Bits From The Branches
New York City
Stewart Weinisch reports: “About nine months ago, Susan considered herself a staunch atheist and an anti-establishment Jew. Then something happened to cause her to reexamine certain political views. At the same time, she decided to seek the truth about God. She began to question her unbelief after reading in the Declaration of Independence, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ Her search led her to study Orthodox Judaism, Christianity, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Each of these left her wanting something more that she could actually believe in. She seemed to have hit a wall.
“She then looked up Jews for Jesus and called our office. I spoke with her and we arranged to have a visit 30 minutes later. Since then, we have met by phone weekly and have covered the gospel in great detail. She is extremely intelligent and has great insight into spiritual truths—she gets it. After a phone visit that demonstrated how well she understood everything, I asked if she was ready to receive Yeshua as her Messiah. She not only prayed to repent and receive Jesus, but she also was willing to share with Sandy Epstein (part of our admin team here) the details of her salvation. Needless to say, we all rejoiced along with the ‘angels in heaven’! I am meeting again with Susan next week to have a Bible study as we continue the journey of growing in her newfound faith.”
Johannesburg, South Africa
Barry B., (normally in our London team, but temporarily stationed in Jo’burg) reports, “Marc (a Jews for Jesus intern) and I did some phone evangelism, calling a list of people who receive a well known Jewish newspaper. We had good conversations with many people and three agreed to receive literature about Jesus! Praise God! We also did some ‘visibility’ evangelism, with a group of six volunteers from a local Messianic Congregation. We were all wearing ‘Jesus is Messiah’ T-shirts at a shopping center and had lots of conversations with Jewish people who were curious about the shirts. Denise, one of our volunteers, was approached by her Jewish friend, Kay. Denise had been praying for an opportunity to witness to Kay and there she was! Please pray for God to water the gospel seed that was sown.”
Alexey Podgayetski reports, “I was visiting various Jewish people when I came to a home where I’m usually met by an elderly woman. She is a believer in Krishna and responds aggressively when I try to speak to her about the gospel. I knew other family members live there but had not yet succeeded in talking to anybody else in this household. This time, the door was opened by Eugeny, the grandson.
“To my surprise, Eugeny was very open to the gospel. I left him our brochures, invited him to a Shabbat meeting and promised to return in a week. When I returned, the grandmother interfered in our conversation. She was trying to prove to me that Sahaja Yoga means as much as the Bible, and that all religions lead to God. I quoted Acts 4:12 “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
“I asked Eugeny’s grandmother if she would allow me to pray for her and she agreed. So I prayed, and then she silently went to another room and no longer hindered our conversation. Eugeny told me that his grandmother had torn and thrown away all of the brochures I had given him. She has been persistently imposing her beliefs on him, and he is confused. Nevertheless, he is being drawn to Yeshua and seems to have begun to believe in Him. We decided to arrange our next visit by phone and to meet outside their home. I ask you to pray for Eugeny, that he becomes stronger in his faith in Yeshua, and for his grandmother, that the Lord would free her from the slavery of false religion.”
Tel Aviv, Israel
Oded Cohen reports, “It has been a long-time dream of mine to connect and get involved with a community of unbelievers, and the Lord has made my dream come true! I recently joined a group of photographers, and through certain group projects I have made a few friends. We usually have a long car ride to our destination, which has given me plenty of time to share my story and faith with others in the group. When I shared how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures, Dudi* asked, ‘Is that in the Bible? Okay, we must get together so you can show me.’ He also asked what does it mean to be baptized.
“Another photographer friend whom I will call Lev* is especially open. He was so curious, he kept asking me questions about what I believe and where I worship, and I was able to share my story with him. He said, ‘Wow, that’s fascinating.’ I changed the subject back to photography to see if he was genuinely interested or if he was just being polite. But he steered the conversation back to questions about Jesus. When I later told him that I would take him to a specific area so that we could shoot photographs together, and that we needed to find a time to go, he said, ‘Yes, and also I want to go to your congregation.’ I know these connections/friendships are from the Lord because Lev lives in my town and Dudi lives in a neighboring town.”
Kata Tar reports, “Go on a sortie (tract-passing expedition) or a demonstration?
This was my dilemma after an ultra-right MP stood up in Parliament and suggested that a list should be made of any MPs who have double citizenship: specifically Israeli-Hungarian. The hearts of many Jewish citizens melted from fear. History shows that when lists are made of Jews, soon they are taken away and murdered.
“In response to the statement made in Parliament, many from the Jewish community here, along with some sympathetic Christians, announced a street demonstration to protest. I wanted to stand with the Jewish community in this, but had already arranged a sortie with a volunteer. When I prayed, I felt that the Lord was telling me not to cancel the sortie.
“I went on the sortie as planned and I met Alan,* a nineteen-year old Jewish student. He explained that while he is a member of a local synagogue and a youth leader in the Jewish community, what he experiences there does not quench his spiritual thirst. He gave me his contact information, answered my email and came to hear Avi Snyder’s teaching on “Christ in Shavuot” (Pentecost). He introduced himself to Avi and received a book about Jesus. Alan is a very deep thinker and seeker. We have since talked and he has expressed interest in attending our “Havura”h (fellowship group). Please pray for Alan, that he truly meets and receives the Messiah who will quench his spiritual thirst.
“As for me, now I know why I had to be at the sortie, no matter how much my heart was with my demonstrating fellow citizens. We are so easily tempted to do what is good instead of what is best.”
Gena Gelman reports, “For a few months, on almost every sortie, a certain woman would always smile and take a broadside from me. We began to say hello to each other as though we were acquainted. I began to think that perhaps I had known her before or that we had been colleagues in the past. I made a decision to talk to her the next time I would see her.
“Early on a Monday morning as a crowd of people hurried to their work places, I saw this woman with the same smile. She took a broadside as always, and we began to talk. I introduced myself and began to ask if we knew each other or lived in the same neighborhood. She answered, ‘No, I simply go to work this way.’ As we continued to talk I found out her name, Svetlana, and that she is Jewish. You can’t even imagine how glad I became at that moment; I was simply inspired with understanding of how great our God is. Svetlana gave me her contact information, and she really wants to receive our literature. I gave her our DVD with testimonies of Jewish believers in Jesus. She is about 40 years old. Please pray for Svetlana to become our sister in Yeshua!
*Not their real names