Now that I’ve settled into working at Jews for Jesus headquarters here in San Francisco , I’ve been able to reflect on the path along which God has brought me since I began work with this ministry a year ago. In September of 1978 I came to our New York branch office to be the office manager and one of the missionary staff. However, just as the Apostle Paul did many times, I had to move on to minister in a different area towards the end of that year.
At first, it was exciting to anticipate a new and different ministry. But I found that as the days before I was to leave New York grew fewer, the impact of my departure began to hit home.
Our New York Jews for Jesus office was far from exotic, especially in comparison to the plush executive business offices in midtown Manhattan . Our desks had either been given to us or were bought in secondhand stores. Our "hand-me-down" typewriter looked like it had been dropped during one of its ownership changes. Ours was not the kind of office I had ever anticipated becoming attached to, but a wave of sentimentality struck me as I remembered all the blessings God had brought us there. Many Jews and Gentiles had visited us at that office, and had prayed there to receive the Lord. New believers had been nourished there in the Word of God. But, most of all, I remembered the love of Christ working in our midst, knitting together the hearts of the missionary staff with all those volunteers who gave their time and energy to help in evangelism and office work. As I reflected on this unity, the thought of leaving saddened me even more.
The day arrived that I was scheduled to leave, and as I hugged each individual good-bye, I felt my eyes filling with tears. There was a knot in the pit of my stomach. My prayer to God had always been that I desired to serve Him in whatever way He willed, to do what He willed, and to go where He wanted me. However, I had never experienced such a clash between "Thy will" and "my will" since I had become a believer. Still, I trusted in a God whose ways were above my ways, and whose thoughts were about my thoughts, and whose love for the people of New York City went far beyond mine.
I remembered the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul, and knew that he must have grown close to many people throughout his ministry, also. The people of Ephesus were brokenhearted when Paul had to leave them. I’m certain that it was difficult, too, for the Apostle to leave those people he loved, as he showed his concern for them in other parts of Scripture, speaking of his desire to see them again. But Paul knew that God had plans to use him in other places, to minister to other needy people, and he went forth in that confidence. I knew that God had plans for me, too.
As evangelists with Jews for Jesus, our service is often itinerant and though we may stay in an area for days, months, or years, we know that God is constantly calling us to reach out for Jesus throughout His world. Philip was always moving on to new places so that more might hear the Word: "But Philip found himself at Azotus; and as he passed through he kept preaching the Gospel to all the cities." (Acts 8:40 )
It was a comfort and encouragement for me during that time to look towards the example of the apostles and evangelists in the New Testament, remembering that they had the same human frailties as I. As I left New York I knew that I would miss more than just the Statue of Liberty and the Staten Island ferry, but that I could also look forward to what lay ahead. I knew that I must "press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil . 3:14) . Though I’ll be here in San Francisco for as long as Jews for Jesus needs me to be, I know I always have to be ready to move on for Jesus.