Here’s where we let you know what is going on right now with our Summer Witnessing Campaign in New York City, offer you our newest broadside tract, Are You a Food Network Junkie?, tell what is coming up in the near future, and report back to you on news from previous prayer requests from Jews for Jesus around the world . . . New items are on top; SCROLL DOWN to read about answers to prayer including outreaches in Chicago, Washington D.C. . . . but first, this important update about supporting Israel:
DOES YOUR FAVORITE ISRAEL SUPPORT GROUP BAN WITNESSING TO JEWS?
We thank God for Christians who support Israel. But whom should we “thank” for Christian support groups that bar anyone who will not “put aside their desire to share the gospel with Jews?”
Outrageous as it may sound to anyone who believes all are lost outside of Christ, such groups exist. Note: we do NOT believe that evangelism must be the only, or even the primary goal of every Christian group. We do believe it is deplorable for a Christian group to prohibit its participants from sharing the gospel with Jews or anyone else.
Many in the Jewish community are curious and concerned about the motives of evangelical support for Israel. It is not surprising that some fear that Christian friendship for Israel might include a hidden agenda. The surprise is that some Christians are willing to muzzle the gospel in order to calm those fears. That is not Christian love. Christian love says, “I care for and support you whether or not you ever believe in Jesus.” It does not say, “Have no fear, I will not try to share Jesus with you.”
Yet the latter statement seems (to us) to sum up the position of Christians United for Israel, whose executive director, David Brog, addressed a recent meeting of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, D.C. Doubtless, Brog said some good things about Christian support of Israel. But if he said anything close to the following, reported in the online edition of the Washington Jewish Week, it is bad news indeed:
“Speaking the same week that Jews for Jesus is in the midst of its ‘Washington, D.C. Summer Campaign,’ Brog, in response to a question, also stressed that all CUFI [Christians United for Israel] events are ‘strictly nonconversionary’ and that the group ‘will have no Jewish converts as speakers at events’ or on the organization’s board. Brog said the group tells people, ‘If you cannot put aside your desire to share the Gospel with Jews, there’s the door.'”
(The above is an excerpt from “Educating on evangelicalsAuthor [sic] briefs Jews on perceptions vs. reality by Eric Fingerhut, published July 4, 2007.)
Apparently, a Jew who professes faith in Jesus, missionary or not, is disqualified as a speaker or a board member for CUFI. Perhaps they realize that the mere existence of Jewish believers in Jesus might constitute an invitation for other Jews to consider Christ. But why should any Christian behave as though that were wrong?
There are many ways for Christians to support Israel. We hope you will choose one (or more) that do not compromise the gospel. A simple way to know where an organization stands on this matter is to send a letter. Direct it to the head of the organization and ask, “Please let me know your policy on the following. If I were to participate in one of your events, would I be allowed to share with a Jewish person that salvation comes only by grace through faith in Jesus, should the opportunity to converse about spiritual matters arise?” The response you receive (or don’t receive) will tell you what you need to know.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND NEW PRAYER REQUESTS:
Mazel tov to the Levys, Ofer and Sarah (training in New York), on the birth of their son Matthew on June 21.
Mazel Tov to Yoel and Adel Ben David, missionaries in Israel, on the birth of their son, Natanel, born July 11.
Please pray for health and strength for these families, for the babies to grow in grace and that they will come to know Jesus at an early age. Please pray for all our missionary families, that we and our children (including adult “children”) will walk closely with the Lord.
Please pray for Dan and Dinah Sered, who are expecting their baby any time (Dinah’s due date was July 10.)
APPRECIATION . . .
was shown for our own Susan Perlman at a recent meeting of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization,* where she received a Lifetime Service Award for years of service in the cause of world evangelism as well as leadership in the Lausanne movement. Mazel Tov, Susan!
* The Lausanne Movement is a global network of Christian leaders from missions, churches and educational and training institutions who share a commitment to world evangelization. The movement was launched at the prompting of Dr. Billy Graham at the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelization (Lausanne I) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Our Washington D.C. outreach was reported on in the Washington Post. The article is extremely fair in stating our beliefs.
Also, as a result of the D.C. outreach, National Public Radio (NPR) recorded a “lunchtime debate” between a local synagogue member and our missionary (and this year’s outreach organizer and leader) Larry Dubin. To hear the story click here.
Though the two-week outreach had no budget for media coverage, God provided some excellent coverage to amplify the message.
The “New York Post” and “Newsday” have reported on the struggles we’ve had regarding free speech in Oyster Bay, N.Y. You can view those articles from the Jews for Jesus website: http://www.jewsforjesus.org ( See “More News: Free Speech?” )
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN BE PRAYING FOR RIGHT NOW!
THE NEW YORK CITY SUMMER WITNESSING CAMPAIGN
Thus far campaigners have handed out 280,450 broadside tracts, collected contact information for 75 Jewish and 135 Gentile seekers who are willing to hear more about Jesus, and prayed with two Jewish people and five Gentiles to receive the Lord.
For photos of the New York City Summer Witnessing Campaign, click here. (Photos by Martha J, former Jews for Jesus staffer. She and her husband Loren, who leads a Messianic congregation in Michigan, are this year’s campaign chaplains.)
We need you to continue praying for this campaign.
Please pray that God will strengthen the campaigners and use them in the lives of many people. Pray for them to be energetic despite the heat. Please pray that we will see both Jews and Gentiles come to faith. And please remember to pray for Shaun and Josh, who are leading this year’s campaign.
Please also pray for our follow-up team (Robyn, Larry, Susan), that their calls and letters will result in continued fruitful ministry to many.
Your prayers make a difference!
We look forward to reporting campaign stories next month, but here are a few to whet your appetite:
“I met a young Jewish woman who was dressed up like a fairy, including wings, at Union Square Park. She was distributing flyers for a bookstore that sold ‘spiritual books.’ She asked me what Jews for Jesus was all about and explained that she’s been curious for a couple of years now. She asked one sincere question after another and listened, without interruption, to more information than most inquirers can handle. Please pray for Kathy, that these gospel seeds will flourish and that she will come to know the Messiah.”
“I met Reinhold at Battery Park. His parents were German Jews who hid their Jewishness from everyone, even when they moved to the United States after World War II. Reinhold was depressed because he was jobless and wondering what he was going to be doing for the rest of his life. I presented the gospel and he responded by praying, right there on the park bench, to receive the Lord!”
Also from Cyril:
“We were in Bryant Park when I approached a young man named Marco, who had a big gash on his head. He looked like he was really at the end of himself. As we spoke I learned that he had grown up in a Catholic home, but no one had really shared the simple gospel message with him. As I began sharing the plan of salvation with him, two Christian guys sitting near us overheard our conversation and began to participate. They began sharing their own testimonies and encouraging him. Marco agreed to surrender his life to God right there. We all prayed with him while he wept. The other two Christian men were really excited. It was a blessed time! Please pray for Marco to grow in faith and for his life to turn around (he is homeless).”
“I work on the follow-up team and am contacting the folks the campaigners are meeting on the streets. In fact, I already have an appointment with a man named Donald. Would you pray for his salvation? I also talked with a man named Joseph recently. He had only given our campaigner his name and phone number, not wanting to receive any mail. When I called him, he said, “This isn’t a good place to call, but I want to talk with you.” I believe he is Orthodox, and he would like to meet in the next week or two, so please pray for him.”
We also wanted to give you a glimpse of some of the campaigners’ first sorties in Chicago, especially for those of you praying for them during training last month:
“Before a training sortie, I prayed that I would give out at least 300 tracts. When I came to my corner I began to hand out broadsides. After 5-10 minutes a car pulled up next to me and a young lady got out and was doing a free candy promotional beside me. She told people that anyone who took my tracts would get a free candy! A huge crowd of people gathered and I gave out 700 tracts. Praise the Lord!” [Ed: that’s what we call a sweet sortie!]
“As I was broadsiding, a young lady refused my tract; as usual, I responded by saying ‘God bless you.’ After a minute she came back and took a tract. I smiled and kept broadsiding. Two minutes later she came back and asked for my name, wanting to know if I was from Israel. I told her my name and that I come from the ‘Holy Land.’ She then became interested enough to hear my story and how many Jewish Israelis are coming to Yeshua because they are searching for the truth. She asked several questions, took the tract and left. I felt that it was a divine meeting.”
“While broadsiding on a bridge in Chicago I met a lady by the name of Cathy. She looked confused and alone. I asked if she knew Jesus; she said, ‘No.’ I asked her if I could pray for her and if she wanted Jesus in her life. She said, ‘Yes, I want to receive Jesus and have a relationship with Him.’ We prayed in the middle of the afternoon amongst the crowds and she was overjoyed. Please pray the Lord will continue working in her life.”
“During a sortie in downtown Chicago a man took a broadside and asked me about Jesus. I explained to him that I was there to ask people who they think Jesus is. He listened as I went through the proposal statement, and he received Jesus as his Messiah. His name is Francisco. After he left, more and more people came to me actually asking for tracts.”
Click here for photos from campaign training.
JEWS FOR JESUS SUMMER CAMP MINISTRIES
We had 42 campers, 22 of whom were first-timers, at the junior camp of Camp Gilgal West. Eleven campers that we know of surrendered their hearts to the Lord, along with five recommitments. Our camp ministries continue throughout the summer in various places, and for teens as well as juniors. Please keep this vital ministry in prayer; pray of course for the campers to draw close to the Lord, and also pray for our staff and volunteers as they continue leading our summer camp programs.
THE SAN FRANCISCO BRANCH IS BACK!
Welcome to Rob Wertheim who moved to San Francisco with his family last month. Rob has reopened the San Francisco branch (not to be confused with our administrative headquarters, which is also in San Francisco).
Our SF branch has a small staff (Rob and Viktor Moiseyenko, who reaches out to Russian-speaking Jews in the area), but Rob has already begun to energize volunteers and some of the headquarters staff to join him in lifting up the name of Jesus in the Bay Area. He took advantage of All-Star week to schedule a number of sorties and we also scheduled the headquarters Day of Evangelism to coincide with All-Star week. (Each July, our SF HQ has a day of evangelism to reach out, but also to show solidarity with our Summer Witnessing Campaign going on in New York City.)
For photos of the Day of Evangelism in San Francisco, click here.
Please pray for preparations for the “mini-campaign” our staff and volunteers will conduct in Berlin from 8/26 – 9/1/2007
A Rolling Stones concert is sure to draw a crowd in Germany, and our staff and volunteers will hand out special broadsides for this event on 8/10 and 8/11, with the concert taking place on 8/13.
Tuvya and Ellen Zaretsky will be attending the annual meeting of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference July 16-19. Please pray for a spiritual partnership with members of this denomination, and particularly that they will want to work with us in outreach to Jewish-Gentile couples.
Mark Landrum is traveling up north in Queensland from July 15 to 22. Please pray for him to have success finding Jewish people who are scattered up north and that many churches will be moved to join with us in reaching Jewish people for Jesus.
Bob Mendelson is going to Singapore from July 19-30. He will be preaching in many churches and meeting up with Jewish contacts from the past. Also we are opening “Jews for Jesus Singapore” as an official agency with an Annual General Meeting. Please pray for all the legal details, for good ministry to our Jewish contacts and for churches to respond really well to our work and our workers.
FOLLOW UP FROM PREVIOUS PRAYER REQUESTS:
You might recall we had asked prayer concerning the false arrest of Cyril Gordon at the 2006 Israel Independence Day Festival. We reported that we were able to hand out broadsides freely at this year’s festival. However, as we work toward making the matter of free speech at this festival permanent, LA staff members met with the defendant’s attorneys, the LA City Attorney and Festival organizers. Meanwhile, we are praying for the salvation of Yoram, Shai and Steve, who are all Israelis involved in this case. We will meet again with them during the first week of August.
In May we asked you to pray for Massah, a new discipleship/evangelism program we’ve designed for young adults. The program begins in Israel and then takes the participants out to an area typically popular among Israelis.
Aaron Abramson, one of the Massah leaders reports from Israel, “Overall I am finding this a tremendous experience like nothing I have been involved in before with Jews for Jesus.
“These first few weeks we have been studying and traveling together throughout Israel.”
“Early on in the program we did evangelism at the Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv. It was amazing to see our team in action: each one of them was interacting. At one point I saw Becka and Scott surrounded by a bunch of guys and I thought they might need some help, but the two of them shared Yeshua with the crowd and had a good discussion. Many people came back with contacts. Another day, we wrote up surveys as a group and talked to people in Tel Aviv. Twenty-eight Israelis gave us their contact information to hear more about Yeshua.”
“We have also met with other ministries in Israel and that has been encouraging.”
Here are some of the things you can pray for:
- Pray that we will be able to reach many Israelis, and that the team will continue to draw closer to God and one another.
- Pray for those in the group who have been appointed team leaders for this second section of the trip, that God will bless and strengthen them for the task.
- Pray for strong spiritual and physical health.
- Pray for Daniel, who is responsible for much of the onsite planning.
We look forward to reporting more for the August RealTime, and by then we should also have some photos!”
CHICAGO SUMMER OUTREACH
Reported by Chicago branch leader, Amer Olson
On the first night of the Chicago outreach, David Lovi led a young Gentile man to the Lord at Belmont and Clark (an alternative lifestyle neighborhood). Pray that as God gives Daniel a new heart and a new mind, he will follow through and be empowered to trust and obey the Lord.
That same night, a couple stopped to take a tract (one from our “Jewish Jokes of the Day ” series). The woman, Maureen, asked if I was Jewish. After hearing that I was, she said it was then okay for me to tell Jewish jokes (she is Jewish, too). She actually asked me to read it out loud to her, and then when I was done, to read another one. When I asked her what she thought about Jesus, I learned that she visits a Unitarian church. I asked whether she had ever been to a Messianic congregation, and she agreed to let me e-mail her and tell her about the services in her area. Pray that Maureen will take an interest not only in Messianic congregations, but also in the Messiah Yeshua.
Jews for Jesus drove one of our ministry vans in the Skokie Parade on July 4, flanked by several of us in Jews for Jesus T-shirts. What great exposure to the many Jewish people in Skokie! Some were upset, others indifferent (though many Christians cheered), but the most common response from Jewish people was a confused look, followed by turning to the person next to them as if to ask, “How did they manage to get into this parade?!”
On the last day of our outreach (Sunday, July 8) we held a screening of the film “Survivor Stories” at the Skokie Public Library, which has a very Jewish clientele. Several Jewish people who don’t yet believe in Jesus came to the event, including Mark, a Holocaust survivor who gave Micha his phone number and is willing to read Isaiah 53 and then discuss it with us. I also spoke to Al Moskowitz (no relation to our Jews for Jesus North American Director, Jhan Moskowitz) who has encountered us in the past. Pray that Mr. Moskowitz, who has heard our message before, will find out for himself that God loved him enough to provide redemption and eternal life through the Messiah.
Dinner in Evanston: we met a family of Jewish believers who had been witnessing to our waiter. He left the waiter a pamphlet and told him we were also believers (as if he hadn’t seen our Jews for Jesus shirts). When the check came, the waiter had written across the bottom: “How would Jesus tip?” To which I replied: “Acts 3:6, ‘Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee.'” Of course, we left him a nice tip all the same.
In two weeks the team handed out 49,225 broadside s and collected contact information for 9 Jewish and 11 Gentile seekers who are willing to hear more about Jesus.
For pics of the Chicago outreach, click here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. OUTREACH
We have already reported a couple of the wonderful ways that God used the media to amplify the gospel message through our D.C. outreach. During the two-week outreach, participants handed out 164,550 broadside tracts, collected contact information for 12 Jewish and 30 Gentile seekers who are willing to hear more about Jesus.
We have some campaign highlights below as well as some pics.
The Jewish community put together their own team to “counter leaflet” our tracts and bring Jews “back to Judaism.” They wore shirts that said “Come Home to Judaism” and stood next to us whenever possible to make sure whoever took our tracts also got one of theirs.
At one point a “Washington Post” reporter was taking action shots for an article, and about ten Jewish people from the local synagogue more or less surrounded our three broadsiders for about an hour as the reporter continued to tape. You can hear part of the “debate” which was carried by National Public Radio here.
God answers prayer! We were surprised when Larry Dubin (outreach leader) was “kicked off” the mall and not allowed to hand out tracts. The police officer he encountered threatened to arrest him if he continued to distribute his gospel literature. This is one of our prime sortie spots, so we asked people to pray that the problem be resolved. The following day Larry contacted the Chief of Police and eventually spoke to a police sergeant who said that we certainly did have permission to be there. He not only promised to brief his people on our legal rights, but he also gave Larry his personal cell phone number and invited him to call if he had any further problems on the National Mall.