We had such a wide variety of Passover events all over the world, with a common denominator that you’ll appreciate. Jewish people who don’t yet know Jesus came to our celebrations large and small! In South Africa, we had 288 officially registered for our Passover banquet, and staff gave up their own seats to accommodate more. While the banquets are traditionally attended by believers, it’s always our hope and request that they will bring their unbelieving friends. At least six such Jewish people that we know of came and heard the message of salvation!
In the course of handing out gospel literature in Odessa, Igor Barbanel (director of our CIS work) met Zhanna, a Jewish woman who accepted an invitation to the Seder. She arrived with her friend who is not Jewish but interested in Jewish customs. They both listened attentively as the gospel was presented. Zhanna showed Igor a picture of herself standing next to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and asked if he would mind having his picture taken with her. Apparently being with a Jewish person who believes in Jesus made a strong impression!
In Manhattan, rather than hosting large Passover banquets, we focused on inviting Jewish people we know, including those we’ve met on our outreaches, to smaller Seders.
We hosted three events in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn and another that Stewart and Shoshannah Weinisch led on Long Island, at the home of Jewish friends they’ve been meeting with. Rather than cater the food, our staff were able to cook and prepare it themselves, which offset costs. We had plenty of opportunities to talk with people and explain why Passover is important to us. Many of the staff have had follow-up opportunities. Over the course of the five events, we had opportunities to share with 16 Jewish people who don’t yet believe in Jesus. We also held a Seder especially for kids (all from believing homes).
Shoshannah Weinisch, one of our New York missionaries, reports, “We’ve noticed that some of our not-yet-believing contacts have made friends with other contacts because of the various events they have attended in the last few years. It is so interesting to listen to their conversations. I heard one woman, Helen,* say, ‘Messiah was supposed to bring world peace. We don’t have it. That proves Jesus is not the Messiah.’ I jumped into that conversation, ‘So Helen, where did you hear that Messiah will bring world peace?’ As I tried to engage her in conversation about Messianic prophecy, I could tell Helen wasn’t really listening. But Mark,* the man with whom she was speaking (also not a believer), was. Mark asked me, ‘So will there be peace at the second coming of Messiah?’ We had a great conversation. Please pray for Helen and Mark to understand the gospel and believe!”
And please pray for God to nurture all the gospel seeds that were planted throughout the Passover season!
* not their real names