It was the end of our Saturday evening sortie (tract distribution) on July 5, 1986. At approximately 10:30 p.m. the masses were converging as they funneled out of Central Park after a New York Philharmonic concert and fireworks display.
We had been distributing our broadsides for nearly four hours, when Danny (a passerby) and I struck up a conversation. There certainly must be more to life than this!” he exclaimed. His buddy listened as we talked, and before I knew it, the three of us had bowed our heads together in prayer. There I was, praying with two people at once to receive the Lord. I knew that God was in our midst. His Spirit was moving to change the eternity of those two, and I was there as his tool. I had never thought that God would use me like that!
My participation in that 1986 Jews for Jesus Summer Witnessing Campaign began a revolution in my walk with the Lord, not to mention my relationship to New York City. You probably know what a Summer Witnessing Campaign is, but in case you don’t, it is an annual evangelistic thrust that Jews for Jesus conducts in the major U.S. cities for a four-week period. And in case you don’t know who I am, I’m Jeanne Kimmel, the “curly-headed kid” on the right of the photo. I have been a Jewish believer in Yeshua for three and a half years and the art director with Jews for Jesus’ headquartered in San Francisco for two and a half years.
Every summer since 1974, Jews for Jesus has had a Summer Witnessing Campaign. For the past two years, campaigners have been trained for two weeks at Moody Bible Institute, and last year I was one of them.
We were well prepared, both spiritually and physically. There were 34 of us, some staff and some volunteers. We saturated New York, one of the most heavily Jewish-populated cities in the world, with gospel tracts. Wearing T-shirts that read “Proclaim Liberty in Yeshua, Isaiah 61:1,” a theme in line with the Statue of Liberty’s bicentennial, we distributed more than 1.8 million broadsides.
Many people prayed with us right there on the streets to commit their lives to the Lord Yeshua. It was wonderful, yet exhausting. Facing the public for ten hours a day and receiving much rejection, particularly from my Jewish people, was a challenging task. People swore and harassed us, and sometimes 20 would pass me before one would take a broadside. Without the Lord it would have been very discouraging. Yet it was during those times of rejection that I reflected on his Word: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, sayeth the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6b); and “…I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
My scenario with Danny and his friend was like many others experienced by all of the campaigners. In that particular instance, God not only worked in Danny’s life and that of his friend. He also began a very special work in my life.
Earlier that day, I had been feeling inadequate. God didn’t understand, I thought. Yet during chapel that morning I had been humbled as I recalled God’s sovereignty. God did understand. Not only that, he wanted to demonstrate his Word and his power. So he did. That day the Lord revealed to me the power of his Spirit by blessing me with the privilege of praying with not just one, but two young men to enter his Kingdom.
That incident provides only a glimmer of all that I experienced. I could share so much more. But let me conclude by saying that through the campaign I witnessed God transforming the heart of humanity, and I experienced his grace in sending countless believers across my path to encourage me. The Lord worked miraculously—through my fellow campaigners and also through those who were reached by his truth. God’s shield of protection was ever present.
But the story doesn’t end here. God used that campaign experience as a stepping stone for me to an even higher privilege. I have been accepted onto the missionary staff of Jews for Jesus. This means that I will be able to minister to my people one on one in a full-time capacity.
One dilemma remains, however. As you may have read in last month’s and this month’s Newsletter, Jews for Jesus is looking for a new art director—to replace me. My deployment as a missionary will not take place until a new art director is hired. After all, this Newsletter and the production of all our other evangelistic materials must continue without a break. I am eager to get started in my new capacity, and it would also be a privilege if I could participate in the witnessing campaign this summer. Your prayers would be much appreciated.
If I could add a few more requests, please pray that God would lift the veil from many Jewish eyes through our efforts, so that the Messiah might be recognized. Please pray for us in Jews for Jesus and for other Jewish missions as we reach out to the lost. Also, please pray for health, strength and God’s anointing for the upcoming campaign. And last, but not least, pray for Danny and the many others like him who have a new life to begin. As Paul wrote to Timothy: “…I thank Christ Jesus, our Lord, who hath enabled me, in that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry” (I Timothy 1:12).