took this home!’ He shared how he was going deaf and let us pray for his hearing and for revelation from God for him. Before we left, we offered Ray a tract again and this time he took it.
“In Golders Green we met lots of Jewish people and had good seed-planting conversations. I talked with a young Israeli, whose name was Or, in both Hebrew and English. In Hebrew, ‘or’ means ‘light.’ I said to him, “Or Ha-Olam. Light of the world!” He took a tract; another seed dropped into his heart. But I was disappointed that he hadn’t given his contact for follow-up, so I prayed. Later, while we were witnessing in Camden Town, God brought another Israeli, Ilan, to me. We had a great conversation about Messiah (in Hebrew and English again!) and I asked Ilan if he had read the B’rit Hadashah (New Testament). Ilan told me that he had a copy at home, for curiosity’s sake, but he hadn’t read it yet. I encouraged him to read it with an open heart and mind and shared part of my story. Ilan gave me his contact details.
“Meanwhile, Angie had shared the gospel with several people, and one Gentile lady, Emma, was ‘ripe.’ So Angie led her to faith right there on the street! Please pray for Emma to grow in faith, for Ilan to stay engaged with the gospel and to read his New Testament, and for Or to search further.”
Simon L. writes: “I was recently in North London on an outreach, when a Jewish man, Joram (which means ‘May God be exalted’), came straight up to me and said passionately, ‘What are you doing here?’ I asked him what he meant. ‘Are you Jewish?’ he asked. ‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘Are you?’ (He had a Star of David hanging from his neck!) ‘Yes,’ he said, and then we laughed about the foolishness of two Jews standing in the street both wearing a Star of David asking the other if they were Jewish! (The Jews for Jesus jacket I was wearing had a bold Star of David on it.)
“Joram asked me about my Jewish background and dismissed it. When he found out that I couldn’t speak Hebrew, he told me that I could not understand the true meaning of the Torah and began to ‘teach’ me about the Talmud and Zohar. The conversation with Joram began to take the form of a debate and not a discussion. So I explained that I had to go, and offered him my card if he wanted to talk some more, which he refused. I left feeling disappointed at my efforts to connect with him, but more saddening was a feeling that I had not done a good job with my story or in asking him questions that would make him think. Now he was gone and I thought I’d never see him again.
“So imagine my surprise when I received a message from the office which said, ‘Joram called. He met you outside Southgate Station and apologizes for not taking your card. He says he would like to speak with you.’ I called Joram and we agreed to meet after I came back from my speaking tour! He must have Googled the name of our mission to find the number and then called to find me. Please pray that when I meet Joram we will have a meaningful conversation.”
* Not his real name