Our Tel Aviv staff and volunteers had a three-day outreach at a New Age festival last month; two Israelis prayed to receive Jesus and 70 gave their contact information to hear more about the Lord.
Yoel Ben David reports:
In Israel there are national celebrations of the holidays known as the Feasts of the Lord that are outlined in Leviticus 23. About ten years ago, members of the New Age movement here in Israel decided to hold big festivals concurrently to celebrate pluralism. These festivals are open to every kind of religion. I have been involved in outreaches to people who attend these festivals nearly as long as I have been a believer in Jesus. One such festival, The Bereshit Festival, just took place on October 6-8, overlapping Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. We had a total of 30 staff and volunteers present and we also cooperated with a local Messianic congregation that had put up a huge tent on the beach. We saw two Israelis pray to receive the Lord and more than 70 gave us their contact information to hear more about the Lord. One young man, Chen, initially began talking to my wife, Adel. Adel sat him down and began speaking to him about the New Covenant that the Messiah gives us through His sacrifice. Chen wanted to know more about how the Tanach (Old Testament) teaches this. At that point I arrived and began to open the Scriptures to him. Chen and I met a few times during the three-day festival, and he has agreed to continue meeting with me as he seeks the truth about Yeshua (Jesus).
Shlomy Abramov reports:
I was helping a local Messianic congregation to share the gospel at the Bereshit festival. They had built a 150-square meter tent, complete with a sound system. The pastor of the congregation wanted to preach messages from within the huge tent, as well as to gather people who would hear worship songs of Yeshua. And so he had hired a man to stay at the tent around the clock to help with the sound system. This man’s name was Shlomy (like mine).
Shlomy therefore spent hours listening to gospel messages and music. He also overheard the evangelistic conversations that took place in the tent. Story after story, he heard believers tell about Yeshua and how He healed and forgave them of their sin. Shlomy began to like this Messiah of Israel. God was drawing his heart towards him it seemed.
I became friendly with Shlomy and we smiled and grew on each other over the next day. My job, of course was to evangelize non-stop and during the second day, while I was sharing the gospel with a family, I suddenly felt deep in my heart that someone was going to be saved. Not long after I had spoken with the family, Shlomy complained of pain in his back. One of my fellow evangelists promptly prayed in Jesus’ name for this pain to go away. I asked Shlomy afterwards if the pain had left him. In amazement he said yes!” I then began to tell him that our sins can also be forgiven and vanquished in Messiah and continued to explain exactly who had healed him. I then invited him to ask Yeshua in his heart and to let Him heal various non-physical problems in his life. One of those things that needing healing was emotional pain from the recent war with Lebanon, which is perhaps what opened Shlomy’s heart to begin with. His town is in northern Israel, the area where much of the devastation took place.
Suddenly it all made sense and fit together for Shlomy: the gospel he had heard in the background while attending to the sound, his own need for forgiveness and salvation, the beautiful music in the tent so unlike the usual music he usually heard at New Age festivals. He had heard words of eternal life coming out of the sound system he was overseeing. That changed his heart.
Shlomy was ready to receive the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the Messiah of Israel. We bowed our heads as I led him in the sinner’s prayer. Please pray for Shlomy, and for me to be able to help him learn how to become closer daily as I disciple him in the north.
For a few photos from the festival, click here
The “Chicago Tribune” reported a controversy over a Jews for Jesus missionary teaching a one-day course in comparative religions:
“A northwest suburban community college has hired an evangelical missionary to teach doctrines of Judaism and Christianity, irking local rabbis who fear the instructor’s “subtle evangelism” will creep into the classroom.”
“Moskowitz [the missionary invited to teach] said he has been anything but subtle about his faith and mission. In addition to advertising his affiliation in the course catalog, he says he will introduce himself as a Jew for Jesus at the beginning of the class. That way, he said, students can listen for and object to bias if it surfaces. The disclosure also opens a door for people to inquire about his belief system after class.”
You can read the full article at: http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/7237.html.
And you can read what happened right here, from missionary/teacher Jhan Moskowitz:
“For the last three years, I have been invited to teach an adult continuing education course at Harper College, one of the local secular schools in the Chicagoland area. I’ve taught on ‘Jewish History,’ ‘Jewish Roots of Christianity,’ and more recently on Jewish and Christian doctrines.
“This last class, ‘Jewish and Christian Doctrines,’ created somewhat of an uproar with the local rabbis, so much so that one of them wrote a series of letters to both Harper College and the ‘Chicago Tribune’ complaining that it’s improper for a missionary to the Jews to teach on Jewish doctrines. [Excerpts from the article and a URL provided above.]
“At any rate, 16 people signed up for the class. From what I could tell, that included four Jewish people who were not yet believers in Jesus. The dean of the school was also present to make sure that I only taught what I claimed I would teach. The class went off without a hitch. There were no complaints; only invitations to return.
“After class, a pastor and his Jewish friend (not a believer in Jesus) approached me and said that they had registered late but that they were very interested in how I as a Jewish person came to believe in Jesus. I explained that I could not and would not talk about that during class hours, but offered to get together at a future date.
“The following week I met with the pastor and his Jewish friend. We spent an hour together, at the conclusion of which, the Jewish friend prayed to receive the Lord.”
What a joyful event, to see another person reconciled to God. The sad part is, those who opposed Jhan’s teaching the class were fearful that he would trick some unsuspecting Jewish person into believing in Jesus. They cannot see that there are Jewish people who are attracted to Jesus, not because of who we are, but because of who He is.
More on continuing education…
It is not too late to sign up for either of the two one-day courses that our own Tuvya Zaretsky will be teaching in San Francisco in late November and early December, as part of Western Seminary’s coursework for a degree in Jewish Ministry.
Two courses in the Specialized Jewish Ministry track will be offered at the Jews for Jesus office in San Francisco.
Jewish Mission History: November 30-December 2, 2006
Ministry to Jewish-Gentile Couples: December 3-5, 2006
Pre-course work begins on November 9. All remaining assignments will be completed after the classes and by February 12, 2007.
Enrollment and/or application can be made online at sthomas@WesternSeminary.edu or by calling Steve Thomas, Director of Enrollment at Western Seminary at (877) 517-1800.
In New York…
BYG follow-up continues. Thanks to those of you who have continued to pray for the people we met and ministered to during the New York Behold Your God finale in July. We will be reporting to you at the beginning of the year where we stand with our follow-up, and we’ll be sharing stories about people we’ve continued to meet with since the campaign.
But for now we thought you would be encouraged to hear that weekly visits are taking place with ultra-Orthodox people we met through the campaign as well as with Russian-speaking Jews.
Follow-up with the latter community has been bolstered by some of our staff members from Russia and Ukraine who stayed in New York to help establish the work there. With their help, we now have two weekly meetings for Russian-speaking Jewish seekers and new believers to attend: a weekly Shabbat service as well as a weeknight Bible study. During the High Holidays (mentioned in last month’s RealTime) 28 people attended the Shabbat service and two prayed to receive the Lord. Meanwhile, the weekly Bible study attracts about 10 people a week.
One of the people who has been attending our meetings is Alexander. Leonid Vasserman, who leads our work in Odessa but has remained in New York for follow-up has been meeting with him. Leonid first met Alexander in Odessa in 2001! When Leonid came to participate in our 2004 New York City Summer Witnessing Campaign, he met Alexander again, and witnessed to him in Brighton Beach. This year, it was Leonid Krouter, one of our workers in Kiev, who met Alexander during our BYG finale, and in fact prayed with him to receive Jesus. What a blessing for Leonid Vasserman to be able to meet with him to help him grow in the faith! (More stories to come in our January Newsletter!)