Jews for Jesus got our official start in London in 1992. However, the groundwork was laid in the early 1980s when Jews for Jesus conducted an evangelistic campaign in London with the help of a young British Jewish believer in Jesus called Richard Harvey. Richard was working with another missionary organization called the Church’s Ministry Among the Jews, but was excited to partner with people from Jews for Jesus in the USA.
Richard maintained close contact with Jews for Jesus following the campaign, and in the course of time he and his wife Monica felt God’s leading to join Jews for Jesus. They trained for a year with Moishe Rosen in San Francisco, as did another British couple, Stephen and Deborah Pacht. The Pachts opened our London branch in April 1992, and Richard and Monica returned to the UK soon after. Stephen and Deborah went on to open our Paris branch, and Richard took over in London.
During that first year, the London Underground removed all the posters we had paid them to place in the trains, breaking their contract and causing a buzz in the media. The resulting press coverage included our gospel statements, spreading them nationwide! As Moishe Rosen says, Every knock is a boost.”
In 1994, Jews for Jesus UK moved into a storefront on the Finchley Road—which is estimated to be the seventh most traveled road in all of Europe. It is also the main road connecting all the areas in North-West London, where the greatest concentration of Jewish people in the UK resides. Since our arrival there thousands of Jewish people have been challenged by our shopfront, easily identified by a colorful sign proclaiming: “Jews for Jesus—Messiah has come!” Many Jewish people drop in or phone in to find out more. Several have subsequently prayed to receive Jesus with our missionary staff.
In 1995, British Jewish believer Jonathan Bernd returned to London from missionary training in the USA. In 1997 he became UK Director as Richard moved on to a teaching post at All Nations Christian College in Ware.
In September 2001, Avi Snyder (who pioneered our work in Russia and Ukraine) moved to London with his family to become our European Director, and in January 2002, I became our UK Director. (Jonathan and his wife Cindy are now part of our Boston team back in the U.S.)
The Jewish community in the United Kingdom is the second largest in Western Europe, with about 300,000 registered Jewish people and an estimated 50-100,000 unaffiliated.
Western Europe is in what many call a “post-Christian” phase, meaning that many people view a personal interest in God as a thing of the past. Unfortunately, this trend is also reflected in our Jewish community. Much of our work is ploughing the soil and sowing gospel seed through street evangelism, phone calling, billboards, media and special events.
As in all our branches, we conduct evangelistic visits with interested Jewish people. In the past several months we have had success in meeting many who are willing to discuss the gospel, simply by phoning people with Jewish surnames to do a quick survey. We know that God is watering these seeds, and that in His time they will also bear fruit. So the work of evangelism is slow, but rewarding as a steady trickle of Jewish people find their Messiah. We thank God that many Christian brothers and sisters have a heart for our work, and this has been a great support to us.
MEET OUR STAFF
AVI SNYDER [pictured with his wife, Ruth] is the European Director of Jews For Jesus, supervising branch offices in the UK, France, Germany and the former USSR. He holds a masters degree in Jewish studies from the School of World Missions at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.
Raised in a Conservative Jewish family in New York, Avi became a believer in Jesus in 1977. He and his wife, Ruth, joined the staff of Jews for Jesus in 1978. In 1991, the Snyders and their three children (Leah, Joel and Elizabeth) moved to Odessa, Ukraine, to start the work of Jews for Jesus just as the Soviet Union was coming apart. In 1998, the Snyders returned to the United States, leaving behind a staff of Russian and Ukrainian Jews for Jesus co-workers who now proclaim the Good News of the Messiah Jesus from mission stations in Odessa, Moscow, Kiev, Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk.
JOSEPH STEINBERG is the UK director of Jews for Jesus. He is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and served as a missionary and a pastor in England prior to joining our staff. He also co-wrote a book and an evangelism course (the “Y” Course) used by churches throughout the UK and Australasia.
Joseph was raised in a Reform Jewish home in Richmond, Virginia. He received Jesus as his Lord, Saviour and Messiah in 1979, when he was just 14 years old. Four years later he joined the Jews for Jesus Liberated Wailing Wall and toured with them for 18 months. He rejoined the staff of Jews for Jesus in 2000 after being on our European Board of Directors for two years. He led our San Francisco branch for nine months while he prepared to return to London. Joseph is married to Jane, a Jewish Londoner who also loves Jesus. Their three children—Jessica, Ben and Emily— were all born in the UK.
ASHER AVRAMOVSKI, while stationed in our London branch, is preparing to lead our Behold Your God Campaign in Budapest. He is a graduate of Bitola University in Macedonia with a bachelors degree in tourism, and is also a graduate of Mattersey Bible College (in the UK) with a BA honors degree (emphasis on Biblical theology and Greek texts).
Asher was born in a Jewish home in Macedonia, former Yugoslavia. He received Jesus as Messiah and Lord in 1991. Two years after completing his Bible college degree Asher began to work with Jews for Jesus in Russia and the Ukraine. He served in (and led) our European mobile evangelistic music team called “Messiah’s Shofar” who have ministered in Russia, Ukraine and Germany.
MARK LANDRUM [pictured with his wife, Rahel] received his undergraduate training at Columbia Bible College in South Carolina and also received a masters degree in Jewish Studies from Fuller Seminary.
Mark grew up in the Atlanta area. His mother is also a Jewish believer in Jesus. In 1988 Mark joined the staff of Jews for Jesus in Chicago where he met his wife, Rahel, and where he also led local outreaches. In 1997 Mark and Rahel joined our London team of missionaries. Mark has led London summer campaigns as well as our Behold Your God Milwaukee campaign last year. He currently serves on our Jews for Jesus Council, a leadership team that meets in San Francisco three times a year.
RAHEL LANDRUM was born in Romania, but her family immigrated to Israel when she was 12 years old. Rahel became a believer in Jesus in 1979. She was 18 years old, and began her conscripted service for the Israeli Army as a new believer. Later she attended Haifa University where she received a degree in English and education. Rahel joined the staff of Jews for Jesus in 1992 and was stationed in Chicago with her husband, Mark. She also received an MA in Jewish Studies from Fuller. Rahel is a part-time missionary who specialises in reaching the Hebrew-speaking sector of London’s Jewish community.
WENDY BURTON was born into a believing Gentile family in Wales, UK. She is a widowed mother of two (Matthew and Annabelle) and joined our London team in 1993, as a much-needed administrator. Wendy’s heart for evangelism has given her opportunities to lead people to faith in the Lord—even in the midst of all her paperwork!
TONY METLISS was born into a Jewish family in London and became a believer in Jesus in 1982 through the witness of an old friend from school. Tony began working with Jews for Jesus in 2001. Besides assisting Wendy, Tony regularly leads worship at his local church and plays the drums and guitar.
GWYN VOLLANS began with Jews for Jesus in 1995 as a volunteer and now coordinates church relations for our missionary speakers. Gwyn is married to Paul and has three grown children, Anna (25), Mark (23), and Samuel (21).
Bits From the London Branch
The Call We Almost Missed: Mark reports, “We didn’t reach our phone in time and the answering machine had already picked up. I dashed to grab the phone, but the caller had not left a message. Thank God for the automatic feature that allowed me to ring back, even though I didn’t know whom I was calling! It turned out to be Saul, a Jewish man from Iraq who had passed by our shop many times. I was pleased that he wanted to receive some literature. I have tried calling back to discuss the information I sent, but so far have not been able to reach him. Please pray I will be able to connect with Saul and that we can meet in person to study the messiahship of Yeshua from the Bible.”
Which Way? Rahel reports, “When we go on a sortie (tract-passing expedition) in the center of London, lots of tourists ask us for directions. One young man showed me a piece of paper and asked me if I knew where that address was. I noticed some Hebrew scribbled on the paper, and started speaking to Oded in Hebrew. He gave me a big smile and said: ‘You saved me!’ I told him: ‘God saves!’ Oded and his mother (whose name is also Rahel) had gotten separated from their tour group and were trying to find their hotel. I wrote directions for them and then pointed out that God—the One who really saves—had put Oded and his mother in my path. To my surprise, Oded’s mother told me she had heard about Jewish people who believe in Jesus in Israel and she thought Jesus might be the Messiah. I asked her if she wanted to know for sure who Jesus was, and read some information in Hebrew. She said she did, and gave me her address. Please pray for Rahel and Oded.”
Heavenly Rain: Rahel reports, “Asher and I had just got back from a sortie in a Jewish area and I was a little discouraged as most refused to take a tract, let alone have a conversation with me. I took the tube (subway) back to the office and saw a crowd of people standing by the entrance. As I got near the door, I saw the reason—it was pouring rain. So I stood there too, waiting for the rain to break. Then I heard this voice behind me asking: ‘Can I ask you about what it says on your back?’ (referring to my Jews for Jesus jacket). Roger turned out to be Jewish and curious about Jesus. He gave me his address to receive further information. Heavenly rain made this meeting possible; now please pray that God will help Roger to accept His heavenly reign through the Messiah.”
This is What It’s All About: Asher reports, “Tanya, a Jewish girl from Brazil, was raised in a secular Jewish home. She had no contact with Orthodox Judaism until she moved to Israel. However, she was disappointed with her religious encounters there. Now living in London, Tanya was curious about Jews for Jesus. I met with her at our storefront and was impressed by her sincere questions and willingness to seek answers in the Bible. She borrowed a few of our books and promised to return the following week.
“Sure enough she returned for a second Bible study. When I concluded our visit with prayer, I looked up and noticed that Tanya still had her head bowed. She whispered that God was challenging her to surrender herself to Him fully. She said that she not only needed to confess her sin and repent, but she also wanted to confess her faith in Jesus as Messiah and Saviour. Tanya then prayed a sinner’s prayer. When we had said “amen” she had tears of joy rolling down her cheeks.
“Tanya left the shop having borrowed another one of our story books. When she returned for our third visit she told me she had read it one sitting, and was so excited that she then lent it to her landlord, an elderly Jewish man. Tanya was serious about being fully committed to Jesus! She has continued praying for her landlord and sharing her faith with him. Pray that Tanya will grow deep roots in her faith, and that she will settle into a solid congregation here in London.”
As you pray for our London branch, please pray:
- for Asher as he prepares for and leads the Budapest BYG Campaign
- for the relatively new Bible study the Landrums are hosting in their home, attended by several Jewish seekers. Please pray that those who do not yet know Jesus will receive Him, and that more seekers will continue to come
- for more opportunities to meet Christian friends who will pray and give to help support the work in London
- for spiritual and physical health for our staff
- for salvation for staff’s unsaved relatives
- for the Jewish people we’ve prayed with to receive the Lord to be firmly established in the faith
- for God to continue bringing us Jewish seekers who are willing to study His Word with an open mind
- for the children of staff to grow in grace and stay close to the Lord