No, this is not an essay about how I spent my summer vacation! I’m talking about the Scriptural metaphor “fishers of men” (and women!)
I remember our founder Moishe Rosen saying that if we communicate the message of Jesus loudly and clearly enough for Jewish people to hear it, everyone else gets to hear it, too! This accounts for a fact that surprises many Jews for Jesus supporters: as you read through our reports and statistics from campaigns around the world, you will see the numbers of non-Jews who profess Christ regularly surpass the number of Jewish people who make decisions to follow Jesus. (There are exceptions to this rule, for example, in Israel.)
Moishe referred to this phenomenon as Paul’s mission strategy. When Paul brought the gospel “to the Jew first,” it naturally followed that the Good News was spread throughout the nations. When we’re fishing for men, we never want to toss any fish back in the water!
Last July, I was again privileged to participate in our New York City annual summer witnessing campaign. This was a big fishing trip for me and for more than a dozen others who dedicated their days to reaching out to locals and tourists alike in Manhattan. I had many conversations with Jewish people about Jesus and several gave me their contact information for follow-up. But what stands out in my mind more than most encounters is my meeting with a woman from a nominal Catholic background named Ellen.
I was in a park on a lunch-hour contact sortie where our main goal is to engage people in conversation. Unlike rush-hour sorties, we pass out dozens of tracts rather than hundreds. Most people are not hurrying by, but relaxing on their mid-day break. I saw a well-dressed, middle-aged woman sitting on a bench with her smartphone. I stopped and asked her who she thought Jesus was and that led us into an in-depth spiritual conversation. After several minutes, she confessed that she knew a lot about Jesus but she didn’t really know Jesus. When I invited her to pray with me right then to ask Jesus into her life, she didn’t hesitate. Tears flowed down her cheeks as she repented of her sins and asked God to help her follow Him.
After we prayed, she showed me what she had texted one of her co-workers just seconds before I sat down. Her text read, “I really need a friend right now.” Ellen looked at me and said, “That was a fast answer!” I left her with the Gospel of John and an invitation to one of our lectures at the Manhattan office. Most of all, I left her with assurance of God’s love and a newfound faith that would give her a forever friend in Jesus.
When one of our New York missionaries called Ellen the next week to invite her to a church in her neighborhood, Ellen couldn’t wait to tell her about the peace she had been feeling since she prayed. She was sleeping soundly for the first time in months and she wanted to bring her daughter along with her to church!
I feel profoundly grateful that as we reach out in our mission, God brings those He is calling to Himself in our path. I am thankful for friends like you who support our work and make fishing expeditions like these possible. Please pray for Ellen to grow strong in her faith and closer to Jesus every day … and pray for her family to know Him, too.
Laura Barron serves part-time with our Toronto branch, as she edits, works on special projects and events, and speaks on behalf of the organization. Laura is married to Andrew, who leads our Canadian work. Currently, she spends most of her time with her three children: Rafi, Ketzia and Simona. Find out more about Laura.