The Jews for Jesus leadership Council meets three times a year. Here are just a few highlights from our August meeting:
We voted to receive five enthusiastic Jewish believers onto our staff! This is a tremendous answer to our ongoing prayers for God to raise up the next generation of Jews for Jesus. Each new staff member has already been working alongside us to make the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide. We have:
- Chantale (who was part of our Light of the World campaigns in Germany)
- Sarah (who has been on numerous campaigns, most recently our 2011 Summer Witnessing Campaign in New York City)
- Dan (who has led our Camp Gilgal Midwest for several years and was one of the four campaign leaders serving with David Brickner in New York this summer)
- Yulia (who has been working with our branch in Israel)
- Avigail (who has also been working with our branch in Israel)
Please be praying for our new staff as they begin their training!
We are also excited that Avi Snyder, our European Director, and his wife Ruth will be moving to Budapest to work with Kata Tar, who will be leading a Jews for Jesus work there. Budapest has a significant Jewish population and we were encouraged to see that Avi has met a number of Christians there who are enthusiastic about our mission and eager to have us establish a presence.
On the second day of the Council meeting, as is our tradition, we had a sortie. In two hours, our group handed out 7,600 broadsides and received contact information from seven Jewish people who don’t yet know Jesus. One of the Jewish people was from France, and gave her information to Chantale, who had just been voted onto our staff the previous day!
Thank You for Praying!
We are so blessed to report answered prayer; here are the wrap-ups from campaigns in Germany and New York City, as well as from our 20th year of Camp Gilgal:
Avi Snyder, our European director, reports:
Our “Light of the World” campaigns in Berlin and Frankfurt have come to an end, but the Light has by no means dimmed. The day after the end of the Berlin campaign, as I rode a train to Essen, I found myself sitting next to a young Jewish woman who is a rabbinical student in the U.S. She’d gotten one of our tracts in Berlin a few days before, but hadn’t had time to stop and talk. Now, she was happy to make up for the opportunity that she’d missed. We had a good talk about the Lord, and she gave me her email address and promised to read the literature that I said I would send her.
By God’s grace, the teams in Berlin and Frankfurt handed out over 243,800 tracts during the three weeks of outreach, and we gathered 1,520 contacts, including 148 Jews and 768 Gentiles who don’t yet know Jesus. All of us are rejoicing over the 16 Jewish and 67 non-Jewish people who prayed with us to receive the Lord! Two of the Jewish people who prayed with us were Israelis, and six of the non-Jewish people who prayed were Muslims!
God gave us remarkable opportunities to share the Good News with such a wide range of people. For example, one night a young German man approached campaigner Greg in the metro because he saw the words “Juden für Jesus” (Jews for Jesus) on Greg’s shirt. Immediately, the German youth started to express his deepest grief and feelings of condemnation because of all that had happened to our people during the time of the Third Reich. But Greg told him, “I didn’t come to Germany to make you feel condemned. I came here to tell you that God loves you. We’ve all strayed from God. But Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead so that we can be forgiven.”
Throughout the conversation, Greg noticed out of the corner of his eye that two Israelis had been watching and listening to this conversation. As they all exited the train at the next stop, Greg said in Hebrew, “Erev tov” (good evening). The men responded in kind, and in a moment they were talking very freely and candidly with each other. The Israelis were puzzled, even troubled, that Greg could talk to the young German about God’s forgiveness. Greg explained, “I could only tell him about God’s forgiveness because God has forgiven me. Everyone is guilty of crimes against God, including you and me.” The Israelis listened as Greg explained the gospel message, and they promised to read some Hebrew literature he gave them, and provided their names and addresses back in Israel, for follow up.
Campaign wrap up: the final count for pieces of evangelistic literature handed out was 482,777. 985 people who do not know Jesus gave us contact information for follow up; of those, 336 were Jewish! Four Jewish people and 44 Gentiles prayed to receive Jesus.
As with Germany, we were wowed by the reports of what God did and the people that He arranged for our staff and volunteers* to meet on the streets of New York City. We only selected a portion of the campaign reports (and follow-up reports) and hope you will be encouraged to read them, and to see the photos taken by intern Monica Garrett. Please pray with us that the gospel seed sown in all these hearts bears fruit. (*We’ve included first and last names of our staff, and first names only for our volunteers.)
In 1974 we had our first Prophet March, which started at our Jews for Jesus office and went to the New York Public Library. This year we did the Prophet March again. Our campaigners all wore their green Jews for Jesus “MI HU—Who is He?” T-shirts and spread white theatrical paint on their faces. They were led by an Old Testament prophet lookalike (Ofer Levy), followed by two shofar players (David Brickner and Stewart Weinisch), lots of campaigners and, last but not least, Jeremiah Zaretsky playing a bass drum.
The parade definitely raised some eyebrows as the whole group marched from the office at 31st and Park, turned west towards 6th Avenue and Macy’s, and then continued north on 6th Avenue to Bryant Park at 40th Street. People took out their cell phones and started taking photographs; Twitter started getting busy and we had phone calls to the office.
We stopped at various places on the way to the park and we would speak or sing a few songs to the crowd that gathered. When we arrived at the park, we marched around it a few times and stopped occasionally to hand out literature and speak to people. Then we marched back to the office. There were very few people in midtown Manhattan who did not get a glimpse of the prophet and the “WHO IS HE?” campaigners from Jews for Jesus that day!
Last month we reported on our junior camps and asked prayer for the teen camps (ages 13-15) then in progress, as well as upcoming adventure camps (ages 16-18).
This year was our twentieth summer and it’s been humbling to see how faithfully God has met us. This year’s teen camp Bible lessons were based on the Gospel of Mark, centered around the theme, “Called to Serve.” Our adventure camps’ theme was “The Joy of Knowing and Serving God,” based on the book of Philippians.
Teen camp in New York: 22 campers enjoyed white water rafting, swimming, Tabernacle (worship time), and an overnight camping trip in the Adirondacks. At the story campfire the last night of camp, most of the campers stepped forward to share about what God had done and struggles they were facing in their lives. One camper asked for prayer for her dad, who does not believe in Yeshua and is hostile to the faith she shares with her mom and sister. One of our staff shared how she was challenged and strengthened in her own faith by this girl’s story.
Adventure camp on the East Coast started two weeks later as eighteen campers came together to spend a week hiking, camping and mountain biking in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Over the last year, one of the campers had been talking with one of the camp staff about doubting his faith and wrestling with what he believed. At camp, he connected with her again about the tug-of-war inside. Two days after camp, he saw the Lord answer and resolve something they’d specifically prayed about.
On the West Coast, 39 campers attended our teen camp. The week was packed full of fun: swimming, boating, a day trip to Yosemite National Park, Tabernacle, and campfires. Some of the campers took a little longer to connect, but as they worked through a series of low ropes challenges, a sense of teamwork and unity began to develop. It was wonderful to see God’s hand at work during Tabernacle and times of worship. By the end, seven campers renewed their commitment to Yeshua, and one camper surrendered to Him for the first time.
Our adventure camp on the West Coast began a week later. 24 campers had a great time camping and white water rafting on the Klamath River near the Oregon border. More importantly, from the very first night on the river, campers shared openly about what they were each looking for at camp and what they struggled with in their lives. On one of our last nights, we set aside a time of worship and sharing about what God showed them over the course of the week. This turned into a powerful night of seeing God’s faithful hand in these campers’ lives. Many made specific commitments to Him in response to the things they had shared. Five campers rededicated their lives to Him.
We stand in awe of what the Lord did in the lives of our campers and staff this summer. Please pray for everyone who participated as they transition back into normal life. Pray especially that they would continue to be open to God’s work in their lives, and that what the Lord showed everyone this summer will continue to grow and strengthen their relationships with Him.