Hanukkah in Odessa

Igor Barbanel, who directs our FSU branches, reports, “We wanted to hold a Hanukkah event at our recently renovated Odessa office and phoned to invite Jewish people who’ve indicated an interest in hearing more about Jesus. It was a small gathering of mostly new Jewish believers in Jesus, but there was also a Jewish seeker, Fedor, who had given me his contact information last year. I was surprised and excited when he came early to the service, giving us time to talk before everyone else arrived.

“During the service I gave the message, telling the story of Hanukkah, and also sharing from John 8:12 where Yeshua (Jesus) said that He is the Light of the World. At the end of the message I asked if anyone wanted to receive Yeshua, mainly because Fedor was there. Hallelujah, he raised his hand and said the sinner’s prayer out loud with me. I’m so grateful to the Lord that His arm is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear, as the prophet Isaiah says in chapter 59. Please pray for Fedor’s spiritual growth.

“We also held a Hanukkah service downtown. The day before, I was handing out tracts when I saw a man I thought I should speak to. Victor turned out to be Jewish, was open to the gospel message and gave me his contact info. I invited him to our downtown service—and you can’t imagine how glad I was to see him walk in with a big smile on his face. One hundred and five people attended. Near the end of the service, when I invited people to repent, Victor prayed to receive Yeshua. He was one of nine people (five Jews and four Gentiles) who came to the Light of the World that night.”

Sometimes it takes a year or more, and sometimes it takes just a few days for people we meet on the streets to come to faith. Please pray for the new believers in Odessa, and for our teams in Russia and Ukraine who brave very cold temperatures to reach people for Jesus.


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