Bits from the Branches
Two cancelled visits turned into a blessing for missionary Sharon Freeman. She used the time to hand out broadsides at Harvard University where she met a Jewish man who gave her his name and telephone number for further discussion. He already knew Jews for Jesus. He had been at our office last winter when the branch offered hot chocolate to those who attended Tip O’Neill’s funeral across the street.
A Jewish woman called our office to ask for literature. She was confused by the recent death of Lubavitch Rabbi Menachem Schneerson after many of his followers had claimed that he was the Messiah. Outreach worker Joelle Rubin took the call. In the background, Joelle could hear the angry shouting of the woman’s husband. He is a rabbi and was very upset that his own wife would dare to call Jews for Jesus. Pray that the lady will receive our literature intact and that God will touch her heart and the hearts of many others in the Lubavitch movement with the truth about the real Messiah, Yeshua!
Twice in three days was enough to make one Jewish man from England stop and talk. First Steve had received one of our pamphlets at Venice Beach, then another on the streets of Hollywood. He was on his way back to England and wouldn’t give us his name, address and telephone number. It just may take another of God’s coincidences,” but however it happens, we hope Steve will contact our London branch.
Outreach worker Ilona reported a miracle on one of her visits. Ilona went to visit Clara, a Jewish woman who had not seemed very open to the gospel. As Clara opened her door and stepped out of her apartment, the wind blew the door shut and she was locked out. She was upset because her son would not be home with his key until later. Ilona and a volunteer began to pray. As they finished, Clara’s door opened and a boy came out of her apartment. Hearing the commotion, he had climbed through Clara’s open window to unlock her door. “But,” says Ilona, “that was not the real miracle.” They began to talk about Jesus, and Clara listened willingly. At the end of the conversation, Clara asked what she should do to receive Jesus in her heart. She prayed with Ilona and the volunteer to repent and commit her life to Yeshua. “Now that,” says Ilona, “was the miracle!”
There’s good news and bad news in wake of the Moscow Campaign. It was very successful. (752,188 tracts were distributed and there were 113 decisions to make a commitment to Yeshua.) Not so good is the news that the Moscow police harassed our people on the streets with physical abuse and systematic detention. This may be the beginning of a general trend toward persecution of our workers in Moscow. Please pray for strength, wisdom, courage and a special empowering of the Holy Spirit for all our staff and volunteers.
Rosa, a seventy-year-old Jewish lady, lives in a retirement home. She cannot walk and does not have a telephone, yet she managed to get in touch with Jews for Jesus. A Christian lady who visits Rosa’s retirement home found one of our tracts on the street and gave it to her. Rosa wrote to our Buenos Aires office, and Guillermo Katz visited her. She is willing to know more about Jesus.
Missionary Stephen Katz and his wife Laura had a “significant” visit with a local rabbi, his wife and their believing son. After a Shabbat dinner, the rabbi’s wife asked, “Tell me, which Jesus does Jews for Jesus believe in? Jesus the teacher, the prophet or the Messiah?” Her question launched a two-hour discussion. The rabbi disagrees with the exclusivity of the gospel, but he said that when the Messiah comes, he wants to ask one thing, and he emphasized that he meant it seriously: “Is this the first time You have been here, or did You come once before?” Pray for this rabbi and for Stephen as he continues to minister to this family.
Jews for Jesus had just placed an ad in The New Russian Word, one of the Russian-language daily newspapers published in New York. The ad offered free upon request a copy of Jewish believer Stan Telchin’s story book, Betrayed . Shortly afterward, missionary Caroline Hewitt went to hand out broadsides at Brighton Beach, an area south of New York City where a large number of recent Russian immigrants live. She handed a tract to one elderly man who was sitting on a bench. He looked at the tract, smiled and handed it back, saying something she could not understand. Realizing that he only spoke Russian, Caroline handed him one of the Russian tracts she had brought. The man took it and read intently for a few minutes. Caroline was about to move away, when he motioned to her to stay. Fishing around in the bag he was holding, he pulled out a copy of Betrayed in Russian. He had seen our ad, had requested and received the book and had brought it along to read on the beach. As he held up the book and the Russian broadside, a big smile crossed his face. “Same?” he asked. “Da!” Caroline nodded, “da! The same!”
When trainee Marcello Araujo first contacted Jacob and his wife Lidia, they warned him that many had tried to talk to Jacob about God and had been disappointed. Jacob was Jewish and simply would not accept Christian ideas about God, but Marcello was welcome to try. When Marcello and volunteer Sergei visited Jacob, Jacob said that he had read Nostradamus and thought that religion was for the simple minded, but he did believe in a higher “force” and in predestination. They challenged him to read the Gospel of John and pray that God would reveal the truth to him. Oddly, Jacob’s wife, who is Russian Orthdox, objected. She said Jews were not supposed to read the New Testament! Marcello explained that it was a Jewish book written by Jews for Jews. In a subsequent visit, Marcello and volunteer Boris Beckerman studied John 1, Isaiah 60:1, 2 and John 1:14 with Jacob. Jacob concluded that Jesus had been raised from the dead and allowed Boris and Marcello to lead him in a prayer of repentance and commitment.