What happens when our Massah team moves on from Israel to India? Read a few highlights and reflections from team members:
Chris: Between snow caps and forest, nestled high in the mountains, exists the village of Old Manali. Full of smoke, dust and dogs, the remote village bustles with life! Cafes and vendors crowd the streets with food and goods for sale. Amidst the cacophony live a diverse people: Indians, Israelis and foreigners from across the world. Many they use drugs in an attempt to connect to a world that often leaves them feeling cold and isolated. Our hope is to bring them news of a life that doesn’t burn out, one that won’t just be an acid flash of a far-off land. That hope has us reaching out to so many, to show them the love of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. In a short time, we have begun to make many friends, and have been giving witness through actions and words. The response has varied from interest, to speculation, confusion and introspection.
Becca: Today is our third day in Manali. Yesterday was my first day as a fully functioning human being after the exhausting 15-hour bus ride the day before. I try to pray every morning for God to use me that day, and each day He answers my prayer and gives me opportunities. Yesterday, I changed my afternoon plans in order to accept a lunch invitation with some Israelis we met and I am so glad I did. The guy I ended up sitting next to at the restaurant, Dan,* was very curious about what we believe. He and I talked about the gospel and I was pointing him to various Bible passages through most of our lunch. It was awesome to see him read the Scriptures for himself and say, “Ahh, okay, I see what you mean now.” Ben told me he still was very unsure what he believed, but he was glad to hear from Messianic Jews. He even read the introduction to “His name is Yeshua,” one of the gospel resources we have here, written in Hebrew. Later, when I was sharing with my team about our conversation, it turned out that two other people on our team had had gospel conversations with him! Praying for God to continue to work in his heart!!
Speaking of Dan . . .
Melissa: I first met Dan at the coffee shop and immediately was drawn to his quiet, sensitive manner. We began talking freely about why each of us was in Manali. I asked how he felt about the situation back in Israel and he said he felt helpless to do anything about it. I suggested that one can always pray and that prayer really is a powerful tool because we’re not praying to the air, but to a real God. He showed me a small book of tehillim (prayers) he carries with him. I opened my Bible and read Psalm 122:6 to Dan. He seemed surprised that such a promise existed.
Later that evening I met Dan again, at another cafe. He watched as I played checkers with Sigal, a fellow Israeli he had met. When Giselle brought out her guitar and played, Ben perked up and smiled. When she was done, he took the guitar and played several songs. I could tell that we had made a new friend.
I am not sure if Dan is searching for God, but God is certainly searching for Dan.
Rachel: As I entered an argument at a local coffee shop, I learned the importance of listening and asking questions that get past the surface discussion. We were debating the Arab-Israeli conflict, and I knew it wasn’t going anywhere so I just started asking one of the guys in the discussion about his life. The conversation turned from political to spiritual matters as I asked questions, listened and asked some more. Our conversation was an encouragement to me to continue to be present and intentional about discussing God’s desire to redeem each of us.
Ilana: India has been amazing! We have met so many wonderful people, and a lot of them have been Israelis! We were in a coffee shop talking to an Israeli couple who had never heard of Messianic Judaism. As some from our team were explaining what we believe, I noticed another couple listening in, and they actually scooted their table closer to ours so they could hear. Finally the guy asked if he could join in the conversation. He grew up secular, but he has studied a lot on his own. He believes in God and thinks it is ridiculous how much effort has been made to keep Jesus out of history, stories and writings. He said that people deserve to know the truth, whatever it may be. Since that conversation, we have seen him so many other times and he has become friends with a lot of people on our team!
|Melissa shares her faith in the coffee shop.|