Almost a Modern Day Jonah
Since summer witnessing campaigns have become a tradition with Jews for Jesus, they have become fairly routine. There are certain things that we expect to happen every time: the first week those who are less hardy come down with a cold or a sore throat; the second week there are many cases of sore feet and blisters as each campaigner distributes an average of 2,000 broadsides every day. On the plus side, however, we meet and talk with hundreds of Jewish people who want to know more about faith in Yeshua.
Last summer’s campaign wasn’t much different than most other summer campaigns, except for the fact that at the same time we were also campaigning at the Democratic Convention in San Francisco and at the Olympic events in Los Angeles. I particularly recall one day in New York.
A very typical campaign day, it had begun at 6:45 a.m. so that the teams could meet for prayer and briefing before they dispersed to greet the morning commuters. Although it was so early, the temperature already had climbed to 78 degrees and the humidity level was pushing 85%. During the course of that morning, one of the campaigners ran into a young Jewish man. He had a very common Jewish name: Cohen.
Mr. Cohen seemed quite interested in finding out more about faith in Jesus. He said that for the past two years he had been reading the New Testament and thinking a great deal about Jesus and the possibility that he might well have been the Messiah of Israel. Our campaigner quickly took down Mr. Cohen’s name, address and telephone number and turned in the information that evening to our New York branch office for follow-up.
Just a few days later, when one of our Jews for Jesus missionaries tried to telephone Mr. Cohen, there was no answer. But that certainly was not the end of the matter.
Mr. Cohen had left town to visit some relatives in Los Angeles. While he was there, he had obtained some tickets for one of the Olympic sporting events—and can you guess whom he ran into just outside the arena?
That’s right! It was one of our Jews for Jesus Los Angeles campaigners who was handing out broadsides. The worker proceeded to talk to Mr. Cohen and got his name and address for the Los Angeles branch. They invited Mr. Cohen to a Bible study that night, where our Los Angeles branch leader, Avi Snyder, prayed with Mr. Cohen to receive Jesus.
Soon after that, Mr. Cohen went back to New York. Immediately upon his arrival, he called our New York office. We then began a Bible study and discipleship program with him, and he showed tangible evidence of a real commitment to the Lord. He was so excited about his new faith in Jesus that he began to tell all of his friends about it. One of our missionaries then had the opportunity of praying with one of Mr. Cohen’s friends also to receive the Lord.
I guess the moral of the story is that when God has his hand on someone, that individual really can’t run very far. In a way, it’s like what happened to Jonah—except Jonah discovered it the hard way. We’re glad that Mr. Cohen’s path was easier.