Giselle Le’Aupepe and Aaron Abramson lead the parade as they hand out gospel literature in NYC

On September 17, Jews for Jesus was officially 40 years old! Maybe you saw the video last month as we were anticipating the celebration. If not you can view it here.

For a unifying theme to celebrate, we wanted all our branches to enjoy the day with prayer, evangelism and sharing a meal together. Within that framework, our branches and our headquarters teams celebrated in diverse ways.

Our Israel team on their visibility bike ride

Israel director Dan Sered reports, “The Israel branch of Jews for Jesus gathered together on September 17, 2013 to celebrate together God’s faithfulness to our Jews for Jesus ministry, on this day our 40th anniversary. We did a regular sortie, a fun visibility bike ride on the Tel Aviv boardwalk and we concluded the day with a party at the Moishe Rosen Center. Altogether we handed out 1,300 broadsides and received contact information for five Jewish seekers. To the party at the Moishe Rosen Center we invited several people who have served with us in the past and it was a good reunion with those who could come. We also invited David Brickner’s parents who knew Moishe before he founded Jews for Jesus. Other staff and guests also offered praises to God and it was encouraging to hear how God uses our ministry to bless people. We all prayed, broke bread together and fellowshipped. I left thanking and praising God for His unmerited goodness toward us.”

Chicago team pauses to give passers
by a look at our banner

Chicago: Lyn Bond reports, “The Chicago branch of Jews for Jesus enjoyed our 40th anniversary celebration. We met at the office at 8:30, packed tract bags and headed out for the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority). After handing out our broadsides, we rode two different trains to Lake Street, then walked twelve blocks, carrying two banners, to lunch. Between the train station and the deli we stopped several times to give passersby a good look at our banners. One banner said, “Jews for Jesus.Org.” and the other said, “How can we be Jewish and believe in Jesus? Ask me! Jews for Jesus .org” After lunch, we made similar stops before riding two trains back to Skokie. We stopped for coffee, got outdoor seating and prayed together. A college study group of young men sat near by, and at least two of them wore yarmulkes and seemed to be trying their hardest not to see us in our Jews for Jesus shirts.”

 

Parading down Fisherman’s Wharf

San Francisco branch/Headquarters: SF branch leader Rob Wertheim reports, “Our HQ 40th Anniversary/Day of Evangelism was a great time of praise, prayer, proclamation and partying. In the morning we sang, prayed and heard a very encouraging devotion from our chaplain, Dr. Phil Howard.

“About 28 of us went out on sorties in downtown San Francisco, then about 50 of us met at 12 p.m. at the Ferry Building to parade for two miles, past Pier 39 and the Fishermans’ Wharf, holding up banners and balloons. All along the way, people were snapping photos, as well as taking our broadsides. Because the America’s Cup Yacht races as well as a large cruise ship were in town, many visitors from all over the world got a chance to see that there are Jews for Jesus.

“The day ended with a picnic and singing across from Ghirardelli Square and the Bay. I praise the Lord for His blessings and know that His Name was lifted high!”

 

Missionary Robyn Wilk witnessing on campus

Florida: Being a one-person branch has its challenges, but missionary Robyn Wilk asked God to provide one of her volunteers to help celebrate.  “After all,” she said, “Jews for Jesus started as a group of volunteers that joined Moishe Rosen to share the gospel back in the early 70s. So celebrating with a volunteer was a good way to honor our 40 years of ministry. I invited Andrea, a Jewish believer who came to faith largely through Jews for Jesus in Long Island, to join me. She immediately responded, ‘I’m in!’

“I chose Florida Atlantic University for our evangelistic time. It was pouring rain when we arrived, so we sat in my car and had our prayer time together.

“Then we found the University Union where a believer stopped to talk with us.  He told us where the busy spots were and invited us to a worship night for all the Christian campus groups! I was thrilled at the prospect of connecting with all kinds of believers on campus.

Volunteer Andrea
handing out broadsides

“Andrea and I went to one of the places our new friend had suggested to pass out our literature.  We had lots of good conversations.  With only ten minutes left, I began to take pictures of Andrea in action.  After a few shots, I asked her to take a few of me as well. Immediately, I got into a great conversation with a Jewish student. His response to meeting a Jew for Jesus was, ‘That’s interesting. I’ve often wondered about that. I sometimes get into conversations with people of other beliefs.’  I offered to meet again to continue the discussion over coffee and he agreed. Pray that he will continue to be open to thinking about Jesus.

“Andrea and I left the campus with so much joy in our hearts.  We enjoyed lunch at Whole Foods and continued to rejoice over all God did. He showed up and really blessed our day. Not only did He make sure I was not alone, but we met key people on campus as well as a young man who was willing to talk further about Jesus.  I am reminded of Psalm 126:5-6.”

Melissa Moskowitz sharing the gospel
Stewart Weinisch sharing the gospel

New York City: Melissa Moskowitz reports, “Our ‘band of twelve’ went to some of the busiest areas in the city—Macy’s, Union Square, and finally, Washington Square Park, where we blew noise makers and handed out ‘birthday cards’ with our Jews For Jesus contact info on the back, and set up a birthday table, covered with cupcakes and a colorful cake.

“There was another noisy event at the park—a tiny group of Wall Street protestors surrounded by police officers and terrorism task forces.  So our birthday party had a ready-made crowd with which to share our joy.”

Stewart Weinisch met a Jewish NYU student at the Washington Square Park sortie. He reports, “This young man walked up and said, ‘So, what is this all about?’ (He was actually at the Occupy Wall Street two-year anniversary, but he saw people walking around with cupcakes so he came to find our table.) I answered, “Well, Jews for Jesus is celebrating 40 years of proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah to our Jewish people.’ He repeated, “SO what is that about?” I explained, “We are Jewish people who believe that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah based on the promises of the Scriptures.”

“I asked Alec if he believed in God and he said yes, but he doesn’t have a belief system. I said, ‘Let me ask you one question. If you were to die today are you ready to meet God?’ He just stared into space. I said, ‘Sorry to dump such a heavy on ya; how about if you ask me the same question?’ So he said, ‘Are you ready to meet God?’ And I said ‘Absolutely. Can I tell you why?’ And he said, ‘Please.’ So I shared the gospel with him. He said he’d never heard anything like that before. I asked him if he wanted to know God and prepare to meet his maker. He said that he would like to think it all through and would call me if he had any questions. He took a card with our contact information . . . please pray for God to water the gospel seed.”

 

Fun at the photo booth

Sydney: Branch leader Bob Mendelsohn reports, “We invited friends to come and celebrate with us at our book shop, offering tea and cake earlier in the day, and cheese, etc. later on. We showed a video we made to highlight 40 years of reaching out, prayed together, chatted with people who came to celebrate with us, as well as curious passersby who dropped in—including some Jewish people who don’t yet believe in Jesus. We also had a book table in the Oxford Street Mall.  As part of the festivities in our shop we set up a poster of a photo we used in one of our billboards, years ago. The photo of several men dressed as Hasids featured one man in a Jews for Jesus T-shirt, and the caption was ‘Think for Yourself.’ We cut out one of the faces and gave people the opportunity to be photographed as part of the poster.  We also had some really good conversations with people who came by.”