In Jews for Jesus terminology a sortie is a two-hour outing to hand out gospel tracts, or broadsides as we call them. At our Boston branch we each try to do about four sorties a week. Many might be frightened by this bold type of witnessing, but for us it is a part of our normal missionary work. Sometimes it begins to seem routine, but recently our Boston sorties inside subway stations have been anything but routine.
We are in the midst of a legal battle with the Metropolitan Boston Transit Authority. They have been trying to restrict our First Amendment right to hand out free religious literature in public areas by creating situations of conflict. We have tried to resolve our dispute through letters and complaints, but the MBTA has continued to restrict our federally protected freedom. In taking a stand for our rights, two of our staff were arrested. I was one of them. It was the first time in my life I had ever been arrested, but through that experience the Lord showed me the importance of standing for Yeshua.
One day after that, when I went to broadside at Harvard Square, the weather was quite severe. I knew it would be better for me to hand out my tracts inside the subway station, but I also knew that with our continuing legal battle it meant a possible arrest. Having been arrested before, I was more apprehensive this time. I really didn’t want to be arrested again. Needless to say I was nervous, but Steve Silverstein, our Boston branch leader, had told us not to allow the MBTA to govern or stop us from giving out the gospel in accordance with our constitutional rights.
Though I knew it was right to hand out literature at the Harvard subway station, I was apprehensive the entire time I was there. But praise God! I was not arrested, and it turned out to be a very fruitful time.
In the two hours that I nervously handed out my tracts, I had numerous conversations with people. I talked with a satanist who became very upset, almost to the point of tears, when I kept telling him that he needed Jesus. As he passed, I could see that he was hurting. I said to him, You need Jesus.” He replied negatively, and I said it again as he walked away. He got angrier, but I could see the hurt in his eyes. My remark that he needed Jesus made him come back and talk some more. He was resistant, but I could see that the Holy Spirit was working in his life.
Later I met an Israeli woman who was very surprised by the words “Jews for Jesus” on my jacket. I was able to talk with her for about five minutes. It was her first encounter with a Jewish person who believed in Jesus. She too was resistant, but it was apparent to me that she left our conversation with some new ideas to ponder. I know that some precious gospel seeds were planted in that encounter. I met another Jewish woman who came up to me after reading a tract. She was very interested to find out more about what we believe, and gave me her name, address and phone number for further follow-up. I look forward to seeing God draw her closer to himself.
During those two hours I also met a young Christian who was interested in receiving our newsletter. She had a number of Jewish friends to whom she had the opportunity to witness. She also was at a point in her life where she needed to be encouraged by another believer. I was able to pray with her about some major concerns in her life. She was struggling to grow in her faith and witness to both friends and family. In the few minutes we spent talking I could see that the Lord had brought his comfort and love into her life.
In addition to these conversations, I had numerous other shorter ones. I was able to hand out about 400 gospel tracts in two hours. I headed home with a greater recognition of how important it is to stand and proclaim the wonderful message of Jesus, even when there is threat of arrest or bodily harm. I knew that God wanted me to go there that day, and I was glad that I had listened to God rather than men in deciding the right thing to do.