For some time we’ve needed a team of leaders to share the opportunities and burdens New York City presents as our flagship/training branch. Thanks be to God, such a team is now in place!
Meet Avi Snyder (a native New Yorker)
My wife Ruth and I joined the staff of Jews for Jesus in 1978. We toured with our mobile evangelistic drama team, The New Jerusalem Players, served with the Chicago and Los Angeles branches and then in 1991, our family moved to Odessa, Ukraine, along with Elizabeth T.. Our goals: bring the gospel to our people, and establish a completely indigenous Jews for Jesus ministry. As reported last month, God honored the desires of our hearts!
Now we are back in New York—a microcosm of a Jewish universe. The nearly 2,000,000 Jewish people living in the greater New York area come from all over the world. Many are from Israel and more than 300,000 are from the former Soviet Union. What a challenging, diversified mission field! Those of us privileged to help meet that challenge are co-worker Karol Joseph, who conducts our training from the Manhattan center; veteran New York missionary Mitch Forman who coordinates the daily evangelistic operations with our multi-national staff; and me. I coordinate our ministry to Post Soviet Jews around the world and help keep our eyes and hearts open to international opportunities that the Lord continues to place in our path.
- as we proclaim the Gospel to the mosaic of Jewish people living in New York
- as we prepare Jewish missionaries to carry the message around the world
- as we produce the literature that will help us communicate the gospel in whatever land our Jewish people reside
Meet Mitch Forman (who never intended to be a New Yorker!)
“Never” would have been my one-word answer to anyone who asked me to move to New York. I grew up in Boston, a modest neighbor of the Big Apple, and to me that meant never liking anything about New York City!
When I graduated the University of Massachusetts in 1981, I wanted to be a world-class chef. That meant moving to either San Francisco or New York City, the two food capitals of the United States. I didn’t even blink as I packed my bags for California! Little did I know it was there that I would hear the gospel and ask Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.
I also encountered Jews for Jesus in California. I offered to cook for the 1989 Summer Witnessing Campaign, thus tasting my first serious service to the Lord. Eventually I took a staff position as head of Purple Pomegranate Productions, but before long I knew I wanted to serve as a full-time missionary. So in January 1993 I moved to—New York City! I reasoned I would be sent elsewhere after my year of training—but I came to love New Yorkers as they are always ready to stop and talk. It might not be what you want to hear, but many are open to the Lord. I was glad when asked to stay.
This summer I had the joy of leading our New York Witnessing Campaign, then I became part of a new leadership team in New York City. Whereas I once said “never,” now I hope my wife Kina and I will be in New York for years to come!
Meet Karol Joseph (guess where she never wanted to live)
“Jesus, I’ll follow you anywhere, but please, please anywhere but New York!” That was my prayer back in 1990 when I was accepted onto the staff of Jews for Jesus. I didn’t know then that New York City was to be our new missionary training center!
So, I left my home in Boston and moved to New York. The training was demanding, but that year God delivered me from fear. I discovered the joy of ministry and of seeing lives powerfully changed through the gospel. I even saw God change my heart for this city! In fact, by the end of the year, I was disappointed to return to Boston; now I only wanted to stay in New York!
But God had other plans. First I served in Boston, then several years in Toronto, and finally in Los Angeles before the news came that I could go back to New York. This time I would be the trainer! I had come full circle.
I arrived in New York this September along with four young Jews for Jesus. All of them are eager to learn as much as they can about serving the Messiah, first here in New York, and then around the world. When I was a trainee back in 1990, our whole class was American. Today, three of the four trainees are Hebrew-speaking internationals! God seems to be equipping us to do much more to make the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people WORLDWIDE!
Please pray for this team of trainees: Katie and Moshe from Israel, Natalie from South Africa and Gary from the U.S. Pray that they will grow to be fruitful workers ready to be sent out into His harvest fields. And pray for me, that God will give me wisdom and discernment as I minister into their lives.
Meet Natalie Sachs
An old high school friend who knew I was struggling over whether or not to accept the gospel brought me to a Jews for Jesus Friday night service in Johannesburg. The only thing I remember was Andrew Barron wondering aloud whether his wife Laura (who was away at the time) would like the beard he was growing. Six months later I called Laura in desperation, wanting to reconcile my Jewish identity with the knowledge that I needed Jesus. We began to have Bible studies and before long I gave my life to Jesus.
I continued to meet with Laura, and a year and a half later I served on a NYC Summer Campaign. It was the most growing and spiritual experience of my life! After Campaign I returned to South Africa and continued to involved myself with the Jews for Jesus outreach there. At the beginning of this year I was accepted as a missionary trainee. Please pray that I would not just learn but internalize all the lessons and that God would truly break my heart for the salvation of my Jewish people.
Meet Katie Abramson
About nine months ago I was at home in Israel. My mother had told me that some people from Jews for Jesus were coming to see Aaron (my brother) about some “Summer Witnessing Campaign.” To my surprise, they invited me to join my brother that summer in New York City. Raised in a believing home, I had rebelled somewhat and had recently rededicated my life to the Lord. I prayed about the offer, then accepted gladly. I finished my army service and I was off!
It was such a great experience. I talked to hundreds and hundreds of people about Jesus— about how much He loves them and wants them to believe in Him so that they may have eternal life! I also prayed with many people to ask Jesus into their hearts and lives! I was so blessed that I wanted to continue telling people about Him full-time. So now I am training with Jews for Jesus to be an outreach worker in Israel. Please pray for me and for the work we will be doing in Israel.
Meet Moshe Shuai
I was less than a year old in the Lord when the man who had been teaching me the Bible told a friend of his, “Come to Haifa. There is a young believer you have to meet.” That friend happened to be Efraim Goldstein, who is in charge of our Jews for Jesus outreach in Israel. He also teaches at one of the Bible schools (which I later attended). Efraim and I established a close relationship and he encouraged me to participate in the 1997 Summer Witnessing Campaign.
Before that campaign I wasn’t sure what direction to pursue in my life. Through the Campaign, God showed me that He wants me to be an evangelist with Jews for Jesus. After Campaign, I began accompanying Efraim as he visited people to tell them about Yeshua. I returned to New York for the 1998 Summer Campaign and am now living there, training to be an outreach worker. Please pray that God will bless me here because English is not exactly my language. And pray that God would use me in future ministry in Israel. Also please pray for the salvation of my family and friends.
Meet Gary Leese
I was ordained for ministry a year ago September—yet I never felt that God was calling me to preach in the local church. After months of prayer, I sensed God telling me to prepare for full-time service in June. My time was scheduled with ministry opportunities through the first two weeks of June, so naturally I began asking Him what I was to do beginning the third week in June.
Against that backdrop, I was leaving a Mexican restaurant in Chowchilla, California when I noticed a Jews for Jesus van in the parking lot. Since I’m a Jewish believer in Jesus, my curiosity was piqued. I returned to the restaurant, noticed a man reading The Jewish Voice and began a conversation with him. That’s how I first met Stephen Katz and the ministry of Jews for Jesus—by “divine appointment”!
Stephen described the Summer Witnessing Campaign and when I found out it began the first day of the third week of June, I knew that I had my answer. I completed the 1998 Campaign and knew this was the ministry God had told me to prepare for, full-time. I’ve joined the staff as a trainee and am very excited about this opportunity to be a part of what God is doing to fulfill His Word and bring salvation to my people.