A Tale of Two Names
One of the ways we Jews for Jesus missionaries gain new contacts is by cold calling.” We find Jewish surnames in the local phone book, call total strangers and try to discuss spiritual matters with them. In this way, The Liberated Wailing Wall has had opportunities to approach unbelieving Jewish people all across the country. Two recent telephone encounters stand out in my mind.
Our team was outside of Cleveland, Ohio. The weather was rainy, so we could not hand out our gospel tracts downtown. Instead, we decided to cold call for a couple of hours. I chose a definitely Jewish surname from the “L”s and began dialing. Once I identified myself as being with Jews for Jesus I received many of the usual expressions of disapproval. Some people were very hostile. I also got through to a few answering machines, and I was happy to leave a message on them.
Then I reached Hal. He was very curious about why I would talk about Jesus to people I did not know. In fact, he wanted me to answer some sincere questions about the Messiah with which he had been struggling for quite some time. He wanted to know if the Messiah was supposed to be divine, and where in the Bible it mentioned that. He knew that the Bible spoke of the Messiah as being a servant, but he did not understand why the rabbis never said anything about his deity when he had heard so many Christians say that the Messiah was to be God.
Hal told me of several encounters with some of his friends, both Jewish and Gentile, who had tried to witness to him. When I asked him if he sincerely wanted to know the truth of the matter, he assured me that he really wanted answers.
As we conversed for a few more minutes, I knew that Hal was wrestling with these issues of faith. I was glad that through my phone call one more seed had been planted in his life for the sake of the gospel. I promised to send him some helpful materials, and he promised to read them.
As I rejoiced over the Lord’s apparent work in Hal’s life, I saw that the next name in the phone book was also Hal. I checked to make sure that the address was different from the first one. It was, so I dialed the number.
A man answered the phone, and as I was about to tell him who I was, he said, “Listen, I’m on the other line long-distance. Call me back in 10 minutes.” When I called again, he said that he was still talking on the other line, but asked if he could help me for a moment. I asked him if he had ever heard of Jews for Jesus, and told him that I would really like to talk to him about the issue of Jesus being the Messiah.
He surprised me by answering, “I’d really like to talk about this. Call me back tomorrow.”
Regrettably, I was unable to call him back the next day, but I did write him, and I sent him our book of Jewish testimonies called Jesus For Jews.
Maybe this second Hal was not interested in the gospel. Maybe he only wanted to voice his disapproval. Maybe he will be hostile to the materials I sent, but I choose to believe that he wanted to talk and listen to what I had to say. I feel that my encountering two people in a row with the same name who were willing to talk about the Messiah was not coincidence but some kind of encouragement from the Lord.
All in all, through cold calling that day the Lord gave us the names of eight new unbelieving Jewish people to follow up. I rejoice in the wonders of modern technology and praise God that we his servants are able to use it for his glory and honor.
Editor’s Note: Jews for Jesus does not recommend cold calling for non-professionals. While it can be productive, we ourselves use it sparingly, preferring a more personal approach.