Thanks for praying for our missionaries who were out and about presenting Christ in the Passover these past few weeks. Here are some of the early reports that have come in:
From the UK, missionary Julia Pascoe has this praise report:
"At one of my Christ in the Passover presentations, in Crediton, Devon, Martin, a self-proclaimed ‘Jewish Buddhist,’ introduced himself to me just before the service. He had been attending this church quite frequently and the family that was hosting me had been sharing the gospel with him for some time. At the end of the evening, I gave an invitation for anyone who had never asked Jesus into their hearts to do so. I prayed a prayer of repentance, and at the end, Martin raised his hand, indicating that he had prayed! My host bought a copy of Following Yeshua so that he can help with Martin’s discipleship. Also two children, Tiffany and Brady, (not Jewish) who had come with their family raised their hands. Their Mum brought them to the book table with her thumbs up, and a huge smile on her face.
Bob Mendelsohn (director of our Australia work) reported from Texas,
"When I first heard from some Christian ladies in Jasper, Texas, about an Israeli man his name stuck in my mind because the name (Patrick) did not sound Jewish at all. They were hearty in their recommendation for me to see him but could give me no other information other than the town where he lived and the restaurant that he used to run and possibly still did.
"The next day I had a five-hour drive to my meeting and left myself more than enough time to get there. About 30 minutes into the drive, I saw a sign for Patrick’s town. I turned and drove the nine miles north to the small town. The restaurant wasn’t open until 11 a.m., but undeterred, I walked around the back and found Patrick there, getting his hair cut. I introduced myself and we began a 90-minute conversation. He told me how he’d been on the Exodus ship back in the 1940s as a four-year old (he’s now 67), was reunited with his Jewish mother when he was twelve, lived in Holland where he was married, divorced, then how he was married 21 years, widowed, and is now in a serious relationship with a Brazilian Christian. He readily received my story booklet. I left amazed at the simple mention of a Jewish man I should visit, and my being able to find him because of God’s love for all people, and for Patrick. (The name came from the Catholic orphanage where he lived for a few early years before he was found by his mother.)
Also from Bob,
"Whenever I am in Houston I ring Michael, a Jewish classmate I was at school with some four decades ago. This year was no different. Michael had heard that I was speaking in his area, about twenty minutes from his farm, and he attended on his own. This was the first time he’d come to one of my presentations. He said, ‘You did a great job,’ but as you know, that’s never good enough. So we keep praying for him.
"And to my surprise, the next day, one of the ladies who serves as a secretary for him told me she attends a Baptist church and prays for Michael almost daily. She was thrilled when I told her he had attended my service the night before."
Rich Robinson, our headquarter’s scholar-in-residence, reports from Washington state:
"I returned this year to a church I was at a year ago in Selah, Washington. The point person for our model seder, Lance, has been friends with Miriam, a Jewish woman from Russia via Israel and now living in Yakima, where she is a teacher’s aide. She came to my meeting last year, and while she filled out a card for further contact, she never responded to my attempts to contact her for follow up.
"This year I asked Lance if he could arrange for the three of us to have coffee, which he did. As we talked, a few things came out. Miriam is an atheist though involved very much in Jewish things. She’s also by her own admission stubborn and tough. She was not really clear on the gospel, so we talked some about faith issues and the Bible. She has not read much of the Hebrew Scriptures, and started the New Testament, but ‘it wasn’t my style,’ she said. I encouraged her to read it as something every educated person should know. When she asked about the differences between denominations, it gave me an opportunity to share the essentials of the gospel that all Christians hold in common. One revealing moment came when we talked about sin, and she said that, well, maybe she was stubborn or just ‘full of myself.’ Interesting admission.
"Then she came again to the model seder. I couldn’t always tell if she was disconnecting or thinking. Lance, knowing her much better, said that she is indeed thinking. He will continue to track with Miriam. Please continue to pray as she comes to mind."
"I also had a chance to meet Ron, a Jewish man who came to one of my meetings with his wife and kids. He enjoyed being there, but fended off any spiritual conversation with, ‘I’m glad it works for you.’ But he got to hear the message and he too has a Christian friend who is tracking with him. So pray for Ron and his family, that he’ll emerge from his apparent complacency and grapple with who Jesus is.
"I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 3:6-7: ‘I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.’"
The Next Behold Your God Israel campaign is just around the corner. Click here if you would like to be praying for this extended time of witnessing.
Called to Controversy: The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus was released late in February, in print and also in electronic versions such as Kindle and Nook. We are so glad to announce that this week the book will be launched with a brand new program called BookShout! This will offer an electronic version of the biography on a platform that enables readers to follow comments by the author and other Jews for Jesus staff, as well as form their own reading circles to discuss the book electronically. Click here if you are interested in this application, and the ability to purchase an e-copy of Moishe’s biography to use with the application. (Please note, this link may not be live until the official launch of this application on April 18. Also, while the application will soon be ready for other devices, it is being rolled out in stages and the first stage is for iPads.) Next month, when we know a little more about the application, we’ll update you.
Responses to the biography have been positive so far—the publisher says sales have been above average, and the book has already gone to its second printing. Just last week we got our first two negative reviews, one from an independent blogger who moved from the UK to Israel and one from a Jewish publication. This is far from disheartening, as it shows that the Jewish community is beginning to engage with the book. Anyone who’s read the book will see that these reviews are quite slanted, and I hope anyone who hasn’t, won’t come to conclusions until reading the book for themselves (that’s a prayer request!). Click here to see the review that appeared in the Forward. Or, if you have a Facebook account, you can go to facebook.com/CalledtoControversy. If you "like" the page you will be updated on other interesting reviews or conversations that may arise about the book.