Back to School
Rob Wertheim is 53 years old and he’s going back to school this month. He’s not pursuing another degree—he already has a master of music in viola performance from the Manhattan School of Music, as well as a master’s degree in missiology with an emphasis on Jewish studies from Fuller Seminary’s School of World Mission.
Rob’s going back to school just like he does every September, to reach students with the gospel of Jesus. “There’s a sense of freshness and openness at the beginning of the school year,” Rob says. “People are open to getting involved in things they may not have considered before.”
Rob is not the only Jews for Jesus missionary hitting the campuses this month. We have missionaries of all ages in cities around the world who are doing the same. “Age doesn’t seem to be an issue,” Rob shrugs. There may be some students who will only talk about “deep stuff” with people their own age, but that hasn’t been Rob’s experience. Still, Rob is glad for some of his younger colleagues so that seekers can have a wide range of exposure to the gospel.
Take Jeff* for example. He saw Rob handing out broadside tracts at San Francisco State in 2009. A transfer student, he was surprised to see Rob’s familiar face. He approached Rob and said, “I don’t know if you remember me, but I used to give you a hard time when you were passing those out at City College last year.” Rob smiled and the two had a great conversation. Whereas Jeff had been somewhat mocking in his response to Rob the previous year, now he was ready to get together and discuss spiritual matters over coffee. We asked you to pray for him in a newsletter a while back.
Jeff began attending Jews for Jesus functions, including a monthly fellowship meeting at Rob’s house; Jeff even came to our Ingathering last fall, where he met many other Jews who believe in Jesus.
Rob continues to meet with Jeff, but is also delighted that Jeff has made friends with several other Jews for Jesus staff, including a group of young men who have included Jeff in their regular Bible studies. He is also attending church fairly regularly. “He believes a lot of the New Testament and looks up to Jesus’ teachings,” says Rob, “but he still struggles with all that he doesn’t know yet. He wants to be sure that if he follows Jesus, it’s for the right reasons.”
To Jeff, faith in Jesus is serious and would require a big commitment. He’s not sure if he’s ready yet … but he’s heading in that direction.
Please pray for Jeff and for all the students who will be interacting with our missionaries and outreach workers on their campuses this semester. Pray for Rob, that he will be joined in Bay Area campus ministry by faithful friends and volunteers. May Jeff and many more Jewish students open their hearts and minds to Jesus during this school year.
Rob heads up our evangelistic branch in San Francisco. His wife Sandy, also a Jewish believer, works in our data entry department. Their testimonies will soon be available in a booklet titled, “Tackling Tradition: Two Jews, One Truth.”
Tracy Rapp reports, “Great News! Jews for Jesus now has an official campus ministry at Arizona State University in Tempe. Our campus group’s name is [email protected] Praise the Lord!!! We have had a heart to be on this campus since opening the branch of Jews for Jesus in Phoenix four and a half years ago.
“When our singing team, Blue Mosaic, was here in February, we reserved the stage for them in the busiest place on campus. As I was watching them play, a professor approached me with great enthusiasm and said, ‘I want to support you in any way I can.’ That was the start. The Lord started opening doors and we found three officers to make our group official. After jumping through a few hoops, we were able to start our group before the school year ended. As a registered group on campus, it’s easier to have a book table, campus Bible studies and special events, in addition to the usual sorties (tract-passing expeditions).
“We have had a book table on campus for the last three weeks. God is doing an amazing work. Yesterday, our table was right across from the Chabad campus ministry, and not far from Hillel. Across from Hillel was a very large Palestinian group protesting Israel. (Chabad is an outreach arm of Orthodox Judaism, and Hillel is a group of Jewish kids who gather to encourage one another in their Jewish roots.)
“Things are heating up, people are watching us and we’ve had many great conversations. Our hearts’ desire is that the students on campus will be drawn to the Lord and come to know that Jews can and do believe in Jesus.
“Please pray that the Lord will open the door for us to show Forbidden Peace on campus and that many people would come, both Jewish and Arab. Pray for our Bible study on campus, and for opportunities to have another Jews for Jesus music team at ASU.
Tracy Rapp, a “Gentile for Jesus,” is married to Bruce, a Jewish believer who leads our Phoenix outpost.
*Name has been changed.