Outreaches in NY, SF and Israel
Susan Mendelson invites people to
Susan Mendelson reports: “One of the biggest annual events here on Long Island is the Jones Beach Air Show. This year, the first day was cancelled because of terrible weather. The second day, however, brought out people by the thousands.
Our team of four (three staff: Sam and Rebekah Rood, myself and a volunteer named David, from another ministry) handed out close to 5,000 evangelistic postcards. Though we got our share of stares and negative comments, many people received the cards eagerly. Please join us in praying the Lord will move in the hearts of those who took them, as well as those who saw us but did not want the literature.
NY branch leader Aaron Abramson
Rebekah Rood reports, “In NYC, the first Sunday in June has become Israel Day. There’s an annual Salute to Israel Parade we attend every year. Sometimes we are there broadsiding (handing out our gospel literature) and other years we are just present in colors (Jews for Jesus T-shirts), identifying ourselves by our apparel, but otherwise just enjoying the parade in solidarity with Israel and with the Jewish community of the greater NYC area.
“This year, June 2nd was the first full day that our Massah team was all together, and the parade was their first real NY experience. For many of them, this is major culture shock. For blocks and blocks the only people you see are Jewish families, many of whom are religious. The Massahniks were wearing T-shirts that said, “Lo ani lo mi taglit” (‘No, I’m not part of “Birthright”‘).
“To those of us who are Massah alumni (travelers to Israel and beyond for discipleship and evangelistic outreach), this shirt is hilarious. Many Israelis assume that any group of young Americans traveling in Israel is part of a mainstream Jewish program called Taglit (Birthright). We don’t mind the assumption because it naturally leads to conversations about who we are and what we believe. Tim, Aaron, and Teila (participants) were asked what group they were with and were able to explain that they are believers in Jesus who are about to spend time in Israel. They were a little nervous, but did a great job! The Massah team is now in Israel and I’m looking forward to hearing how their witness there, and later in India, will go.
“This year, there was a second major event on Israel day. The Israeli National Soccer team played Honduras in their first game in the United States in more than thirty years. The Massah team and a handful of NY staff took part in a sortie (tract-passing expedition) at Citi Field (traditionally the home of the Mets) and then stayed to attend the game.
“Israel won the game 2-0! What’s even better is that our pre-game sortie gave us many opportunities to talk about Yeshua being FOR both teams and also gave us the chance to stand as supporters of Israel. Overall, it was a great day of evangelism and a great day of standing in support of Israel. I am excited to hear how God continues to be using experiences like this one in the lives of the Massahniks this summer.”
| JFJ staff member Giselle Le’Aupepe (with the hat)
is on Massah; here she’s teamed up with
a younger Massahnik for the June 2 outreach
| We’re excited to have Will Rosenberg
(a friend of our ministry from way back who’s
been ministering with YWAM for years) as part
of our Massah leadership team this year.
Here Will uses his artist abilities to get into
conversations with people on the streets of Israel.
This year’s Massah began June 1 and runs through August 14. Our group of college-aged Jewish believers in Jesus met up in New York, joined the branch for outreach on June 2 (as described above) and then flew to Israel to continue their summer of intense discipleship and evangelism. From Israel they will travel to India where they will learn more of what it means to be a community of believers, united by the love of Messiah and the desire to share Him with Israeli trekkers.
Massah leader Eli Birnbaum had this to say about the first week in Israel: “Just a quick update after our first Thursday night outreach. We had an incredible time, using art and music to engage the nightlife. We passed out 600 broadsides and got into 81 conversations where we were able to talk about Jesus! Eight people gave us contact information for follow-up, all but one Jewish. We were able to give out two New Testaments, and one “Yeshua” book. The team did very well, and Giselle and Will are a blessing with their gifts of music and art.”
Melissa Moskowitz, part of the leadership team reported: “We had a brainstorming session for writing a survey to be used for evangelism. After many ideas were tossed around, we came up with five questions and printed them up. Then we hit the streets with clipboards and pens. Along the “tayelet” (boardwalk) near Jaffo we engaged several people in conversation about the survey. It went very well for a team that had never done this before! People seemed to engage with us readily and we found that the surveys were a non-threatening way to approach people. We also tried simply walking up to people and engaging them in conversations without the survey. This was a good exercise in overcoming fear about talking to strangers. No “stranger danger” here!
From the first Tel Aviv outreach, Massahnik Josh Rood (one of our new missionaries) reports, “As I was in Tel Aviv for my first sortie on Massah, we ran into some Israelis who were interested in our pamphlets. To my surprise, they were cousins of a family friend. They were very interested in our literature and very happy to run into us. It was such an encouraging conversation. Please pray for them that they would be encouraged to seek Yeshua as Messiah.”
From Sophia, “I was on Allenby Street and I began talking to this guy, a Hindu who had just come from India to work in Israel. I gave him the proposal statement which I had just learned that day! (The proposal statement is a witnessing tool we use for street evangelism. It begins by asking people who they think Jesus is.) He got really excited and wanted to know more. I got his contact information and at the end of the conversation he asked me again how I was going to tell him more about Jesus. I let him know that since he gave me his cell phone number, some of my Israeli friends would call him. He was really excited about this and that we were going to India.”
Please keep this group in prayer as they are on a challenging, life-changing journey.
Branch leader Rob Wertheim reports, “May 19 was the annual Bay to Breakers foot race here in San Francisco. It’s a seven-mile race from the Bay side of the city to the Pacific Ocean. Over 40,000 runners participate and there are thousands of spectators. It’s always a challenge to recruit volunteers for the event because it falls on Sunday morning. However, we had a team of seven, including Adriana Fuentes and Peter Sandberg (both part of our administrative team from Headquarters), and Jesse Danziger, an intern at HQ who recently applied and was accepted as missionary staff.
“Jesse and Adriana held up a Jews for Jesus banner at the midpoint of the race and the rest of our team handed out just under 4,000 broadsides at the finish line. It’s always amazing to see the weird costumes people wear for this event. It’s also a real challenge when many people are not wearing anything at all—that’s San Francisco!
Adriana reports: “We had seemingly nonstop interactions with people at our post, including three conversations with Jewish ‘runners’ who stopped to talk. Many other Jewish participants took the time to say hello or take pictures with us [including the above photo we found on the web]; more than a couple of people videotaped us.”
Jesse adds: “The Jews for Jesus banner at the Bay to Breakers got a lot of attention. Some shouted ‘Jews for Jesus?’ when they went by and others gave us a thumbs up. I had one conversation and several briefer interactions with Jewish people who stopped to speak with us. Overall it was very positive and more effective than I had anticipated.”
And from volunteer Monty Chipman: “I had a very interesting conversation with a runner named Van. He approached me and said that last week he’d been talking to a fellow employee who happens to be Jewish (Van is not Jewish). The man had been talking about Jews for Jesus and how ‘they’re everywhere, and you CAN’T be Jewish and be for Jesus.’ Van told me, ‘I’ve been running in Bay to Breakers every year since 1980, and you Jews for Jesus guys are always here at the finish line. I never took one of your pamphlets before, but I decided after talking to that guy at work that this would be the year. I want one!’ I gladly handed him a broadside and was able to talk with him a little bit more. I will be praying for Van—looks to me like God is at work in his life!”