Israel Behold Your God Stories
Avi Snyder, our European Director, training BYG campaigners
Onlookers witness the shoving of one campaigner by the man in the white T-shirt
Campaigners engaging Israelis in conversations about Jesus
The class was a mix of Israelis, Americans, Russians, Ukrainians and Ethiopians. With accommodations a block from the beach, the sun and sand provided the perfect setting for evangelism, so in addition to the classes and studies, the trainees also went out on sorties (tract-passing expeditions).
The first week was during Passover so there were a lot of teens on the beach. Some of the kids who were bored and perhaps ready to be riled up were easily encouraged by a group of religious folks to harass us. Surrounding the team, they were screaming “Missionary! Missionary!” One of the youths threw a rock that struck one of our Russian workers in the head. Vlad was okay, but it was sad to see these young people encouraged by the “religious” to attack others for their beliefs. Missionaries are considered a threat to Jewish survival and that is why they feel justified in their aggression. Team members felt the Lord guarding their hearts and minds in this difficult situation.
But there were encouraging encounters as well.
Sarah says, “As soon as my team arrived at the beach, before we had handed out a single tract, two young men asked for our tracts and read them right then and there. I began to explain the Good News to them. Israel said it would be difficult for him to put his faith in Jesus after centuries of persecution in His name. ‘I come from a religious family,’ he explained. ‘But it might be true!’ he conceded. He and his friend Itmar each allowed me to pray for them.
“We have been calling through the phonebook to offer copies of the New Testament and we continue to be amazed at the response level we are getting—about 6% positive for the calls we complete! Please pray for Mr. Cohen who was very anxious to receive his New Testament and asked, ‘When are you going to send it—today, tomorrow, when?'”
Lina reports, “A young Israeli who saw my T-shirt told me that earlier that very day, he was talking to his friend about the existence of God. He allowed me to pray for him and told me he was going to go home and read the New Testament.”
Rachel reports, “I was phoning when I reached Ella, who told me she had recently begun reading the New Testament and wants one of our workers to contact her.
“I handed a broadside to a young woman who was sitting on a bench with an older man. After a moment she told me that her father was a Holocaust survivor and did not speak English. I spoke to her in English about God’s love for Him, even in the midst of his suffering, and she translated for me. He agreed to give his contact information!”
Barry reports, “I was speaking with a Jewish lady on a sortie when I noticed two men watching me. After my conversation I approached them and they told me that they were Arabs and I should not talk to them. I kept talking anyway, and one of them was open enough to give me his contact information.
“I saw a man on a sortie with a T-shirt that said ‘Andaman and Nicobar Island.’ I walked right up to him and told him that I knew someone on that Island! We struck up a conversation and Elan agreed to receive a New Testament and a call from our staff!”
Mila reports, “I was calling people to offer the New Testament, when one Russian Jewish woman expressed her surprise: ‘Oh really! Nobody ever cared about sending me anything for Pesach since I’ve been in Tel Aviv! It would be great if you would send me this book!'”
Rachelle reports, “I was so excited to meet Avi, who is on vacation from Argentina. He agreed to receive a New Testament in Spanish. Please pray the Word will touch his heart!”
Casey reports, “While on a sortie I noticed a bus driver stopped at a traffic light across the street. He was looking at my T-shirt intently. He waved and I smiled. At the end of my sortie I heard a honk and the same bus driver was now coming in the opposite direction on my side of the street. He stopped and got out of the bus to take a tract, and one of his passengers opened his window and asked for one as well!”
Here are reports from the campaign itself so far, from Stephen Katz:
“Yarden met a man that someone else had spoken to previously (during a training sortie). Sasson considered himself a religious Jew. He had heard the gospel and while sick, he’d had a dream in which Jesus appeared to him. He told Yarden that Jesus is now his Lord and Savior. He was interested in coming to a congregation.
“Sarah talked with an elderly man who said he might be ready to believe in Yeshua. He gave contact info for follow-up.
“Bimini had a sortie at a university where several students were curious and gave their contact information, wanting to hear more.
“Phoning has been very fruitful. Vlad spoke to a woman who began by yelling at him and ended up asking him to send a book explaining the Messianic prophecies! Casey talked with Mrs. Cohen. When she offered to send a New Testament, Mrs. Cohen admitted that she had ‘stolen’ one (perhaps a Gideons Bible from a hotel?) but hadn’t yet read it. Casey encouraged her to start in the Gospel of John and Mrs. Cohen sounded excited to do so. Aaron spoke with Shoshana who was negative at first concerning the New Testament. Aaron challenged her by asking, ‘Are you afraid to read a book?’ After a moment’s pause she said, ‘No, I’m not afraid to read a book. Send it to me.'”
Aaron gave a man, Gleb, a broadside. Bimini later saw him coming with a searching look on his face and began a conversation. Gleb had read the New Testament and has been praying daily for God to lead him. He said he has brokenness in his life that he can hardly bear. Bimini explained the gospel and asked if he understood and wanted to receive the Lord. He said yes, and he prayed to receive the Lord.
Bimini also spoke to an Orthodox man who quietly confided that he reads the New Testament every night. When he left he said, “I love you.” (It was said concerning her sharing the gospel.)
Sarah got into a conversation with some older people, some of whom had believing helpers. One woman Chrusa, who is almost 90, wanted to hear the gospel. She prayed to receive the Lord and gave Sarah her contact information.
Tsachi met Ruth at the central bus station. Ruth said she reads the New Testament and knows about Yeshua. Tsachi challenged her to take the step of praying to receive Yeshua into her heart and to become His disciple. She agreed and he led her in prayer right on a traffic island in a busy intersection! She says she wants to worship with other believers in Yeshua now.
Aaron and his team spotted an Orthodox young man watching them. He got into his car and began slowly to follow them. The team walked down a narrow corridor, put on cover shirts and when they went back out, saw that three vans of anti-missionaries had shown up. They hopped some fences, cutting through people’s yards, then came back to the street and jumped into a waiting cab. Driving away they saw that anti-missionaries were on every street corner looking for our team members.
more to come next month . . .