We’ve got reports and photos from our most recent Camp Gilgal adventures as well as from our Budapest Campaign.
Thank you for praying for Camp Gilgal!
Camp Gilgal is our Messianic camp program for Jewish children and youth. This year was our 22nd summer! In July’s issue of RealTime, we shared some of what happened during our junior camps for Jewish children ages 8-12. Since then, we’ve held our teen camps for ages 13-15 and our adventure camps for ages 16-18, and we are humbled by how faithfully God met us there. This year’s teen camp Bible lessons were based on the book of Acts and centered around the theme, “You Shall Be My Witnesses.” Our adventure camps’ theme was “God Will Never Let Go” and was based on the book of Jonah. [full story]
The following report is from Avi Snyder, director of our European work.
Thanks for praying for our outreach in Budapest!
Our “Life from the Dead” campaign in Budapest has ended. My colleagues Kata Tar, Aaron Lewin and Irina Voldarska did a remarkable job of coordinating this major outreach. An average of 19 team members took to the streets, four times a day. In a little over two weeks, they placed gospel literature into the hands of over 168,000 people. More than 850 people — Jews and non-Jews, believers and nonbelievers — gave us their “contact” details so that we can stay in touch with them. That number includes 92 Jewish seekers willing to hear more. Four Jewish people and thirty-seven non-Jews prayed with team members to receive the Lord.
Budapest has the largest Jewish population of any city in all of central or Eastern Europe. Approximately 100,000 Jewish people make Budapest their home.
It’s no secret that anti-Semitism still runs very deep in this city. A number of people who, unfortunately, harbor hatred for us Jews aren’t the least bit shy about engaging us in conversations on the streets. But the last thing they expect to hear is the message of God’s love from the lips of us Jews!
And in a curious sense, our forthright story has provoked Jewish people to talk openly with us on the streets. Let me give you a quick example.
An older gentleman named Gabor lingered a short distance away, reading the tract that I’d given him. When I asked him what he thought about Yeshua (Jesus), he shrugged in a non-committal way and replied, “Well, I’m an atheist.” Then he asked me why I believed. I told him that for a while, I also claimed to be an atheist, because I was angry at God. Then one day, I realized that my own anger proved that I believed in God (How can you be angry at someone who doesn’t exist?). Gabor stared a moment at the words on my shirt (“Jews for Jesus” in Hungarian). Then he glanced furtively about and said in a quiet voice, “I’m Jewish.” “I know,” I said. “There are many people here who don’t like us,” he said. “I know that, too,” I answered. “So why do you do this?” “So I can find and talk to people like you.” By the time you receive this note, Gabor and I will have already met and talked again. Please pray for very fruitful follow-up visits with all the contacts that the team members received.
We deliberately timed our outreach to coincide with a Jewish cultural festival taking place in Budapest. Quite a few Israelis came to the festival, and we had excellent opportunities to bring the gospel to them.
By the middle of the second week, all of us began to see a pattern of curious smiles on the faces of people on the streets — wry, surrendering smiles that said, “Ok, I’ll finally take a pamphlet from you.”
I’m surprised and encouraged by the number of Jewish believers in Jesus who’ve taken it upon themselves to come up to us. We received an email from a man named Andras. After receiving one of our tracts, he wrote to tell us that he’s a Messianic Jew who wants to get involved. I’d like to think that God might be directing us to some people who may play key roles in the indigenous missionary team that we hope to see Him build in Budapest.
God gave us a number of opportunities to speak about Yeshua with Holocaust survivors or with the children of survivors. On Friday night, September 7, we showed “Survivor Stories” – a documentary about seven Jewish men and women who survived the Holocaust and then came to faith in Jesus. To be honest, I had no idea how many people to expect, and I would have been happy if 50 people had come. By the start of the film, some 300 people had filled the hall, and about a quarter of them filled out “follow-up” cards so that we could tell them more.
On Monday night, September 17, we’ll conclude our celebration of Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) with an evangelistic service. Please pray that many of the campaign contacts — as well as many others — will come and be touched by God’s promise of new life in the Messiah!
Please pray for the follow up from this outreach, and that it will help to build a community of believers who will help to make our new Budapest branch a beacon of gospel light in Central Europe.