Here, there and everywhere—including Lyon, France where the Festival of Lights is probably not what you think it is …
Our most recent Hanukkah outreach report comes from our New York Branch.
Rachel Friedlander reports, “On the fourth night of Hanukkah, our New York City staff headed to the very Jewish neighborhood of 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue. There, we set up a table with a large, double-sided foam core sign on which Amer Olson had skillfully drawn an enormous menorah with the words, ‘Need a Miracle?’ We asked passersby if there was something they needed in their lives—something that seemed impossible.
“New Yorkers stopped to jot their answers on colorful sticky notes and plaster them all over the menorah board. Some asked for prayer, others wanted to talk about Hanukkah, our beliefs and our organization. Some were angry, of course—one of our missionaries was slapped by a disgruntled resident. But the overall reaction was predominantly curiosity and interest.
“We also set up a camera, filming those willing to answer the questions, ‘What miracle do you need in your life?’ and ‘What miracles have you experienced?’
“Around our ‘Miracle Station’ several missionaries handed out free candles with cards attached, wishing the public a happy Hanukkah. The cards explained that Yeshua is the shamash, the Servant who ignites each of us with the Light of Life! It also included our contact information and quoted John 8:12, ‘When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”‘ May New York City truly be ignited from within with the light of Yeshua!”
From France, our Paris branch leader Joshua Turnil reports, “I was recently in Lyon for the annual Festival of Lights. Lyon is a city of under one million people, but once a year the town is flooded with more than five million who come to celebrate the Festival of Lights.
The holiday’s origins are Catholic, but it has become a secular, multi-cultural gathering. ?People adorn their windows with lights and celebrate that the city was freed from the Black Plague. The holiday often coincides with the festival of Hanukkah, as it did this year on the eighth of December.
“Ten volunteers teamed up to hand out over 21,000 broadsides at the festival, which draws all kinds of people. We were speaking with atheists, Muslims, traditional Catholics and of course some Jewish people.
“Please pray that all those that came for the Festival of Lights and got our Juifs pour Jésus (Jews for Jesus) tract might be able to see Yeshua the true light and let him in!”
For Hanukkah and Christmas street outreach minus the cold weather, come volunteer with us Down Under.
Jews for Jesus greet holiday shoppers in Sydney, Australia . . . where it is summer!
Also in Sydney, we have a storefront that offers, among many other things, Hanukkah menorahs (Hanukkiot). Rahel Landrum was encouraged by the opportunity to witness to three Israeli shoppers. She says, “First, two women came to buy Hanukkiot. One mentioned that she’d heard of Messianic believers in Israel. The other said our bookshop seemed more pleasant and welcoming than the only other Judaica shop in Sydney and she was curious about our faith. They both left with New Testaments and other Hebrew books and said they’ll be back. Another Israeli came in, wanting to buy a Hanukkiah for his wife. He asked me who I thought killed Jesus. I shared with him about the reason Jesus came. He gave his life for our atonement; no one could take it without His permission. Michael listened and said he had never heard this before, though he had read parts of the New Testament. He said he would come back to continue the conversation. Please pray for Sivan, Karen and Michael.”
From Brazil, Sergio Danon reports, “We had a sortie at a Hanukkah event at Copacabana Beach. Fewer people came than I had expected, but still two volunteers and I were able to hand out 2,100 tracts. Two Israeli seekers gave their contact information to hear more about Jesus. They seemed quite open. A Brazilian rabbi who did not seem so open surprisingly gave his contact information as well.”
In South Africa, we had a Hanukkah party last Friday in partnership with Beit Yeshua Messianic Congregation, which we jointly pastor in Johannesburg. Alison B. (temporarily leading our Johannesburg branch) reports, “Just over 100 people were present, including twenty Jewish believers plus two unsaved Jewish people. It had been Barry’s [Alison’s husband] and my heart’s desire to have seekers attend the party.
Barry presented a children’s drama retelling the story of Hanukkah and I spoke on the connection between Hanukkah and Christmas. The gospel was also clearly stated.
One of our guests, Harry (Jewish and not yet a believer in Jesus), had met with Barry several times before the party. A couple of days after the event, Harry rang Barry to say how he had enjoyed this Hanukkah party more than any other he had been to, and how he had felt a sense of inclusion and love there. Pray for Harry; we look forward to how God is going to move in his heart.
Meanwhile our Phoenix branch held their Hanukkah party in Tempe, near the campus of ASU. They had lotsa latkes (fried potato pancakes), songs and a visiting Maccabee (well not really) to tell the story of Hanukkah.