Team leader Sergio says, “Inspired by recent rains, we used umbrellas with ‘Jews for Jesus’ written in English, Portuguese, Hebrew, as well as Spanish and German (in light of the final game). We attached each umbrella to a backpack, as you can see in the photos. At first, the whole setup was a bit uncomfortable and some of us felt a little ridiculous. But we soon got used to it, especially as the umbrellas attracted smiles and fun comments from many who passed by.
“We thank God for the multicultural team He provided. Despite the challenges of differing languages and cultures, the team bonded well and exceeded the campaign goals.
“I hope you enjoy these reports from Teresa Sischy (one of our missionaries from South Africa) and Karen Meyers (one of our Co-Laborers in Messiah from the USA).”
Teresa: “Danielle, a Brazilian volunteer, overheard a group of tourists comment on out T-shirts. We backtracked and found ourselves chatting with five Israeli guys. One young man asked us why our shirts say that Jesus is the Messiah; he pointed out that Jesus just cannot be Messiah, since he has not fulfilled the prophecies.
“I am surprised by much we were able to discuss in just a few minutes. I told the group that Jesus has indeed fulfilled some prophecy, giving examples, and also explaining that Jesus will return to fulfill the rest. The young man who’d spoken was surprised, as he had not heard that Yeshua promised to return. His friend then chimed in, asking how one can be Jewish and believe in Jesus. The first young man answered, saying, ‘Sure, of course they are still Jewish, they read Torah, their male babies have a brit (circumcision) and Bar Mitzvah.’ He looked to me for confirmation and I affirmed what he had said.
“There was then a frantic tapping of watches indicating they were late for something, but Danielle and I managed to get contact details from four of the group.
“Danielle (who was out with us for the first time, and had been nervous) was so excited as she pointed out that this was a perfect example of accomplishing something for the Lord through His empowerment, rather than though our own ability. As the Scripture says: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts’ (Zechariah 4:6).”
Karen: “Sometimes we wonder what happens with the people who walk by us every day and don’t take tracts. There are so many of them. Some pretend not to see us. Others hold their hand up to silently signal ‘STOP’ or they raise and wiggle their index finger to say ‘No’ or they actually tell us, ‘No, thanks.’ Others simply give us THE LOOK. And oh, what a look!!! Some go a step further than a dirty look, and cuss us out or call us traitors.
“Behind these facades hide hurting hearts, people with walls or questions or frustrations or disappointments or anger or sorrow. Only kindness can break through. After a month of handing out tracts outside the Carioca metro station, two different ‘non-takers’ came up to me and actually asked for a tract!
“One guy, Paulo, told me that he grew up Catholic, saw the corruption in the church, studied religion, and got disillusioned with the evil, malice and greed in Christianity. He concluded that people use Jesus for their own purposes. ‘But you are different,’ he said. ‘I see your smile every day, I see you offering these to people without discrimination; I watch you persist even when we say no or someone is angry. You really do believe, and you are trying to do a good thing. And even though I do not believe, I will read the Bible one more time and ask God if it is true.’ Then he gave me his contact info to talk with a pastor.
“Another guy, Jewish, named Jorge, took a tract and told me that he has seen us out there day after day, doing our ‘thing’ with kindness, boldness, and respect. ‘This causes me to think,’ he said. ‘If maybe a message which gives me the ability to think for myself is actually a message of hope and redemption.’ He shared how too many rabbis and too many other religious leaders make it hard to follow God. ‘And maybe, just maybe,’ he said, ‘there is the Spirit of God which gives us life.’ He accepted Isaiah 53 in Hebrew and Portuguese, and promised to ask God to show him the truth.”
All told, our World Cup outreach team handed out 214,735 gospel cards and pamphlets. They prayed with 17 souls to receive the Lord and received contact information from 45 Jewish seekers and 219 Gentile seekers willing to hear more about Jesus. Behind these numbers are people who entered into heartfelt conversations, like those you saw above. Please pray for God to nurture and bring fruit from the gospel seed that He enabled us to sow in Brazil.
World Cup wrap-up
photos by Israel Danon