As a missionary at our San Francisco Branch of Jews for Jesus, I spend much of my time visiting with Jewish people who have shown an interest in Yeshua. Most frequently their names have been sent in by their Gentile Christian friends for us to contact. In a roundabout way that is how I initially made contact with Marv and Karen.
Our office had a response card from a Jewish woman to whom we had sent our ISSUES publication along with our offer for the free Yeshua book. She had checked the boxes on the card to indicate her interest in continuing to receive ISSUES and also the free book. Besides checking the boxes, Karen had also added a personal note that gave me a clue that she was more interested in the subject of Yeshua than many of the Jewish people we contact. She had written on the card, Please send us information as to where we can attend services. Thank you.”
I didn’t have Karen’s phone number, so I called information. I was given the number of a relative with the same surname who then got me in touch with Karen and her husband Marv. When I called and asked if they would be interested in studying the Bible with me, they were more than delighted. They expressed surprise that I would travel such a distance to their home to spend time with them in that way. In turn, I was delighted that they were so open to hearing and learning about Yeshua.
During my first visit with Marv and Karen I discovered some things. When I asked if they knew how we had begun to send them our literature, they said it was probably through the request of a Gentile Christian friend of theirs who lived in Southern California. I also learned that they were sincerely interested in finding out the truth about Jesus. Marv said that they had seen that particular friend go through a time of searching for the truth about Jesus and make his final decision. They also had seen the difference it had made in him. The friend had challenged Marv and Karen to find out for themselves if Jesus was who he said he was. Marv seemed to have done a lot more serious thinking about the subject already. He said that he had even begun to test God by asking Jesus for help in certain areas of his life, such as his job. He said that since he had begun to do that, things were going much more smoothly at work and in his life. Karen, on the other hand, was more hesitant. Both Karen and Marv were Jewish, and their families lived in the area. Both of them felt the usual wariness about Christians and Jesus, but Karen had many more unanswered questions. They were about the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, and why the rabbis don’t believe in Jesus if he is the Messiah.
As we ended our first visit, I asked Karen and Marv if I could pray for them right there that God would show them the truth about Jesus. They consented, and I prayed. I told them that I would be willing to continue meeting with them every week. Each time we would look at another chapter in the Gospel of Matthew to try to determine what Jesus was claiming about himself and whether or not what he was saying was true. They agreed, and we began our study the following week. I had instructed them to begin reading Matthew and ask themselves, “What is Jesus saying about himself?” I told them to write down any question they had. I was surprised when I returned to find that they had read quite a bit of Matthew and had underlined all the verses about which they had questions. As we discussed each verse, they were able to see Jesus in a new light—a Jewish light, as the Messiah of Israel.
At the end of our session I explained to them what a person needed to do to become a believer in Jesus. I asked if they thought they might be ready to take that step. Marv admitted that he was almost at that point, but Karen still had many questions. Again they allowed me to pray for them. In fact, Marv insisted on praying himself.
The third time I visited Marv and Karen, Efraim Goldstein, the director of our San Francisco Branch, came along. As Efraim spoke with Karen and Marv, he explained again as I had how one becomes a believer, and exactly what that person is believing. At that point, Marv was ready to receive the Messiah, and he did pray a very sincere prayer asking Jesus to come into his life. After he had prayed, Efraim asked Karen if she thought she were ready to make the same decision. She said that she still had many doubts and questions. It was exciting to see Marv, with his brand new faith and life, trying to encourage his wife to come along with him. “Come on, you pray too,” he urged.
Well, she didn’t pray just then, but the Lord must have been at work in her life during that following week. When I returned the next time, Karen was ready to receive the Messiah, and she also prayed.
It’s always a blessing to see Jewish people receive our Messiah, but it’s even more wonderful when a married couple receives him together. Many times only one spouse will become a believer, and that produces strain and heartache in their relationship. This is especially true if the unbelieving mate is hostile toward Jesus and refuses to allow the other person to have fellowship with other believers. We praise God for Karen and Marv, and we look forward to their growth and maturity together in the Lord.