The most common application of giving charity is to offer monetary relief for those in need, as seen on pages 4 and 5. This is certainly necessary, but Jesus gave us additional ways of reaching out to those in need. In Matthew 25:36 the Messiah commends those who not only to clothe the naked, but visit the sick as well as those in prison.
The cost of caring the way Jesus asks us to is not only monetary; He asks us to give time and attention to people in places that many might rather avoid.
Most of our missionaries have experience visiting patients in the hospital or inmates at a prison. Some have more expertise and opportunities in these areas than others. For example, Bruce Rapp, who leads our work in Phoenix, ministers regularly to prison inmates. Occasionally we receive requests to make such visits, but now and then we hear an encouraging word from a friend who simply wants us to pray and send literature to be shared with an inmate.
Adriana Fuentes, from our ministry-at-large department, reports on an interaction she had with a Jewish believer in Jesus named Gene, who wrote in to ask for some materials to share with a Jewish prison inmate. The inmate, David, was convicted of murder in a botched robbery. Gene had been prompted by the Lord to begin praying for some future ministry that God had for him. When he heard about David, he felt compelled to write to him.
At first, David did not respond, but Gene continued to pray and to write to David for many months until finally the Lord opened the door—and David agreed to a visit from Gene.
David had been in isolation for months to protect him from other inmates who might want to harm him. During that time, he’d had few visitors. Before the visit, Gene prayed that God would make an obvious opening for him to share the gospel … which the Lord certainly did! Gene reported that one of the first things out of David’s mouth when they were finally alone together was ‘Tell me about Jews for Jesus.’ Gene hadn’t even mentioned Jews for Jesus in his letters! He had mentioned Yeshua (Jesus), but not the ministry of JFJ specifically. Gene went on to report that David is very open to the gospel. As Gene was leaving the prison, he met David’s father-in-law, a Christian who has been praying for David’s salvation!
What a blessing that God moved Gene to give his time and attention to someone who had very little human contact. Please pray for David who has said he is afraid he may die in prison. Please pray for him to have courage and the grace to receive salvation in Jesus. Please pray that the materials we sent for Gene to share with him will be a blessing, and that God will continue to guide and use Gene as a vessel of His tzedakah.