This year we have a team of first timers on Massah (team aleph) as well as several from last year’s team who have returned (team bet). The Israel portion of Massah has drawn to a close and both teams are continuing on to India.
Here are a few photos of Massah’s outdoor evangelism in Israel:
“Massahniks” witnessing on the beaches of Israel
Israeli answering questions for our survey stops to smile for the camera
Massahnik in conversation with Israeli (on the right, another team member stands with clipboard and survey and on the left, still another team member has a tract bag.)
Below you can read what Aaron Abramson (on staff with Jews for Jesus) had to say about a different kind of outreach. (New Light Ruins is a music team, consisting of Sterling, Remy and Isaac, who are part of the bet team.)
God is faithful! The other night we had our Massah concert-bbq-story event and it was an incredible experience. Thanks to everyone who prayed for our event! It is certainly one of the highlights of our time together here in Israel. Over 35 people attended, 15-20 of whom were Israeli seekers. We began with a fantastic meal that Talia and a team of volunteers arranged. After dinner, everyone gathered in our India style lounge area where refreshments such as chai masala and biscuits were available.
New Light Ruins played an incredible set interspersed with stories of grace, love, conviction, and the need for Yeshua. God’s presence smoothed out any rough edges and our time was highly interactive. Remy and Sterling talked about their songs and illustrated their love and need for Yeshua in their lives. Many Israelis we met last year in India attended; they’d been looking forward to seeing our team once again. Around 3/4 way through the concert, the musicians invited me to share my story. I had an opportunity to present Yeshua from my experiences in Israel. I shared the story of how God brought me through making Aliyah, attending Yeshiva, serving in the army, traveling abroad to ultimately discover Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah. Ayellet, one of the Israeli friends we met last year in India, told me she was moved by my story. Several other Israelis sought me out and asked what Jews for Jesus do and what we believe about Jesus. I was able to walk them through the gospel in more depth than previously and they were very inquisitive.
On a personal level, I was also encouraged that my childhood Israeli friend came to the concert with his wife and son. They connected with several of our Israeli Jews for Jesus staff and I hope they will continue to be in touch with them in the future.
Overall, our evening was extremely encouraging and hopefully a taste of things to come.
Keep our team in prayer!
From Campaign Training in Chicago
The Chicago team . . . getting ready for New York City
Veteran missionary Lyn Bond coaches campaigners as they learn to do street drama.
Campaigners telling people about Jesus on the streets of Chicago
Shoshana reports, “As I was handing out broadsides, two young Jewish guys in a car thought they’d have some fun while waiting for the traffic light to change. (‘I want to hit you with my car!’ ‘Come here! Stand in front of my car!’ ‘I want to run you over!’) A young woman observed how I handled this and after the car drove off, she came to ask what we are all about. It was an opportunity to share the gospel, thanks to my ‘harassers.’
“Later a woman approached me and explained that she had converted to Judaism and that all of her friends were Jewish. Recently she has begun to have thoughts about Jesus being the Messiah. She told me that she believes this in her heart but just couldn’t follow through with it [or surrender her life to God]; she said that something ‘happened’ to her whenever she tried. She told me her name was Sherry, asked for my prayers and then took off running.”
Becca writes, “Please pray for Natalie. I met her in front of the Art Institute where I started talking to a group of college students from New Zealand. Natalie told me that she was Jewish, had grown up celebrating Christmas and Easter because all her friends did; yet she had never really considered who Jesus is. After a bit of conversation, she gave me her e-mail and Facebook information to stay in touch.”
Liz says, “I was in a conversation with a guy who was asking me what Jews for Jesus was about when suddenly another man started running at him. He grabbed the first guy’s arms and pulled them behind his back and said ‘Chicago Police Department – you’re under arrest!’ I felt (and must have looked) horrified, until both men burst out laughing. They each took a broadside, and walked away.”
Hannah reports, “I offered a broadside to an elderly Jewish woman who said ‘No thank you’ in a sneering tone. As she walked away I said ‘God bless.’ She turned around and responded ‘Excuse me?’ (looking angry and as though I had cursed her instead of blessing her). I once again smiled and said, very sincerely, ‘God bless.’ Her whole body language changed as she smiled back at me and said ‘Oh, God bless you too.’ It was a good reminder that a gentle word can turn away wrath.”
New York City Summer Witnessing Campaign
Here is how one campaigner, Moshe, describes himself on campaign [lack of punctuation intentionally left as is by editor]:
“His eyelids shot open as the alarm clock screamed in his ears and the reality struck him that he was on New York Campaign 2009 he tumbled out of bed to join the hustle and bustle of Monday morning at the branch pushing his way outside past the two heavy set doors he squinted up at the murky sky and proclaimed, ‘Preach good tidings!’ and set on his first adventure into the unknown.”
“My team and I were on a night sortie on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. We found a little park outside the subway station and my team leader decided we should take a walk trying to engage people who were sitting around on the benches. The park looked kind of creepy; it was dark and many people, some homeless, some drunk were sleeping on benches. I saw my team leader Vova talking to people, so I did the same. The first man I began speaking to retorted, ‘Go get me a sandwich. I’m homeless, and I’m hungry.’ Just as he said that I realized there were many large rats running around.
“I really hate rats so I started to back up. Just then, another man sitting on the bench told me, ‘Don’t be scared, they don’t bite, it’s fine.’ So I started to talk to him. Throughout the conversation I could see the rats running all around us. The next thing I know, this man was ready to pray to receive Jesus as his savior! We prayed, and since I was so nervous Vova came to see how I was doing. He asked the man some questions and it turned out that he was Jewish! He thanked us for the prayer, was very excited and said he felt different already. It was such an amazing moment! After getting all the information for follow-up we asked God to bless this man and started walking. I believe it was a divine appointment. God had put this man in my way, knowing how much I hate rats and how scared I was. He helped me get through all that; it’s amazing how God uses us and helps us to overcome our fears.”
Becca writes: “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light . . .
“In C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair, Jill Pole and Eustace Scrubb are sent on a quest by Aslan the Great Lion. They receive four signs to guide them. They see the third sign outside the remains of a giant city: the giant words carved into the stone, “UNDER ME.”
“This past week, we have spent countless hours handing out thousands of gospel broadsides (tracts) in New York City’s subway system. Dank and dirty, these underground tunnels corral the people of New York from point A to point B, from train to train, from entrance to exit. Marching along in their daily monotony, most of these people do not expect to encounter Jesus, much less anything that would get in their way. But there we are, dressed in T-shirts proclaiming ‘Jews for Jesus,’ anxiously awaiting a willing hand to accept our message of Truth.
“As much as these underground excursions are not my favorite, I am reminded of Jill and Eustace’s adventure. To complete their task and find the truth, they had to journey under the ruined city. Likewise, we venture from ‘top side’ to ‘bottom side’ to meet those who need Jesus. We go down to the darkness to bring people the Light.
“In Isaiah 9:2 the prophet said, ‘The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.’
Some years later, Jesus taught by the Sea of Galilee, saying, ‘The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.’ (Matthew 4:16)
“No matter how mediocre or frustrating an outing may be, I know that God’s hand is at work in each and every tract that we hand out and each conversation that is exchanged. My prayer is that I might be able to see some of the fruits of our labor here in NYC. Please continue to pray for all of us as we go out on the streets and in the subways—for strength, energy, courage and wisdom to tell people about the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
David Strull writes, “One of our campaign shirts has ‘Jews for Jesus’ in Hebrew lettering. While riding the train yesterday I overheard two guys speaking in Hebrew as they pointed at our shirts. I turned around and asked one of the guys if he liked our shirts; he nodded yes. He then told me how the spelling for Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus) was spelled wrong, how it should be written Yeshu, which is the Hebrew name Jesus is known by in Israel. (What very few Israelis know is that Yeshu is a centuries old acronym for “may his name be cursed”). I asked the guy who he thought Jesus was and he answered in a typical Israeli fashion, ‘Uh, he was a good guy. But what is good for you is good for you, I don’t need him.’
“It can be difficult to talk with Israelis because they are so indifferent and pluralistic that if you tell them you believe in Jesus, they are happy for you; but will shrug and say he’s not for them. I pray that God gives me wisdom to give an answer for the reason for the hope that I have.”
Sara Friedman reports, “I was out at South Street Seaport and it was really slow, so Liz (one of the campaigners) and I got on the subway and went to Union Square instead. As soon as we got there a man literally ran into me. He said he was sorry and then noticed the Jews for Jesus T-shirt. He told us how he’d grown up in a Christian home (probably nominally Christian) and how recently he’d been thinking of trying to find a church to attend. He’d been going through a difficult time having just found out that one of his friends was killed that week. It seemed to him and to us that he literally ran into me at the perfect moment.”
The Liberated Wailing Wall came for part of the campaign; here team members pose with some of the other campaigners:
London Summer Witnessing Campaign
You just never know where our gospel broadsides (tracts) will pop up! One recipient commented on our “Beware of Religious Fanatics” broadside on the online version of The New Humanist magazine. He also suggested people check out our website! No, he wasn’t promoting the gospel, but even if his purpose was to jest, the issue is still being raised. Check it out by clicking here.
Our campaigners on the streets of London
And now, from the London campaigners:
Avi Snyder writes, “It was a real example of different ones sowing and another reaping. I met Vivian at Golders Hill Park. She approached us during our lunch break—although she has very bad eyesight, she was able to read our shirts and began to talk to Tzachi. He invited her to join us for lunch and we found that she had been visited by Julia (one of our regular missionary staff in London) and had come to an event where she had heard the story of Helen Shapiro (a Jewish believer who is a well known musician). During lunch, each one on our team took a turn talking to Vivian: me, Tzachi, Ayni and Kata. She seemed happy to be with us and when I explained the gospel to her clearly and asked her if she would like to pray with us to receive Jesus, she said, ‘Yes.'”
Dave Bagley writes, “I was in Hampstead and we were just at the end of the sortie. I was waiting for the rest of the team at the tube station when I gave a broadside to a young woman and asked her if she believed in Jesus and his death and resurrection. Tremaine told me that her parents were Christians, but she saw hypocrisy in her sister who was living with her boyfriend although she professed to be a believer and that really turned her off. She also said she was worried about standing before God one day, and when I asked her if there was any reason why she shouldn’t surrender her life to God, she wanted to pray to receive Him right then, so we did. I said ‘welcome to the family!'”
There’s a first time for everything . . . Stephen Pacht reports, “I was in Golders Hill Park and I saw that one of our campaigners, Candy, had been talking with a Jewish man for some time. I came up and learned that David had been raised as an Orthodox Jew but said he had become an atheist because he always wanted to be an actor and did not believe he could be one as an Orthodox Jew.”
Christine Pohl reports, “At Golders Green we spoke to a man named David, whose father was Jewish and mother was Christian. David had a degenerative disease; he told us much about his life and his disappointment with the synagogue. He wasn’t ready to come to faith, but definitely searching.”
Yoel Ben David writes, “I brought a team to a market place, not realizing it was privately owned land where you can’t give out tracts. When the owner, Noan, came out and told team members they couldn’t hand tracts out, they responded by asking him, ‘Who do you think Jesus is?’ Noan wrote down specific questions he wanted answered, and I will be meeting with him soon to discuss them.”
Heather Ward reports, “I was at Marble Arch on Oxford Street and I met a lot of Muslims. One man Ahmad, said he believed when I explained how Jesus had come down from heaven to die for our sin so that we could have a new relationship with God. I asked if there was anything stopping him from receiving Jesus and he said ‘No,’ and he prayed there and then to do so.
“I also met a Somalian lady named Faiza, who told me that Islam states that Jesus didn’t die and she didn’t know what to do about her sins. I told her that Jesus did indeed die for her sins and rose from the dead. When I asked if she would like to pray for forgiveness, she prayed with me to receive Jesus and have her sins forgiven.”
Helen Spiby Vann and Candy Cuevas write, “We were out talking to people at Brent Cross and we decided we would talk to one last person before we left. We shared the Gospel with a man named Ross, and he responded by telling us that he could believe that Jesus died for our sins and he really wanted to be forgiven. We led him in prayer; it was one of those divine appointments.”
Our Frankfurt campaign will begin August 2. Please pray for this outreach.
And remember to pray for our Massah teams in India!