Bits From the Branches
She Thought She Believed
A woman named Shoshanah contacted our office in San Francisco, saying that she was Jewish and believed in Jesus. Missionary Robyn Wilk visited her, and as they talked, Robyn sensed that she needed to ask Shoshanah, If you were to die tonight and God asked you, ‘Why should I let you into heaven?’ what would you say?” Shoshanah thought for a moment, then responded that she was a good person and never “sinned” in a big way.
Robyn pointed out such Scriptures as Isaiah 64:6 and Romans 3:23 and explained the gospel to Shoshanah. When Shoshanah realized that she was a sinner and that Jesus died for her, Robyn went on to Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, lest anyone should boast.” Shoshanah’s belief in Jesus blossomed into faith!
Quite often when our missionaries go to visit a Jewish believer, they discover a person who has not had a clear understanding of the gospel. Shoshanah is in medical school and finds it difficult to make time for the things of God. Her main source of fellowship right now is the group of Christian friends on campus who first told her about Jesus.
Unbeliever Desires a Witness to His Father
Outreach worker Larissa Saveliev was handing out gospel broadsides on the streets of Moscow when a man approached her and said, “You are handing out literature about God. Could you send anything to my father? He’s Jewish, he attends the synagogue and I want him to read it.” Larissa wrote down the father’s name and address and asked the son, “What about you? What do you think of Jesus? Do you want to know about Him—what He did for you and what He’s expecting from you?”
The man shook his head sadly. “You see, I work as a professional body guard. I have to use arms…”
“Well,” Larissa replied, “Don’t you think that our meeting happened according to the will of the same God you want your father to read about?”
“O.K., send me something.” Please pray for Vladimir and also for his father.
Yom Kippur Dance
In Chicago, Rahel Landrum was shocked to see the message on the marquee of a classy hotel: “Yom Kippur Dance.” Her first thought was, “How inappropriate! Yom Kippur is the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar: the Day of Atonement when our people fast and repent of sins committed against God and their neighbors. It truly is a solemn holiday. How could anyone think of sponsoring a joyful dance on this day?!”
But when she thought again, it made sense to her as a believer in Jesus. After all, when we know that our sins are forgiven and we have the absolute assurance that through Jesus, our sins are blotted out, it doesn’t merely make sense to burst into a joyful dance to praise God. It seems like the obvious thing to do! In Yeshua we have a reason to dance, not only on Yom Kippur, but also every day. The folks sponsoring that dance probably were not believers in Jesus. Pray that our people will realize both the gravity of sin and the wonderful solution God provided in Jesus.
Ingathering Helps Gather People Into God’s Kingdom
In St. Petersburg, Florida, an unbelieving Jewish woman named Ruth came to our Southeast Messianic Ingathering at the invitation of her friends, the Trowsdales. Ruth was skeptical; her friends had been witnessing to her for a long time, and she had been resisting the Gospel.
During an informal story time, about 20 people gathered to tell one another what God was doing in their lives. Steve Cohen* was surprised to hear Ruth say that while she was not a believer, she “might become one before the end of the Ingathering.” Several people spoke to her during that story time, but she still had some reservations and questions.
On the last day of the Ingathering, Steve spoke with Ruth privately. When she heard that God’s love is a free gift available to whoever will receive His Son, the last barriers crumbled and she prayed to begin a new life in Yeshua.
*At the time this occurred, Steve Cohen was chief of station for our Ft. Lauderdale branch. Steve and his family have since moved to St. Louis where he is serving with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. We love Steve and thank God for the many people he has touched through Jews for Jesus—but we are also glad for the vision he will now be able to share with some 6,000 LCMS churches.
Guillermo Katz, formerly chief of station in Buenos Aires, has taken over our Florida work and holds our portfolio for Argentina. Carlos Morgenfeld is now chief of station in Buenos Aires.