We have much cause for rejoicing about our New York City Summer Witnessing Campaign this year. We went in shorthanded; last year we had 33 campaigners, but somehow this year we only had 22. It must have been Satan who sent fiery virus-tipped darts our way, because virtually all our campaigners and our eight stewards were laid low at one time or another either by respiratory infection or stomach disorders. Nevertheless, our campaigners handed out 922,350 tracts, and 1,212 people came to faith right out there in the parks, streets and other public places or prayed over the telephone to commit their lives toYeshua.
Below are just a few of our most encouraging vignettes.(Keep in mind two definitions: broadsides are our specially designed tracts, and sorties are tract-distributing expeditions during which small teams of campaigners concentrate on various high-traffic areas of the city for designated lengths of time.)
Off to a great start!
Campaigner and missionary trainee Mimi Bernstein had the joy
of harvesting the firstfruits” of our 1990 Summer Witnessing Campaign. It happened on Saturday, June 31, even before Campaign had officially begun. She met Bruce at 72nd Street and Broadway. He said his need for Jesus was prompted by a number of personal problems. Right then and there on the street Mimi prayed with Bruce to receive Yeshua as his Savior.
On the following Monday morning, our first full day of Campaign activity, God blessed campaigner Rachel Links with six victories. Alter praying with five Gentile people to receive Christ as Savior she capped off the morning by praying at noon with Michele, a Jewish woman, to commit her life to Yeshua.
During that same sortie Mimi Bernstein led Daniel, a Bronx man from an Orthodox Jewish background, in a prayer of commitment to Yeshua. He said he would welcome a call, but not when his parents were at home.
On another day, as campaigner Rachel Links was broadsiding at the corner of 47th Street and Sixth Avenue she noticed a young Jewish man wearing a skullcap watching her. She gave him a broadside, introduced herself and asked what he thought about Jesus. “Not much,” Mark replied. Rachel said, “Well, I have something to tell you. All educated Jewish men need to know this.” She proceeded to explain the gospel and Mark listened intently. As Rachel finished, she asked again what he thought. Still unsure, Mark agreed to give her his address to receive more information. Rachel felt the Lord telling her to pray with Mark, so she asked if he would agree with her in his heart as she prayed for and with him. There on the city street they prayed together that Mark would be open to accepting the truth of God.
While steward Trent Perkins was broadsiding at the corner of 23rd Street and Avenue C a policeman behind him said, “Praise the Lord!” and asked for a broadside. Trent gave him one. Upon reading it, the officer came back to talk. He said he was a Jewish
believer. His father had emigrated from Belgium and his mother was Hispanic. Excitedly he signed up to receive both our Newsletter and ISSUES, our evangelistic publication specifically written for Jewish people.
The first Orthodox Jewish person that Israeli campaigner Gideon met was Zvi. He expressed sincere concern about Gideon’s “apostasy.” He wouldn’t pray with Gideon or even shake his hand. They met again a few days later, and this time Zvi was willing to give Gideon his name and address. He still expressed a hope that Gideon would “return to rabbinic Judaism,” but that’s OK. We’re all praying that Zvi will find the true Judaism of the Bible and accept Yeshua as his Messiah.
Campaigner Seth prayed for Steve one morning that Steve would lead a Jewish person to Yeshua that day. At approximately 5:00 p.m. Steve met Abraham, a Jewish man from Mexico City. Abraham said he had been studying the Scriptures, and asked Steve if he thought they related to Jesus. Steve said yes, and then asked whether Abraham wanted to receive Jesus in his heart. Praise God, he did, and a new Jewish brother entered the fold!
When campaigner Stephan Landau saw a woman wearing a star with a cross in the middle, he assumed she was a Jewish believer in Christ and engaged her in conversation. He found out that she was not a believer. She was Jewish and married to a Gentile who was not a believer either. Stephan told her some ways she could recognize the Messiah, and she was eager for more information. She said her Christian brother-in-law had been witnessing to her over the years.
Many Gentiles also came to faith.
We read in Zechariah 8:23,”Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you; for we have heard that God is with you.”
If that scripture is yet to be fulfilled, we have experienced at least a forerunner of that promise. We have found from years of Jewish evangelism that any outreach designed to reach Jews with the gospel will also be effective in reaching non-Christian Gentiles.
Early in July, campaigner Steve ran into Anthony at Chambers and Broadway. Steve had prayed with Anthony during last year’s Campaign at the same place. (The account appeared in Volume 9:5749 of the Newsletter.) Because of the bondage of his sin Anthony had been contemplating suicide before he made his commitment to Jesus. Now he was very happy to see Steve again and to tell him of his progress in the life of faith. He had been attending a Bible study/prayer group and was walking with Jesus.
Campaigner Lisa Opton helped Joe, another police officer, find Jesus. Joe had many “born-again” relatives who had brought him to church and told him he needed Jesus. Lisa asked whether he had ever been born again and he said, “No, I guess I need to go
and do that.” She answered, “You don’t need to ‘go’ anywhere to do it. It’s just getting down to business with God and asking him to come into your life.” Since he was in law enforcement, Lisa used the analogy of a judge taking the punishment for a convict’s crime. Joe understood and prayed to commit his life to Jesus.
Campaigner Karol Joseph had just arrived at Grand Central Station to hand out broadsides. About 50 feet behind her a cult group was giving their “shpiel.” Adam took one of Karol’s tracts and
came back a few minutes later to ask if she belonged to that group behind her. “Absolutely not!” she replied. “Good!” he said. “I’ve been wanting to get ‘saved!” Karol smiled widely as she said, “Let’s do that now!” She reviewed the gospel briefly with him and they prayed. Full of joy, Adam asked about a church referral.
Returning a few minutes early from one evening sortie, two of our Israeli campaigners, Gideon and Doron, were seeking to redeem the time before checking in at the office. Doron looked over his shoulder and saw Gideon witnessing to a man on the corner near our office. Doron approached the friend of the man Gideon had engaged and asked, “Do you want to know what they are discussing?” “Sure,” the man answered. At about the same time Gideon was pulling out a decision card and leading his contact in a prayer of faith, Doron asked the friend if he wanted to take the same step, and he also prayed to ask Jesus into his life. Meanwhile, Rachel Links, on the same team with Gideon and Doron, was not idly standing by. She was talking with a man who claimed to be a Muslim—until he too prayed to receive Yeshua. That was a three-in-one sortie, and the time was certainly redeemed!
While broadsiding in Forest Hills, campaigner David Mishkin gave a broadside to a middle-aged woman. A moment later she came back to tell him she had just returned from Argentina. She showed him a Spanish Jews for Jesus broadside she had received while she was there!
Besides numerous street commitments and encouraging incidents like those above, God also blessed our office personnel by allowing them to lead many people to Yeshua over the telephone. Here are just a few accounts:
Scott Rubin, Campaign chaplain, was manning our Campaign hotline when he received a phone call from Ernest, who had received a broadside the previous day. Ernest knew he had never been born again and wanted to take that step of faith. “Can I do that over the phone?” he asked. Scott replied, “If we can’t use phones to turn our hearts to God, what use are they?” “Good point,” Ernest answered, and together they prayed as Ernest gave his heart to Yeshua!
Another hotline call came from a 47-year-old Jewish man named Steve. He had not been able to stop thinking about a broadside he had received. It was one of our most direct pieces about hell. Steve had an intense spiritual hunger for God. Scott explained about sin and salvation in Christ, and asked Steve if he believed he was a sinner and needed Christ’s cleansing atonement. Steve gladly accepted the gospel message and prayed with Scott to begin a new life with the Lord.
A man named Nick called on the hotline and told campaigner Mimi Bernstein he wanted to know more about Jesus. He said he believed Jesus was probably “one of the Messiahs,” explaining that there were two pictures of Messiah. He had been reading the New Testament, so Mimi found it easy to show him that Jesus fulfilled both pictures of Messiah—reigning King and suffering Servant. She read to Nick from Isaiah 53. He said it sounded like Jesus, and he was ready to receive him, but he couldn’t pray aloud because his mother (who would disapprove) was in the room. Mimi led Nick in the words to commit his life to Yeshua as he voiced his agreement aloud to Mimi and prayed silently at the other end of the line.
While Lois Link, secretary to Campaign leader Tuvya Zaretsky, was minding the hotline telephone she prayed with three people to commit their lives to Yeshua. One of them, Adrian, came from Trinidad. He had received a broadside on the street. Although he had a Bible background, Adrian had never taken the step of faith. Another call was from Audrey. She asked for Rich Robinson, author of the tract she had received. Lois said that Rich was not there, but that she could talk to her about it. Audrey, also with a church background, knew the gospel but had never made a commitment of faith—until that moment when she prayed with Lois to do so. The third and perhaps most touching call came from a Jewish man named Aaron who rang our office from a pay phone in the hospital where he was a patient. He had received literature from Jews for Jesus in the past, but he had never followed through. Now he tearfully prayed with Lois to receive Jesus as his Messiah.
One day campaigner Cheryl Cohn was relegated to office duty because of a severe case of blistered feet she had acquired in the previous day’s broadsiding. She answered a call from a woman who had received a broadside the day before, and over the telephone led her to commit her life to Jesus.
Another phone call initiated by campaigner Mimi Bernstein drew two Jewish women closer to faith. Mimi called Bella, who had given us her name for more information. Another lady, Deborah, answered the phone and said that Bella was hard of hearing and could not
understand phone conversations very well. Mimi began to explain the gospel to Deborah, who was fascinated but hesitant because she was an Orthodox Jew. When Mimi read Isaiah 53 to Deborah she seemed very curious, but declined to receive further information because she did not want Jews for Jesus to have her address. Mimi told her that we already had the address because Bella had given it to her. At that, Deborah said, “Sure, go ahead and send it.”
And we know there is more to come…
From past experience we know that after Summer Campaign is finished we continue to see results for a long time. We will hear from those who took a tract for later consideration. (Some have kept tracts for years before actively seeking the Lord.) We will follow up on those who gave our campaigners their names and addresses for mailed information and literature. We will telephone inquirers and will be able to initiate Bible studies with some of them. And hopefully many more from that group of Campaign contacts will make the decision to commit their lives to Yeshua.
Our thanks—first to the Lord, then to all our friends who by their prayer and financial support made Campaign 1990 possible!