Paris Hanukkah Outreach Wrap-Up

Paris branch leader Joshua Turnil reports, “Thank you for praying for our Hanukkah outreach. We handed out about 550 New Testaments and learned quite a bit about this kind of ministry in the process. We also phoned all the Parisian Jewish people on our database who do not yet believe in Jesus—555 people—and connected with 164. Our ministry to those who were willing to talk will continue in the weeks to come, and we hope to meet with many personally. Please pray that many will be open to hear more about Jesus.

“As mentioned last week, we were stopped by the police while out on the streets. Not only did they not want us to hand out the New Testament, but they did not want us to sing. Still, our songs seemed to please passersby as some stopped to hum Maoz Tsur (traditional Hanukkah song) or something else . . . but we couldn’t do this for long.

“There was also spiritual opposition as Chantale, Karl and I were unnaturally exhausted—despite encouraging conversations on the phones and street encounters. We began our Saturday evening Hanukkah event in a state of fatigue. At first the turnout seemed meager, but the attendance trickled on throughout the evening. We ended up with nine Jewish people who don’t yet believe in Jesus, eight Jewish people who do, as well as six Gentile seekers and seven Gentile Christians.

“The service was short and sweet with a straightforward gospel message, a brief story and lots of music. People stayed with us from 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., when we told them that we needed to leave.  Many were clumped together talking and/or praying together. Everyone seemed to have a great time.

Chantale and Karl (second and third from left): music for street outreach

“It was great to have Jon* attend; he’s both Israeli and French, and received a tract from my wife Delphine years ago. He thought the idea of Jews for Jesus was humorous, but remembers being challenged by her story and left his contact details. I met with him back then, but he was not especially open to the gospel and I hadn’t seen him in quite a while. He was one of the people we’d phoned last week.

“Two Jewish believers formerly on our staff also came: Etienne and Sabrina. It was great to have them witnessing and sharing with people throughout the evening. Etienne particularly connected with Jon, who seems to have become quite spiritual and open to Jesus. Etienne asked if he could pray that God would reveal to Jon who Jesus really is. Jon replied that he would like that, and so Etienne said he’d write it down in his calendar and remember to pray for him regularly. Jon said, ‘No, I want you to pray right now!’ Etienne put his hand on Jon’s shoulder and asked Jesus to reveal Himself to him. Jon told me before he left, ‘I had a really interesting time with Etienne. Thanks for inviting me!’

Hanging out after the Hanukkah service (Josh Turnil, right)

“Another interesting encounter was with Dan,* who works for the Israeli embassy. We had never met him; he came with his Christian girlfriend. I could see that his guard was up, even though I made a point of making him feel welcome. I decided that rather than trying to speak to him throughout the evening, I would introduce him to as many other people as possible. He met believers as well as all the other Jewish people who don’t yet believe in Jesus—including another Israeli who was born in Tel Aviv in 1929. Dan was quite impressed. Sabrina, one of our former missionaries, ended up explaining Jews for Jesus to him in Hebrew.

“In the end he said to me in Hebrew, ‘Kol kavod** for organizing such a great evening with so many interesting people.’ To which I responded ‘Kol hakavod to me? No, Kol Kavod to you for everything you are doing for our people and the state of Israel.’ He was a bit moved by this and then I added, ‘You know, we are still Zionists*** here.’ He replied somewhat wistfully, ‘There are less and less of you.’ He shook my hand again and said he hoped we would meet again.”

* not their real names

** literally means “all the honor,” but is usually used to mean “well done” or “good job.”

***while many other meanings have been imputed to this term, a Zionist is simply one who supports the State of Israel.


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