Bits from the Branches
| Sam doing campus evangelism
Sam Rood reports: “While logged in on Echo Chat**, I received a chat request from Mel.* He was very interested in what the Bible had to say about the Messiah dying for our sins. He thought that it must be true that Jesus is the Messiah. I asked if he’d been able to speak with anyone about this. He said he hadn’t and explained that he is nervous and wants to take things slowly. I asked him if it was all right if I gave him a call. Mel preferred to call me, so I gave him my cell phone number, hoping that he was a sincere seeker.
“He called me the next morning, still clearly nervous, and told me that he believed that Jesus is Messiah. He said that Jesus had been on his mind for 30 years. Back in college he had friends involved in Campus Crusade for Christ (now known as Cru) who used to tell him about Jesus, and they made a real impact on him. More recently he saw our video, ‘That Jew Died for You,’ and started exploring our website. From there he found our ‘How to Know God’ site and had been closely studying it over the course of a week.
“I asked if he understood what it means to follow Jesus. He had a New Testament with him (though he said he’d never read it before), so we read Romans 10:9 and John 3:16. He was amazed. We talked about the verses, and I explained what salvation means. Mel understood, so I asked him if he was ready to pray and surrender his life to Yeshua. He wanted to take his time and think it over. I prayed with Mel that God would give him wisdom, clarity and courage. Then I encouraged him to read from the Gospel of John.
“A few hours later Mel called again; as he was reading John he became even more convinced. We talked a bit, and I asked again if he was ready to pray. We started praying, but when we got to the part about receiving Jesus, Mel stopped and explained why he wasn’t ready. He was very concerned about how his wife and kids would feel. He said that before he takes this step he needs to hear a confirmation from God. I’m still waiting to hear back from Mel, because he said that he would rather initiate contact and that he wants to take all of this slowly. Please keep Mel in your prayers.”
Avi Snyder reports, “One of our faithful volunteers, Istvan, brought a Jewish atheist named János to our Yom Kippur service last year. Istvan started as a volunteer with last year’s ‘Life from the Dead’ Budapest campaign. He took part in a training class I conducted on one-on-one evangelism and began accompanying me on visits as a translator. Eventually he began meeting with János on his own, which was the plan.
“János’ brother, also not a believer, came to make a video of the service. However, he failed to film the very end of the service, because he was busy praying to receive the Lord as the invitation was given! After subsequent meetings, János also prayed to receive the Lord.
“A year later, János still comes regularly to our monthly Havurah meetings as well as to Kata’s Shabbat dinners/Bible studies every other Friday night. According to Istvan, ‘János is reading the Bible day and night. It is amazing to see his transformation from atheist to Jewish believer in Jesus.'”
Please pray for fruitful High Holiday services in Budapest as well as our other branches around the world!
| David getting a contact
David Liebman reports, “Stephen Katz, who is the North American Director of Jews for Jesus, introduced me to Bob.* Stephen had been meeting regularly with Bob for quite some time. At first, Bob professed to be an atheist. However, by the time I met him, he was not only open to the truth of God’s existence but to faith in Jesus as well. Since then, Bob has continued to move closer to faith in Him. Please pray that God would move strongly on his heart as fear and other obstacles seem to stand in the way of a commitment. Please also pray his wife Susan* who, for many years, has been struggling with illness. A recent accident has made matters worse as Susan has had to face more intensive rehabilitation. Pray for my wife Rachel and me to be an encouragement to her as well.”
Rob Wertheim reports, “It has been seven years since Sandy and I moved to the San Francisco Bay area where I lead our local Jews for Jesus evangelistic work. Just as there are ‘micro climates’ in the area (weather can change drastically in the space of a few miles), so it is when it comes to evangelism.
“Within a two-hour period, I’ve been able to distribute 500 broadsides (i.e. gospel tracts) and have meaningful conversations at San Francisco State University. When I go broadsiding at U.C. Berkeley on the other side of the Bay, I may hand out 200 broadsides in the same amount of time and the apathy and lack of tolerance on the campus is palpable. Yet there have been some good interactions at Berkeley as well.
“While handing out broadsides across the street from the campus, I saw a young Jewish woman wearing an Israeli military sweatshirt. By the time I registered this, she had walked by. However, a few minutes later, she walked past me again and this time I was able to engage her in a brief conversation. She told me that one of her relatives is a ‘Jew for Jesus’ (though not on our staff). She didn’t seem open to the gospel but I mentioned that we have a weekly Shabbat dinner attended by some college age students and that we would contact her about it if she were interested. The next thing I knew, she started attending the dinners pretty regularly. Though she still does not seem very open, she’s been motivated to take public transportation from Berkeley to San Francisco and back, so I think there must be some interest there. Please pray for her to become more open to the gospel.
“Recently, I met an older Jewish man, Jon,* on the campus. He attended U.C. Berkeley many years ago and regularly uses their library. I would venture to say that he is a scholar. We spoke briefly, and when I asked him if he would be willing to meet over coffee to chat more, he agreed to see me later that day.
“We met at 5 p.m. I asked Jon about his background, listened, and shared my story. Then I opened up the Scriptures to Isaiah 53 and let him read the entire passage. When he was finished, I asked if it sounded like anyone he could think of and he said, ‘Jesus!’ I explained that this was one of many passages in the Jewish scriptures describing the Jewish Messiah. Before we parted, I asked him if he would be open to meeting again and he said yes. Please pray that we will be able to meet again and that he will open his heart to Yeshua.”
| Heather doing online evangelism
Heather Drake (just before moving to join our Florida branch!) reported,
“I met Mark on Echo Chat.** He is a Conservative Jew who is very curious about Jesus. He was checking out our website and was excited to talk to another Jewish person about Jesus. He said he had a New Testament and wanted to talk more later. He asked if there would there be someone to talk to him ‘when he was ready.’ I told him we have staff and volunteers around the world, mostly Jewish, who would be able to talk to him when he returned. He replied ‘awesome.’ Please pray for Mark’s salvation and healing (he recently had surgery).”
*not their real names
** Interested in volunteering to help us in the “Echo Chat” chatroom?