New missionary trainee Melissa (right) with veteran missionary/trainer Karol.
Photo by Sarah Trank

Aaron Trank reports from Jews for Jesus HQ: “A team of 15 people including Jews for Jesus missionary trainees, interns, and local staff did an experimental outreach on the San Francisco State University campus. Wearing ‘Jesus Loves SF’ T-shirts and carrying colored chalk and clipboards, we set out to engage students in conversations by asking them, ‘What do you think about God?’ When students stopped to ask who we were and what we were doing, we explained we’re Jews for Jesus, handed them a piece of chalk and encouraged them to share their thoughts in a chalk drawing that spanned the sidewalk.

“Many were surprised by this approach. One woman exclaimed, ‘Normally I see you out trying to tell other people what you believe. I don’t agree with your beliefs, but I’m happy to talk to you today because you are asking me to express what I believe. This is a great way to get people thinking!’ Over the course of two hours, we had hundreds of spiritual conversations with people on campus. We asked each one who contributed to the chalk drawing to give his or her email address so we could send a copy of a photo collage of the sidewalk ‘art.’ At the end of the day 69 people gave their email addresses, and out of these contacts 4 of them were Jewish. This represents just a fraction of the people we talked to. And as you can see by the photo, by the end of the outreach we were pretty much out of chalk!

“Afterwards, our team discussed the outreach and what we can do better next time. Everyone was excited about the high level of interaction we experienced, and the consensus was that next time, we’ll come up with questions that will likely be especially interesting to the Jewish community on campus.”