New Life in the New Year
Photo by Melissa Moskowitz
Thanks to those who prayed for our High Holiday outreaches. We had Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services around the world, a great opportunity for Jewish friends who don’t yet believe in Jesus to hear the gospel in the context of a mostly traditional Jewish holiday service. In Odessa, ten people prayed to receive the Lord at our Rosh Hashanah service, five of whom are Jewish! At the Yom Kippur service in Odessa, another four more responded to the message with professions of faith in Jesus.
Several of our branches also had special outreaches on the streets. Our New York team headed out to Herald Square and Washington Square Park, equipped with honey cake, green apple honey sticks, and a prayer wall where people could post their prayers for the New Year. In busy Herald Square, our team had the opportunity to wish many businessmen and women, tourists, and shoppers, both Gentiles and Jews, a sweet and happy Rosh Hashanah.
Elizabeth Black, one of our missionary trainees, is pictured in the above photo. She says, “This was a great conversation. This young gay Jewish woman stopped to hear about my faith and why I believe Jesus is the true Messiah and answer to our lives. She hadn’t known about Jews for Jesus before, but was open to hearing more and gave her contact. By the way… she was also wearing sunglasses. I thought about removing mine as we spoke but to paraphrase 1 Cor. 9:19-23. ‘To the Jew, I became like a Jew… to the weak I became weak… and to the sunglassed I wore sunglasses.'”
Our Massah team in India reached the most unbelieving Jewish people of all on Rosh Hashanah. Team leader Eli reports, “We held our Rosh Hashanah event at a local Israeli restaurant in Manali (see photos below). We had 60 people at the event; 17 were from our team and the rest were Israeli travellers. The room was packed full; at every table people were crammed into their seats. Randy opened the evening with traditional songs and everyone joined in singing. I recited the traditional Rosh Hashanah blessings, thanking God for this festive occasion to remember Him. I blessed the fruit of the vine and then we blessed the apple and honey and asked God for a sweet year. Then I shared briefly how God gave us holidays to stop and remember all that has happened, and to be thankful. I spoke about the the binding of Isaac from the book of Genesis, how God provided a substitute for the sacrifice and how it points to our need for a saviour that I know is Yeshua. We ended with wishing everyone a new year, and shared a delicious meal.
“Everyone was talking and wanting to know more about our faith. Quite a few people had been reluctant to come to a celebration put on by Jews for Jesus, but were glad they came. One guy made a point to tell me it was the best Rosh Hashanah celebration he has ever experienced. Please pray that the people who came will continue to think about Yeshua.”
Massah photos by Jake Blackburn