Bits from the Branches
Mira Gracheva reports, “Valentina Alexeyeva volunteered with us for many years and participated in the Moscow and St. Petersburg Campaigns. She has been ill lately and has not volunteered with us for a year. She recently called me and we went together on a sortie at Red Square. She was upset when she returned to me, as she didn’t receive any contacts—all she had was one phone number from a Jewish woman who would not give her address. But that woman, Inna (who was over 70 years old), came to the Shabbat meeting! We have invited hundreds, even thousands, of people to the Shabbat meetings over the years and most do not come. But Inna came right away! After the Shabbat meeting, she prayed with me the sinner’s prayer. Valentina was sitting next to me and her face was shining. They went home together—as it turned out, they are neighbors! They just didn’t recognize each other. . . . The Lord is wonderful and amazing! He knows everything and rules everything in this world! There are approximately 20 million inhabitants and visitors in Moscow! How can two people meet accidentally? Valentina rejoiced with all her heart! And I, as if experiencing both their joy, rejoiced the most!”
Karl deSouza reports, “‘Sam’ (not his real name) was raised as an Orthodox Jew, but later married a Christian. When he heard about Jews for Jesus, he decided to look us up on the Internet, where he found our speaking itineraries posted. I met Sam when he attended one of the churches where I was speaking, and we have been meeting regularly since then. “Since he knew little of the Bible, I decided to begin with creation and the fall, so that Sam could see his need for the atonement we have in Jesus. We looked at passages like Isaiah 59:1-2, where it says our sins have separated us from God. Sam had been asking God for direction in his life, but our lesson was to demonstrate that our sin can prevent us from knowing and following God’s plan for our lives. Sam seemed skeptical, but the next day he called to say that he believes these verses concerning our sin. In fact, he read them to his brother who is not a believer! The next time we met, Sam was describing a recurring dream he’d been having that week, in which he was caught in flood waters. He wondered what that meant. I replied, ‘Well, I don’t know what it means, but God does, if He’s trying to tell you something. Why not ask Him? Meanwhile, I think it’s interesting that the Bible lesson I’ve prepared for today is about Noah and the Flood.’ Please pray for Sam’s salvation, that God will grant him the courage to take the step of faith in Y’shua.”
From Lakeland, Florida, Stan Telchin reports: “A little over a year ago, I began a friendship with a Jewish man whom I will call ‘Phil,’ a secular Jew who’s highly regarded in our community.
“A few months ago, my wife Elaine and I went out to dinner with Phil and his wife. He asked about all of the traveling I do, and I explained about my work with Jews for Jesus. Afterwards, when we got to our cars, I gave him a copy of Betrayed [Stan’s book detailing how he came to faith as he tried to disprove his daughter’s belief in Jesus].
“A few weeks later, he told me that he thought Betrayed was a terrific book and that he and his wife both enjoyed it. I then gave him a copy of my second book, Abandoned.
“About a month later, I invited Phil and his wife to join us at church. Phil was eloquent in his praise for the pastor’s message and said: ‘It’s almost as if he was speaking directly to me.’
“Recently, Phil joined me at church again, and afterwards we went to lunch. I sensed the time was right, so I asked, ‘Phil, would you like me to pray with you to receive Jesus as your Messiah and Lord?’ He said, ‘Where shall we go?’ I replied, ‘We can do it right here in the restaurant.’ He looked surprised, but said: ‘Okay.’ After he received the Lord he couldn’t get the smile off his face.
“A few days later, I rejoiced to receive the following note from Phil: ‘Dear Stan, I will be eternally grateful to you for helping me to find the Truth. I was truly lost until God, through you, my friend, led me to Jesus, whom I have accepted as Messiah and Lord. Bless you.’”