This year’s American Massah team is off to a good start (pictured above, as they were about to take off from New York to Israel). Learning to talk to people about Jesus in Israel is always an adventure! Can you really draw people to Jesus with a handmade magnet? That’s just one of the creative ways this team is trying to engage people on the street.
During the first week, the Massah team participated in three outreaches that enabled them to have 67 gospel conversations (and 127 interactions where they at least got to mention their faith).
For several years our Israel branch and visiting Massah teams have collaborated on artistic approaches that encourage people to interact with them on the street. This year they offered magnets with blank design space and colorful pens as a way for people to express what matters to them.
Besides the outreaches, the team has been training together. Eli Birnbaum, who heads up our Young Adult ministry in Israel, led the first week of training and devotionals from the book of Mark. He spoke about:
· what is the gospel
· why the gospel
· the resurrection
· general evangelism training
· engaging in culture
· creative outreach strategies
Massah leader Giselle says, “It was really cool to see the lessons affect and challenge the team’s thinking and make them even more excited to go out and share! Eli’s teaching is really, really hitting home, not just for the new Massah participants, but really for us leaders too.”
The team met several Israelis who were curious about what it’s like to have faith. One asked Giselle straight out what it felt like to believe in something. So many either don’t believe in God or only have a vague concept of Him as a higher power.
Isaac, a former Massah participant who is part of the leadership team this year said, “On our first outreach on Rothschild, Ashley and I had several good conversations about the gospel with people on the street. Most people, when asked what they think about Jesus, responded, ‘I don’t.’ It was a good reminder that while many Israelis are interested in spirituality, their exposure to Jesus is limited. We spoke with people who had a wide range of beliefs and objections to the gospel. We walked away encouraged and excited to have had the opportunity to serve God and beautiful individuals.”
One of the Massah team members, Claudia, described an experience that meant a lot to her: “One night during an outreach I had a memorable conversation with a young Israeli guy named Runi. After chatting for a bit he asked what I was doing in Israel and we began to speak about Jesus. He started to laugh it off saying, ‘Yes I’ve heard that a lot: Jesus loves you, Jesus loves you.’
“I said, ‘He really does love you; do you actually know what Jesus did for you?’ At that moment, his entire mood shifted, and he said ‘No, I really don’t know; tell me.’ We spent an hour discussing creation, how Jesus fits in with being Jewish, the New Testament and most importantly the gospel. It was a pivotal moment when he said, ‘I’ve never thought about God or that He would want a relationship with me.’ I could see a change in his eyes. He walked away with a plan to read the New Testament.”
Please pray for the Massah team as they continue to learn, participate in more outreaches, and draw closer to the Lord and one another. Eventually they will take what they learn “on the road” to India, where they will be sharing their faith with Israeli backpackers.