We’re Thankful That They’re Thankful
We are thankful for every opportunity to count in someone’s life. Sometimes we sow, water and reap the gospel seed. Sometimes we reap where others have sown, and sometimes we sow, not knowing who will reap. We thought you might like to hear from a few of the people whose lives you’ve touched by helping us to have a part in their lives.
I actually thought Jesus was probably true, but because I’m a Jew, I looked for every reason why He could not be the answer to my spiritual search. Then I found a tract that said Voyager” on the ground in Manhattan. I picked it up and discovered it was from Jews for Jesus. I brought the tract back to the office and put it on my cork board.
My partner at that time was also Jewish. He told me that Jews for Jesus was a cult, but I left the tract on my board anyway. A couple of days later I saw one of the missionaries on the street and gave my name to be contacted. That’s when Glenn called me and arranged a meeting.
I thank the Lord for Glenn, who worked hard to teach me the foundations of the truth I had been searching for. It took a year, but I finally received the Lord into my life. I had the opportunity to volunteer in the 1996 Summer Witnessing Campaign, and I’m thankful for that too. I love the Lord so much, and it’s a blessing to be with so many other people who love Him like I do and understand how much I want to talk about Him and praise Him.
I’m totally thankful to God for taking me out of darkness into light and for giving me a brand-new life. I’m thankful for a Gentile friend in a twelve-step program who gave me a Bible. After reading the Gospels—specifically about the prodigal son—I knew that Jesus was for me. I got on my knees and asked God to forgive me like the father forgave his runaway son.
About a year later, Mitch Forman contacted me through a mutual friend. I had a pretty good understanding of my faith, but I was not settled into a church and I had a lot to learn. Mitch called me about once a month, but I always brushed him off because I thought Jews for Jesus were fanatics. Finally, he called on the perfect night at the perfect time, and I agreed to meet with him. That was January of ’95. We’ve been meeting ever since, doing personal Bible study, getting into theology and discussing issues of character and wisdom. I’m thankful for the insights I’ve received and thankful that Mitch didn’t give up on me after the first few phone calls.
After avoiding the ministry for so long, I really value my friends at Jews for Jesus. I enjoy the Jewishness of the weekly Bible study and the services on Friday nights—especially since I now am going to a predominantly Gentile church on Sunday. I appreciate the balance, and I also appreciate the opportunity to serve. I volunteer with the New York branch pretty regularly, and it’s fun having an avenue to grow and have fellowship with the people I’ve connected with there.
I believed in Jesus intellectually for quite some time, yet I never asked for God’s forgiveness or salvation. My Christian friends told me what it was like to have God in their lives, but I didn’t quite make the connection that this was available to me. I knew there was something more that I wanted, something beyond my intellectual belief—but I was not sure how to get there. I was familiar with Jews for Jesus because my wife, who is a Christian, had been on their mailing list for some time. I thought perhaps they could help me, so I did a search for Jews for Jesus on the Internet. Their page popped up on the Web, and I read several sections where it invited inquiries. Then I sent in my name and my e-mail address and said that yes, I would be willing to talk with someone.
Well, Rob Wertheim lives not too far from me and he met with me on November 21, 1995. He answered my questions, we prayed together and I was born again! Prior to that, I never really believed that I could actually be indwelt by the Holy Spirit and have eternal life. But when I prayed that day, I knew it was true, and I’m just a transformed person. How can you describe a blessing like that? How can you describe the gift of eternal life? The next thing I knew, Rob was inviting me to hand out tracts as part of the Rose Bowl outreach. What a faith stretcher! I’m really glad I did it though because it wasn’t just a faith stretcher, it was also faith strengthener.
When I met with the whole mishpochah (family) for Thanksgiving, I must have been shining like a lightbulb. Everyone wondered what was going on—why I had this expression of joy all over me. The truth is, I’d never had so much to be thankful for in my life. And now, a year later, I’m still thankful, beyond words, for the eternal life God has given to me, and for His presence to guide me every day.
I’m thankful for the way that God gives me little signs, funny little things that let me know He answers prayer. For example, I’m diabetic and we had an ice cream party at work. I was worried, but prayed about it, and went in. They had bought sugar-free, fat-free ice cream for me. I took a little bit but then I looked at the rocky road and I thought, “Ohhh.” I told myself, “God would understand one scoop of rocky road.” But as soon as I put the spoon into the rocky road, the fire alarm went off! We all had to rush out of the building, and when we came back, someone said, “Well did you want any [rocky road]?”
I answered, “No, if God took the time to set off a fire alarm to keep me from having it, I don’t think I should eat any.” I’m thankful for these little signs, but most of all, I’m thankful that I can keep going even in hard times. I know that I’m not alone.
(Wanda had been attracted to Jesus for quite some time before coming in contact with Jews for Jesus; Peter Rice (chief of station in Washington, D.C.) studied the Bible with her and helped her make a faith commitment to he Lord about a year and a half ago.)