Here’s a report from the first two days of our outreach at the Maccabi Games* in Berlin. We have a small team of staff and experienced volunteers reaching out to the crowds, 99.9% of whom are Jewish people from all over the world!
Tolik: “On our way to hand out tracts at the Maccabi Games opening ceremony, our leader Leonid Dolganovsky said, ‘You know what? We seem to be arriving way too early. Let’s get off one stop before, give out some tracts there, and afterwards we can go to the stadium.’ So we got off the train and began a sortie.
“Within a few minutes, a married couple asked me in Russian, ‘Excuse me, are you representing the Maccabi Games here?’ I answered, ‘Yes and no.’
“His wife immediately understood and said, ‘Dear, don’t you see? These are Jews for Jesus.’
“‘Oh, that’s right! I’m sorry I did not get it at once,’ Gregory said. ‘So, what do YOU represent then?’ he asked. Which gave me a good chance to share the gospel with them. Gregory said he understood, but he would not want to be late for the games, and they left.
“An hour later, we were finally at the opening ceremony; there were so many Jewish people around us that it looked and felt as if we were in Israel. Berlin has not seen this many Jewish people for the past 70 years. Jews from Sweden, Israel, Canada, Turkey, USA, Germany, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and many other countries passed by us, first in a little human trickle, then by dozens, and later in hundreds! We Jews for Jesus were the first in the line of greeters, meaning we were the first sight that everyone saw when they came to the ceremony!
“Suddenly, as the crowds were finally thinning, I saw Gregory and his wife. I smiled and waved, and they came over to ask me to show them where the entrance was. I did, and they turned around to move on, but suddenly Gregory turned back and said, ‘Can you tell me some more about your mission?’ We talked for a while, and Gregory said, ‘Here’s my business card, please send me all the literature you have, I really like you.’ Leonid was passing by at that moment. He heard us speaking Russian, came to meet Gregory, and… ”
Leonid: “I discovered that Gregory not only lives in Dusseldorf, not far from me here in Germany, but we also come from the Ukrainian city of Kharkov, where we lived in the same neighborhood! I was very happy to share the gospel with this man. Gregory responded that this was too important an issue to discuss right there in the street. I agreed and invited him to our home for Shabbat. Please pray that Gregory and his wife will come to us, and that they will receive and believe the gospel.”
In the first two days of this outreach, the team handed out 11,755 gospel tracts, prayed with four people to receive the Lord, and have received contact information from 14 Jewish and 7 Gentile unbelievers who want to know more! We’ll give you the full “wrap up” story next week.
*For many years, Jewish people were routinely excluded from sports clubs and competitions. In response to this discrimination, the Maccabi Games, sometimes described as the Jewish Olympics, were instituted in the late 19th century. They are now held every four years in Israel, with regional competitions rotating throughout Europe. This is the first time they have been held in Berlin, at the very stadium where Hitler once presided over the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. It makes quite a statement about Jewish survival.