Bits from the Branches
From our Toronto branch (established 1980), branch leader Andrew Barron reports, There are an estimated 100,000 Spanish speaking people in the Toronto area. Our missionary, Marcello Araujo, is from Ecuador and is himself a Spanish speaker. We’ve been praying that God would open a door for Marcello to reach the Jewish people within Toronto’s Hispanic community. God is answering that prayer through Virginia Diaz, the wife of a local pastor. She and her husband are from San Salvador. When she told us how she has been witnessing to her Jewish friends (who also speak Spanish), we decided to try an experiment.
“I asked Marcello to begin conducting Saturday afternoon Bible studies in Spanish. To our surprise, four Jewish people came to the very first study, along with three Christian friends. Marcello taught from the Gospel of John. Afterwards, a sixty-year-old Jewish woman from Morocco asked him, ‘What do I have to do to know Jesus as the Messiah?’ Helen T. came to faith in Christ that very day! She felt anxious about how her family would react but seemed determined to tell them about her decision to follow Jesus.
“We are so glad that God brought Mrs. Diaz to us at just the right time! Please pray for Helen to grow in her faith, for Marcello as he reaches out and for more fruit from this new Bible study!”
From our Odessa branch (established 1991) outreach worker Galya Bogomolova reports, “I’ve met with Inna Dubravskaya five or six times over the past two years. We are the same age, we graduated from the same institute and we have a number of mutual friends. At first Inna only met with me because she wanted to ‘rescue’ me from Jews for Jesus. She thinks of herself as a very advanced spiritual specialist because she has some knowledge and experience in the Hindu religion.
“In the last six months Inna has been in the hospital several times with unexplained attacks of suffocation. Recently when I went to visit her in the hospital, I saw a Bible on her bed. Later in the visit, I suggested that she repent and accept forgiveness through Jesus. Before I could say anything else, she began to pray on her own, without any help from me. She accepted Jesus, not as the one of many ways but for what He truly is: ‘the way the truth and the life.’ Please pray for her healing and that the Lord will sever any and all other past spiritual/occult influences.”
Jan Antonacci is in charge of church relations in our Washington, DC branch (established 1989). She reports, “A woman received one of our broadsides at a metro stop during rush hour. It seems she had kept a broadside we handed her long ago, and when she received the second one, she felt that God was trying to get her attention. Diane is not Jewish, in fact her mother was a strong Christian. But Diane had never decided to follow Jesus for herself. All of our missionaries were out of the office, so I shared the gospel with her. I told her that God had been wooing her for years, showing His reality through the beauty of His creation with each star and every flower. I had no idea that she works in a flower shop but God knew, and He used that to strike a chord in Diane’s heart. She came to faith and we prayed over the telephone.
“Later that day, there was a knock on the door. A delivery man handed me an exquisite bouquet of flowers with a note: ‘Thank you so much for being there for me this morning. Love, Diane.’ I had told this new sister that there was a party in Heaven for her that day. Her flowers made me feel that I was invited to be part of it!”
From our Los Angeles branch (our very first branch established 1973), missionary Stan Meyer reports, “Helen Waller, a Christian in Riverside, phoned our office to ask if someone could visit her Jewish friend, Marcia. Marcia has been attending church with Helen for a few months. She seemed very open to the gospel but when Helen suggested that Marcia be baptized, she replied that since she was Jewish she wasn’t sure if she ought to.
“I ‘happened’ to be scheduled to speak at a church in Riverside the following Sunday, so I gave Marcia a call. She was delighted to meet with me and had many questions. She had never asked Jesus to be her personal Savior, and did so with me that day. Marcia will continue studying the Bible with Helen and we hope to see her baptized soon. Please keep her in prayer.”