Faithful in Life and Death
Recently I spoke at the funeral of a Jewish believer in Jesus named Barbara whom I had discipled. I emphasized to those who gathered that Barbara had realized that Jesus was the promised Messiah for whom the Jewish people had been waiting. God used Barbara’s story in her life as well as in her death. While it was difficult to say goodbye, it was a joy to see her complete her race and know that she was in the presence of her Lord.
Two weeks after the funeral, I received a call from Frankie, a Christian woman who had attended the service. Frankie is a hairdresser who frequently witnesses to her Jewish clients. She was thrilled to discover that Jews for Jesus exists to reach people, and especially Jewish people, with the gospel. She wanted me to know that she had given my telephone number to a client who seemed particularly interested in knowing more about Jesus.
Soon after, I received a call from Tracy. Tracy had been surrounded” as she put it by Christians all her life and had finally decided to search for some answers. She especially wanted to know if she could embrace Jesus as her Messiah and remain Jewish. I have begun meeting with her on a regular basis for Bible study.
God is gracious to give us opportunities to use life events (such as funerals) as a story to His reality and faithfulness. Barbara’s faithfulness to make sure her funeral was a story converged with Frankie’s faithfulness to tell her Jewish friends about Jesus and has enabled me to have a ministry to Tracy. I believe that she is close to making a decision and would appreciate your prayers during her time of searching.
I want you to know that I have seen my outreach to Jewish people multiply because of fellow believers [like you who are reading this!] who are willing to join us in the harvest.
Annette grew up in Fresno, CA in a Jewish Christian home. Her grandparents were the first people in her family to come to faith in Jesus. Annette came to faith at a young age and was baptized at age 13. She graduated from Biola University with a bachelor's degree in music and a minor in Bible. After college she toured the U.S., parts of Europe and South Africa with Jews for Jesus' mobile evangelistic music team, the Liberated Wailing Wall. In 1993 she moved to New York City to begin training as a missionary with Jews for Jesus. It was there that she met and married, Josh, who was also a Jewish believer from California and was a Brooklyn College student at the time. In their early married years Josh and Annette served as missionaries with Jews for Jesus in New York City, then for another five years in Los Angeles. They felt called to return to New York so that Josh could develop Jews for Jesus' youth and camp ministries on the East Coast, so Josh and Annette served in New York from 2000-2011, during which time their daughters Eliana and Taliah were born, and Josh became the branch director. During those years Annette was a full-time mom, with side duties such as leading a moms Bible study and helping wives of missionary trainees transition to life in ministry. In 2011, the Sofaer family moved to Portland, Oregon so that Josh could complete a master's degree at Western Seminary. In August 2012 the Sofaer family moved back to Los Angeles so that Josh could begin directing the Jews for Jesus work in Southern California. Though the family is still very much in the midst of transitioning to a new area, Josh and Annette are excited to see what the Lord will be doing through Jews for Jesus there. In 2015, Annette returned to part-time staff with Jews for Jesus, first in the church relations department, and now as a missionary to the Jewish women in the Southern California area.