Behind the Scenes
You’ve read about many of our missionaries in the Jews for Jesus Newsletter. But there is a group of missionaries* who you won’t read about in any of the branch features or Bits from the Branches.” They are behind-the-scenes missionaries who work at our international headquarters in San Francisco, and we’d like for you to meet them.
Susan grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where she thought the whole world was Jewish. When she was 20, she met Larry Norman, a blond-haired, blue-eyed Gentile from California who loves Jesus. He was the first person to witness to Susan and shortly after that she came to faith. A year later, Susan met Moishe Rosen on the phone. He asked how she saw the rest of her life in terms of serving the Lord. Then he encouraged her to dream big dreams and invited her to make them into reality with the Jews for Jesus “tribe” in San Francisco. That was in 1972.
So instead of pursuing her career in advertising, Susan moved out West and volunteered with the fledgling Jews for Jesus movement. She was already spearheading our media department and helping to shape our early strategy before she officially came on staff in 1974. Susan served as first assistant to Moishe Rosen until 1995 and now does the same with David Brickner. As our communications director, she also oversees our publications, secular media ads, web and multimedia—as well as speaking and meeting with interested seekers. Susan has led some of our evangelistic campaigns in New York City and is part of our Behold Your God campaign leadership team.
She says, “While my ministry has me behind the scenes a lot of the time, it is encouraging to see seekers respond to the many evangelistic communications I’ve either produced or helped others to produce—projects and publications that were part of my dreams for helping Jewish people know the Lord. From our ISSUES publication to broadside tracts to videos and the web…we are making Yeshua (Jesus) known around the world. What a blessing to have a part in it! ”
Susan likes: travel, entertaining, art, people. Susan doesn’t like: sleeping too long—it takes away from the things she likes doing!
Rich also grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in a Reform Jewish home. He became a Christian in 1973 through the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. But that was really the end of a spiritual journey that began in high school. You can read a fuller story online at: http://www.jewsforjesus.org/about/headquarters/rich/story
In college, Rich wanted to become a writer for Marvel Comics. But after coming to faith in Jesus, he was convinced that God wanted him to take a different path, so he never followed up on the offered interview with Marvel. He was keen on learning as much as he could about his faith and how to integrate it with whatever came next, so he enrolled at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. While there he became involved with our Chicago branch as a student worker. Upon graduation in 1978, he was invited to come on staff full-time as pianist with the Liberated Wailing Wall.
In 1995 Rich set up the first Jews for Jesus web site. Since then he’s enjoyed the help of several talented web developers, but he still handles much of the web site management. He also oversees our research library and does a variety of research and writing for Jews for Jesus. He’s been a contributor to our ISSUES publication, newsletter, and has written papers on Jewish evangelism for conferences and publications. His latest project is an online digital library of historical Jewish missions materials. He enjoys occasional opportunities to be in touch with Jewish nonbelievers via e-mail or when he travels on speaking tours.
Rich likes: playing piano, Elton John, Billy Joel and studying bioethics. Rich does not like: starting early in the morning, because he says he’s become more of a night person.
Steve was born and raised in New York. He grew up in a Conservative Jewish home. His parents are Holocaust survivors. Steve became a believer in Yeshua in March of 1975; he was one of the “first fruits” of our Los Angeles branch, which had opened in the Fall of 1974.
Steve had planned to teach history in middle or high school some day. However, the day after he came to faith in Jesus, he began telling others about Jesus. He received a seminary scholarship and part-time work with Jews for Jesus starting in the Fall of 1976. After he graduated in 1979, Steve came on staff full-time and has served in several capacities.
Steve is the assistant to David Brickner, handling much of his day-to-day work, including keeping David’s schedule and facilitating much of his communication via letters and phone calls. He also handles travel arrangements for David as well as for many of our staff in the United States and abroad.
Steve’s goal is to free David to cast vision, encourage the staff and creatively communicate the good news of the love of Jesus to our Jewish people around the world. Nevertheless, in Steve’s own travels, he occasionally meets Jewish people who don’t yet know the Lord. Recently, he presented “Christ in the Passover” at a church in Florida and had a chance to witness to a Jewish visitor, Arnold, who came at the invitation of his Christian friend. Pray for Arnold to embrace the gospel truth.
Steve likes: traveling, Hawaii, “swimming with the fishes” (snorkeling), family, friends, good music and great food. Steve does not like: being considered the Jews for Jesus answer man; even though he has been around a long time and is David Brickner’s assistant, Steve insists that he does not know everything.
Janie-sue was raised in a traditional Jewish home in New Haven, Connecticut and started asking serious questions about God’s existence and personal care when her mother became mentally ill. A high school friend challenged Janie to read the New Testament and compare Yeshua to the portraits of Messiah in the Jewish Bible. In May of 1970, she gave her heart to Yeshua.
As a little girl, Janie-sue wanted to become an actress, a singer and a nurse. She says, “My kids tell me I’m very dramatic and I do sing and play the guitar. I applied to and was accepted into a nursing program in 1977, but then God changed my path radically and I joined Jews for Jesus that same year!”
Janie-sue is the children’s and youth ministry coordinator at Jews for Jesus. This includes overseeing and helping to develop curriculum for the youth who attend our Ingatherings, camps and other ministries. It also includes mentoring and encouraging Jewish young people and their parents via phone, e-mail and personal visits. Janie’s goal is to help the next generation of Jewish believers become lifelong disciples who follow Yeshua faithfully and take their place in fulfilling the Great Commission.
She also has opportunities to share the gospel with unbelievers. For example, Janie recalls, “I was visiting with an elderly woman, when her 18-year-old grandson came in and began listening intently to what I was saying about Yeshua. He had so many questions. I pointed out some Scriptures to him and we talked for awhile. I’m still praying for him. ”
Janie-sue likes: sunny days, fresh flowers, art supplies, laughing with her daughter, walking barefoot on the beach with her husband and running along the water’s edge, occasionally falling in. Janie-sue does not like: people who are deliberately mean!
Ruth Rosen was raised in a Jewish Christian home (many of you know her dad, Jews for Jesus founder Moishe Rosen). Ruth was six years old when her mother prayed with her to receive the Lord. When Ruth was a little girl, she wanted to be an author—and a “doggie taker-carer-of-er.” (“Veterinarian” was too difficult to pronounce.)
Ruth began to work part-time with the ministry while attending Biola University in La Mirada, California. She joined the staff in 1979 following her graduation. Ruth is a writer/editor. You see some the work she does whenever you read our Newsletter or Jews for Jesus Real Time. She helps friends like you know what is going on with Jews for Jesus and how to pray for us, but she also helps equip our missionaries with the evangelistic tools they need. Ruth’s numerous writing projects include (but are not limited to) broadsides (gospel tracts), story books and booklets of Jewish believers as well as discipleship materials.
Ruth also has opportunities to use her missionary training to chat with Jewish seekers who call our headquarters…or occasionally, even drop by. Ruth reports, “Vivian is an Israeli who lives with her son just a block away from our headquarters. When she dropped in, expressing an interest in Jesus, I got to connect with her. The Jews for Jesus branch Bible study is currently meeting in my home twice a month, so it was very natural for me to invite Vivian to join me there the following evening. She is eager to continue exploring with us. Please pray for her salvation.”
Ruth likes: playing drums with her church’s worship team, Proverbs, taking photographs, Alaska, her dog, anyone else’s dog (some things never change), being an aunt, hanging out with family and friends. Ruth doesn’t like: talking to people in the morning.
DAVE AND KATHLEEN GARRETT
Dave and his wife Kathleen are “kosher-hearted Gentiles” who have been involved with Jews for Jesus since 1975. Kathleen grew up in Minnesota and Dave was raised mainly in Southern California. They met at Bible school in Los Angeles. They were married in 1980 and moved from Chicago to San Francisco to join staff in 1981.
Dave heads our Ministry-at-Large department. This department is responsible for ministry to Jewish believers and unbelievers outside of our branch areas, our Co-Laborer in Messiah program, our music ministry and our children’s and youth ministry. Dave (whose camp name is “Moose”) also has had an ongoing ministry to Jewish children and youth as director of our Camp Gilgal program since it began in 1991.
Kathleen served on staff for nine years and then went on to ministry as a stay-at-home mom. The Garretts have two girls. Virginia, 14, was named after Dave’s mother who went home to be with the Lord in 1988. Monica, 10, was named after Santa Monica, California (where Dave and Kathleen met, got engaged and where they spent their honeymoon). Now that the girls are older, Kathleen will be rejoining staff in a part-time capacity.
Dave says, “We never imagined that as Gentiles we could serve with Jews for Jesus, so even after 24 years, the ‘dream come true’ feeling hasn’t left. We’re honored to be on staff and are grateful to those who make this possible.”
Kathleen likes: crafts and staying at home. Dave likes: baseball (especially the Dodgers) and travel. They both like: spending time with their girls and their two cats, Dodger and Rosie.
*The Garretts are not part of our missionary staff, but as a covenanted administrative worker, Dave has committed himself to the same level of availability as our missionary staff and like them, he is responsible for raising his own support.