More Hanukkah stories from…
New York City
Last month we mentioned that our New York team went to the Upper West Side of Manhattan with a poster of a Hanukkah menorah where people could post the miracle they were hoping for. As well, the team made a video as they asked people on the streets that same question.
Missionary trainee Arielle Randle who was part of the outreach reports,
“On our Hanukkah outreach a man named Carlo approached me with an eyeroll saying, ‘Ugh, Jews for Jesus – – I’m sick of you guys!’ But since we were giving out Hanukkah candles, he stuck around to pick out a few colors. I asked him what he thought about Jesus and he said that He was a great teacher, adding that he knew all about Jesus because of his time studying Kabbalah. Carlo, a Sephardic Jew from France, now lives in New York. I told him one of our missionaries is sometimes up in his neighborhood. I asked if he would be open to getting together with him to talk about what the Torah says about the Messiah. He said, “Tell him to give me a call.” Stewart called Carlo and they arranged to get together. Pray for Carlo to connect with Stewart and, more importantly, with the Jesus of the Bible!”
Lighting the Hanukkah menorah in Budapest
European director Avi Snyder reports, “Though our Budapest branch is still very young (only a year old), we’re encouraged by what we’re seeing the Lord do. Last month, we celebrated the second night of Hanukkah with a ‘Havurah’ meeting for Jewish believers and Jewish inquirers. At the end of his message, staff member Aaron Lewin gave an invitation, and a Jewish man prayed to receive the Lord. To be honest, we’re not entirely certain how well ‘Z’ understood the invitation, so please pray for his genuine grounding in the faith.
“Aaron, Kata Tar, myself and a handful of faithful volunteers were on the streets for much of the month, handing out ‘broadside’ gospel tracts that declare, ‘Without Hanukkah, there would be no Christmas!’ We also held a large Hanukkah party. Pray that many who joined us to celebrate the Festival of Lights will be drawn to the Light of the World.”
Last month we told you about some evangelistic opportunities from our Sydney storefront as several Jewish people dropped in. The branch also had a three-day outreach. Julia Pascoe, temporarily leading the branch while Bob Mendelsohn is on sabbatical reports,
“Mark and Rahel Landrum and I were joined by part-time volunteers on the streets of Sydney and Bondi, where we handed out 7,000 tracts in three days and received contact information from three Jewish people willing to know more about why we believe in Jesus.
“On the first day of our outreach, my sortie was almost finished, when I noticed an older man reading our December Dilemma’ tract. I sat beside him and asked, ‘Christmas or Hanukkah?’ He replied ‘Hanukkah! I’m Jewish.’ I introduced myself, and Daniel gave me his name and said, that he was originally from India and that he attends synagogue regularly.
“I had a good opportunity to share the gospel with him and later that day I emailed him. Daniel came to our weekly Bible study just before Christmas – turns out that one of our regular attenders, Ezra, knows Daniel’s sister! We’d value prayer that Daniel will continue to attend, and that God would use Ezra in his life as well as his sister’s.
“Two days after our outreach, I was shopping for our Hanukkah gathering and struck up a conversation with a woman as we waited in line for the cashier. When I explained that our Hanukkah party was hosted by Jews for Jesus, Lyn had a long list of questions. Her father’s family were Hungarian Jews that perished in Poland during the Holocaust. Lyn really wanted to know more about Jesus, so please pray as I call her, that God will prepare her heart to receive His salvation.”
In Ukraine, where it is too cold for many people to stop outside and talk to people handing out tracts, our teams like to conduct what they call “visits campaigns” where they concentrate on dropping in on as many people as possible from our database.
Here are a couple of highlights from the Odessa visits campaign:
Olga Vasserman reports, “Hanukkah is the time of miracles.
It was really a great blessing for a volunteer from our congregation, Nadya, and me to see a miracle that God worked. God lit His light in the heart of one of my contacts, Malvina, and she prayed to receive the Lord. Please pray for her further growth in God, and especially that God grants her a desire to come to the congregation.”
Gena Gelman reports, “God blessed every day of our visits campaign. I’d especially like to describe a visit that began during the campaign, and finished a week later. Nadya, a volunteer from my congregation, prayed for open Jewish hearts before we started doing drop-in visits. We came to the first address, rang the doorbell, but nobody answered. I rang again, but there was silence. Nadya said, ‘Nobody home.’ I said, ‘Hold on.’ And I rang the third time. This time somebody said, ‘Who is there?’
"I said, ‘This is Gena. I want to speak to Emily.’ The door opened, and Emily invited us in. I explained why we had come and Emily listened as if waiting for a question from me. I asked who she thinks Jesus is. She answered, ‘A Jew and the Son of God.’ I asked, ‘Why did He come to the earth?’ She answered, ‘To do good things.’
“I opened the Bible and read from John 3:16. Then I said, ‘Jesus didn’t just come to do good things, He came to take away our sins.’ Emily said that she would think about that. I promised to visit her again in a week.
“In a week, I returned with our volunteer. Emily was very glad to see us. I asked if she had reflected on what we talked about last time. She answered, ‘Of course.’ I offered to read Isaiah 53 to her. She agreed. I asked if that Scripture passage spoke to her mind and heart. She said, ‘Certainly, yes.’
"We prayed the sinner’s prayer, and tears streamed down her face. She said that a load had been taken off her mind. I answered, ‘You are pure before the Lord, and your name is written in the Book of Life.’ Her face was shining at that moment.
“Emily is ill with Parkinson’s disease. I’m grateful to the Lord that He acts so wonderfully. Pray for spiritual growth for Emily, for her healing, and that she will be able to attend our Shabbat meetings.”