Jews for Jesus

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Posts Tagged 'direct from the field'

Bits from the Branches

Phoenix

Bruce Rapp reports, I've been meeting with Joe, a retired policeman who served for 32 years on the NYPD. He also went to Israel in 1973 to help during the 'Yom Kippur War.' 

"For many years, Joe did not believe in God, mostly because of all the evil in the world. Only in these last years has he begun to believe that God is real and has been watching over him. But Y'shua, Jesus? That was a stretch for Joe. When we talked, he'd look down and say how religion has been the cause of so much conflict in the world. As I listened, I would silently pray, 'God help me to show him Your love for him and how You sent Your Son to take on the sins of the world.'

"Finally I touched his hand and asked him to look at me. His eyes met mine and I began to say how it wasn't about religion, but at this moment it was about him and his relationship with God. Joe continued to look at me, and I found the words begin to come. God enabled me to speak into his heart and tell what Y'shua had done for him.

"Joe got it! He nodded his head in agreement, and when I asked him if he wanted to reconcile with God and receive Y'shua, he said yes! After he prayed, his eyes welled up with tears, he said he felt a great heaviness lifted from him. Please pray for Joe as I continue to meet with him, and try to help him to get connected with a messianic congregation not far from his home."

MontrTal

Karl deSouza reports, "I met David five months ago at a local mall during our Christmas Outreach. He was glad to see us and told me he had just started to believe in Jesus as the Messiah about a month earlier. 

"We followed up with a meeting at that same mall. David explained how he'd been raised in a religious home, went to Jewish school, and had never considered Jesus until a Christian couple shared the Gospel with him and invited him to church. He had come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah but didn't believe He is God. We studied Zechariah 12, where God is seen and 'pierced,' and related it to its New Testament fulfillment in John 19:37 and Revelation 1:7-8. David exclaimed, 'I believe it!'  We looked at other passages like Isaiah 9:6-7 and considered the titles of Messiah, some of which are completely inappropriate for a mere human being. David prayed to turn from his sins and received Y'shua as his Messiah, Saviour, and God.  Please pray for him in his new walk with the Lord and that his family would be open to Y'shua."

Toronto

Laura Barron gives an update on Kathy, whom she asked prayer for in the March Newsletter. "When I first met Kathy, she had so many questions about faith in Jesus and whenever we talked, she brought her list for me to answer. During one of our visits, I could tell that it wasn't so much the questions keeping her from Jesus but more a fear of what it would mean for relationships with her Jewish family and community.

She came to my house a couple of weeks ago for a Shabbat fellowship and she was talking as if she was already a believer in Y'shua. She even broke off a relationship with a man who 'wasn't going in the same spiritual direction' as she was!

The next time I contacted her she told me that she had been going to some Bible studies and when someone asked her if she was a follower of Jesus and she surprised herself by replying, 'Yes!' When I asked her if she had verbally offered her life to the Lord and asked him to forgive her sins, she wondered if she had to make a formal appointment at a church to do that. She was delighted when she realized that she could confess her faith right on the phone with me. Please pray that she will grow and that God will continue to bless her with fellowship."

Bits from the Branches

Los Angeles

Tuvya Zaretsky reports, Two years ago we published an article in our newsletter titled "Never Too Old" about a Jewish man named Chuck. Cyril Gordon and I had ministered to Chuck and he repented and came to faith in Messiah in August 2008. I visited him last year, just before Christmas at the invitation of a family member. Chuck was dying of cancer, but his spirits were good and his faith was unwavering as he looked ahead to the shalom of being with his Lord. He asked me to help out with his funeral; specifically he wanted to insure a testimony of his Jewish identity and his faith in Y'shua to unsaved family members. So, after 89 years of life on earth—and more than two of those walking with the Savior—Chuck passed into life everlasting in the presence of Messiah Jesus—on December 27. Please pray that God will work in the hearts of family members who heard of his faith.

New York

Shoshannah Weinisch reports, "I received a phone call from Bonnie, a Jewish believer I meet with occasionally. She called to tell me she met another Jewish believer and as he shared his testimony, he explained that eighteen years ago two of his [then] patients, Stewart and Shoshannah, shared the gospel with him. And now he is a believer! They were surprised they both knew me, and I was floored to hear the news. We all will be getting together soon. Bonnie was so excited to tell me, 'A seed you planted long ago has bloomed!' I hope this will encourage anyone who has prayed and witnessed without seeing fruit. 'Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up' (Galatians 6:9)."

Tel Aviv

Yarden Nasser reports, "It was my second visit with Mila. She invited Moti (a student intern) and me to come inside her small apartment with a mattress on the floor. She has a boy about eight years old. She was very glad to meet with me and even though she didn't agree that Jesus is the Messiah, she was willing to investigate and study the Bible together. As I taught her about the meaning of the Messiah and the priest in the Hebrew Scriptures, she listened carefully. Then we read some prophecies from Isaiah. She agreed about the sin in the world and commented that most people don't want to come to a holy God 'because they want to continue to sin.' She didn't resist hearing the gospel. After I prayed for her, she began to tear as she explained how difficult her life is. She is a single hardworking mom. Please pray for Mila to be saved; she seems very close."

"Gozena, a Jewish-Spanish woman in Tel Aviv, is a brilliant woman who has her own business. I met her for the first time a year ago; she is a contact from the Behold Your God Gush Dan campaign. When I came to her home, her family members were there. She invited me to speak what was on my mind in front of all of them. I thought they might kick me out of the house! But after they listened a little bit, everyone except Gozena went to do whatever they needed to do. Gozena said that she felt what I believe about Jesus could be true. She invited me to visit her at her work. I came and we began to study from the Gospel of John.  Gozena's assistant kept interrupting to contradict the gospel. Finally Gozena told her assistant that she wanted to read and to learn about Jesus, which was a victory in my eyes! The next time we met at her office, we studied Isaiah 53 together and she agreed that it's about Jesus. She wants to continue studying the Bible with us. Please pray for Gozena to receive Jesus as her Savior!"

Bits from the Branches

New York

Simon Lissak reports, I was in the Diamond District of New York when I met Jacob, a young Israeli in his twenties who came up specifically to ask me, 'What is Jews for Jesus all about?' I answered his question and at the end of our conversation I offered to meet with him to talk about this further. Jacob agreed and gave me his e-mail address and phone number. Please pray for God to work in his heart.

"I then met Lauren, a Jewish woman, also in her twenties. Amazingly, it emerged that she was English, lived in London, even went to my old school—and was only in New York for a few hours! Lauren never really connected with the Orthodox synagogue that her family attends and feels in limbo about her faith. I explained how I was fulfilled as a Jew through faith in Jesus. She gave me her e-mail and has agreed to meet when I finish my New York training and return to London."

Israel

Oded Cohen reports, "After asking you to pray for Ami,* I want to share the good news that he now believes in Jesus! Before we left for a recent trip, we took Ami to a congregation and he has attended every week since. After returning home to Israel I called Ami, and during our conversation I asked, 'Where are you at now? Did you come to believe that Jesus is your Lord and Savior?' Ami responded, 'Oh yes, yes, definitely.' He added, 'Since I came to believe, I can really pray to God.' He has already told his mom and thinks that she is not too far from believing herself. He also told his friends—one of whom has already met with another of our missionaries. This friend said he wished he could believe, too. Please pray for Ami's spiritual growth and for salvation for his friends and family."

Bimini Cohen reports, "One of our missionaries in New York requested by e-mail that we follow up with Avi* (an Israeli believer he met who was vacationing in New York). We recognized from the brief description of his salvation story that we know him! My husband Oded and Avi attended the same Jews for Jesus Bible study back in 1999—when they were new believers. We also had the privilege of attending Avi's baptism under the Golden Gate Bridge in the Pacific Ocean, but we lost touch with him when he moved back to Israel. Not too long ago, we thought of him and were wondering how we might find him. Well, God certainly answered that prayer! He is now married with a child and lives near us. We look forward to seeing him again and hope to have a ministry to his wife, who does not yet believe. Please pray for our contact with them."
*not his real name

Germany

Dina Markova reports, "Olga* and I live in the same block. In the past, I shared the Good News with her and told her about our faith in detail. Olga didn't seem to show interest, and I stopped calling her. Recently, when I saw her in the neighborhood, she asked me why I hadn't call her in a while. It turned out that she was far more interested and open than our last visit had indicated. She asked me to visit her home for a cup of tea. We came to her place and the first thing we did was to pray the sinner's prayer. Olga thanked Y'shua for the gift of eternal life!"
* not her real name

Igor Shelest reports, "I visited an elderly woman named Zlata who has multiple sclerosis. One woman I used to minister to died from this disease, so I realized that every minute with Zlata was precious. I had visited her before and this time I prepared a study about sin.  God opened her heart to the gospel and she said she believed. I asked her if she wanted to ask forgiveness for her sins from God in the name of Jesus Christ, and she said yes, so we prayed. After the prayer she said she felt as if something had filled her inside. I could really see a difference in her countenance. Please pray for her to grow in the Lord."

Bits from the Branches

Paris

Josh Turnil reports, Sylvie is a Jewish woman in her forties. She and her Jewish husband were married in a traditional synagogue and are raising their children as Jews. In fact, Sylvie has had little interaction with non-Jews. Then she took a summer job at a novelty shop to help out the owners, who were friends of hers. One day, a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses walked into the shop and what they said got her thinking and questioning a few things. She talked to her family about it, but they didn't seem to find the topic too interesting. One day, Sylvie's mother-in-law received a Jews for Jesus broadside tract. She gave it to her daughter-in-law and said, 'You'll like this! Maybe they have some answers for you!'  Sylvie called the number on the tract and we connected. I invited her to come to the office and she prayed to accept Christ! Pray the seed of faith grows in fertile ground and that we get a chance to minister to others in her family."

Essen

Leonid Dolganovsky reports, "When our publication for Jewish seekers returned to me with a note saying the person was no longer at that address, I phoned to check our information. The man, Ilya, confirmed that he hadn't received any publications from us for a long time. He was curious about what he had missed, and asked what the last issue was about. I explained that it featured an article about Jesus and about how He was mentioned in the Kabbalah.* Ilya asked me to send him a copy of that edition. When I asked Ilya who he thought Jesus was, he said he wanted to talk to me about that after reading the publication. Please pray for Ilya."

*The article is not designed to endorse the Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), but to engage those who are interested in it with the truth of Jesus.

Brooklyn

Jeremiah Zaretsky reports, " I was on a noon-time outreach to Williamsburg's Hassidic Jews with Anna Marie (our Manhattan office manager who has been witnessing in the Hassidic communities for several years). She was especially hoping to connect with two people whom she has been ministering to over the last few years.

At first we walked the neighborhood praying for God to direct and lead us to those individuals who were open—whose hearts God was touching. Evangelism among Hasidic Jews requires thoughtfulness and carefulness. Approaching the wrong person or saying the wrong thing could cause a riot.

Towards the end of our time, Anna Marie stopped by to see "H," a Hasidic Jew who she led to faith after our Behold Your God Brooklyn Campaign. As she spoke with him, I engaged with a Hasidic man across the street. Surprisingly, when I told him that I believe Jesus is our Messiah, he didn't seem startled. In fact, we conversed for another few minutes about why I believe that Jesus is our Messiah.

I returned to the car and Anna Marie was already waiting for me—but before we went home she had to see " F."   " F" had come to faith just four weeks prior to the time of this writing. He had seen an evangelistic ad in the paper by Jews for Jesus and kept it for a few years before calling the number. When he called, Anna Marie answered. She had been talking to him on the phone for four years and had finally led him to the Lord, yet they had never met in person. She called " F" to tell him we were in the area. He described his location and Anna Marie told him the color and kind of car we were in as we headed in his direction, so he'd know what to look for. Finally Anna Marie asked, 'Is that you by that big truck on the corner?  If that's you ...' [she asked him to make a particular gesture that we could see.] Sure enough, he did. As we drove by him, he turned and as our eyes met his we saw him smile. I will never forget that moment. After four years of ministering to him on the phone, Anna Marie finally got to see this man's face.

"F" has received a Hebrew New Testament and other literature from Jews for Jesus and says he can't stop reading!  He is now encouraging us to talk to his wife about Y'shua—please pray for her to be open to the gospel."

Bits from Behold Your God ISRAEL

These are just a few highlights from the first few days of the Sharon campaign, which began the day after Moishe’s homegoing.

Casey, one of our American campaigners, told Oded, one of our Israeli staff, that she was feeling ineffective as most people seemed to be uninterested and closed to the gospel. Oded reminded her that God had brought her to this campaign and she could trust Him. Within the next five minutes, Casey began witnessing to an English-speaking shopkeeper. When she had explained the gospel, he indicated that he believed and wanted to pray to receive the Lord. Casey couldn’t believe it, and explained the gospel again. The shopkeeper insisted, “I want Mashiach now!” So she prayed with him. Afterward she reviewed the gospel yet a third time—and he brought her into his store to introduce her to the other employees, asking her to give them literature.

Heather was with a team in Herzylia. They were handing out leaflets near a club, asking people, “Do you know who Jesus is and do you know what He did?” One young woman left her place in the line outside the club to come and talk. Heather explained the gospel and told her what it meant to receive Y’shua (Jesus) as Lord and Savior. When she invited the girl to repent of her sins and surrender her life into Y’shua’s hands, the girl said she wanted to do so. As they started to pray, about five of the girl’s friends came to drag her back into the crowd. Heather followed after and heard the friends laughing and mocking. She told the girl who’d begun to pray, “God cannot be mocked. Do you really want to do this?” The girl replied, “They are mocking, but I really want to do this,” and together they finished the prayer.

Tuvya began witnessing to a couple of men on the beach at Herzylia. They were cynical and angry about the fact that as homosexuals they were hated and have suffered at the hands of religious people. As Tuvya patiently persisted, one of the guys asked him, “Are you happy?” Tuvya responded, “No. Happiness comes and goes. In fact today I am grieving for the death of a friend.” The man appreciated Tuvya’s transparency, and Tuvya went on to explain that believers in Jesus have hope and a foundation of joy in life. He also pointed out that although Jewish believers in Y’shua are treated like second-class citizens, we are glad to come tell people about real joy in life. The demeanor of both mean profoundly changed. They didn’t give any contact information, “But,” Tuvya said, “I have no doubt that they were both deeply moved by the power of the living God. It was a very spiritual moment.”

Heather shared the gospel with a Jewish grandfather. After she explained the gospel, he said, “How can I come to Y’shua? She said, “First you must believe he died for your sins. Do you believe he died to be a kapporah (atonement) for your sins?” He said, “Yes.” She went on to explain, “This is a covenant between you and the almighty God based on what Jesus did. In order to come to the Lord Jesus, you must repent and ask for forgiveness of your sins. Then you must ask Jesus to come into your heart and begin a new work in your heart. Do you want to do this?” The man prayed with her and then said, “My life is totally empty. I have two cars, two houses and I eat steak, but I am empty. When I was saying the prayer, I felt something happening to me. What must I do now?” Heather promised to send him more information, encouraged him to go to a congregation and told him that someone would contact him to help him grow in his faith.

For more details on the Behold Your God campaign that took place in May, see the June edition of RealTime.

Bits from the Branches

Brooklyn

Sam is a 23-year-old Hasid who called us a few months ago. He met with Jhan Moskowitz once, then spoke with Karol Joseph on the phone several weeks later. Their conversation went something like this:  

Sam:  ”I understand you have a program for helping Hasids leave the community.”

Karol:  ”Well, not exactly. Let me ask you why you want to leave the community; are you looking to know more about God and Jesus?  Or are you looking for something else.”

Sam: “I just want an easier life.”

Karol: (with a smile) ”Well, then, you don’t want Jesus.”

Karol says, “We continued to talk about what it really means to believe and follow Jesus, and Sam wasn’t exactly open to that. He called back again a few weeks later, this time wanting to talk more about Jesus. I wasn’t there, so he spoke to Nicole (our office administrator), who shared Isaiah 53 with him and led him in a prayer to receive the LORD. However, within ten minutes he called again to change his mind. This is not uncommon among Hasidic seekers on their journey of faith. I believe we haven’t seen the end of Sam, but he really needs our prayers.”

Peter Blitshteyn reports, “Sixteen people attended one of our recent Shabbat services, including three new visitors: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! We actually have been praying faithfully for at least three new Jewish seekers to visit. Praise God who hears and answers our prayers. One of the visitors, Isaac, came all the way from upstate New York. Please pray that each one of these precious souls will continue to attend faithfully and take root in this community of Russian Jewish believers in Jesus.”

Massah

Ed: Massah is not a branch, but it is a fluid and growing experimental outreach of Jews for Jesus. Daniel Goldstein, who is part of our Tel Aviv branch, dreamed of and helped create this program to send small communities of young Jewish believers out to witness to Israeli backpackers in different parts of the world.

Daniel reported, “In May I went to South America to ‘scout out’ potential evangelism to Israeli backpackers there. I gave a few people Hebrew copies of the Brit Hadasha (New Testament). I also left a few in key places at guesthouses, and gave an e-mail address inside in case anyone wanted to interact.

“About five months later after returning to Israel, I checked that e-mail and found that someone from Peru had written to me after he found the New Testament at a guesthouse. He said he was really glad to find it, and gave it to an Israeli friend of his who was also glad to receive it. I answered his e-mail and learned that he loves Y’shua too, works at one of the biggest Israeli hostels in a major city in Peru, speaks Hebrew and interacts with Israelis daily! He was excited about our efforts to share Y’shua with Israelis and asked if I could send him more New Testaments that he could give out.

“Please pray that God will continue to pave the way for ongoing evangelism to Israelis in South America.”

Kharkov

Svetlana Kotlomina reports, “I am amazed by how DVD resources help me build bridges to visit and minister to Jewish hearts. I began with three of our own DVDs: ‘Survivor Stories’ (testimonies of Holocaust Survivors who came to faith in Jesus), ‘Forbidden Peace’ (personal stories showing how Jesus can reconcile Jews and Arabs who have come to faith), and ‘Sam Rotman’ (the testimony and performance of a Russian Jewish believer in Jesus who is a gifted pianist). Then, from Slovo.org I also downloaded a series of Russian language discs that ‘tour’ biblical sites in Israel, complete with Scriptures to go along with the sites. I have given these discs for use to approximately 50 homes, but each time I find that people who receive them share them with their relatives, neighbors and colleagues.

“People who were slow to meet with me before, or would cancel visits, are now calling me to ask questions about what they saw, and to ask when I will bring the next ‘installment’ of DVDs. So far, the DVDs serve to expose people to the Bible and the person of Jesus. Please pray that these bridges will lead people to real understanding, repentance and reconciliation.”

Bits from the Branches

Australia

Back in July, 2005, we reported* that the window of our Sydney storefront was shattered in an act of vandalism. While this kind of attention is never welcome or sought, God can still use it to His glory. As a result of the vandalism, two newspaper articles and one national television spot made the public aware of the existence of Jews who stand for Jesus. Several unbelieving Jewish people dropped by the storefront as a result of this coverage.

Nearly four years later another such incident occurred. Branch leader Bob Mendelsohn reports, The Jewish news recently reported on two Jewish teenagers who vandalized our office. The 19 year olds, one of whom stood trial, came into the shop and made amends. They appeared contrite and paid for the damages." Pray for these young men to reflect on the kindness they received in response to their apologies, and that God will enable them to discover His love and mercy, through Jesus.

*We reported this in our monthly e-publication, RealTime. Click here if you would like to receive RealTime.

Los Angeles

Is Jews for Jesus' Los Angeles Branch Going to Pot?!

Tuvya Zaretsky reports, "A new Medical Marijuana office, complete with a neon cannabis leaf in the window, has opened next door to the Los Angeles branch office in Westwood. "While Tuvya joked, "That should draw a whole new crowd to see the bookstore resources in our front window." In fact, if the new office does attract many clients and/or people who are curious about their sign, they might just find their way to the Jews for Jesus center next door.

Cyril Gordon reports, "'J.L.,' a new Jewish believer in Jesus from an Orthodox background, shared his testimony at the Los Angeles branch's Jewish Men's BBQ. It was encouraging to hear him tell fifteen other guys how Jesus healed him from drug and sexual addiction. J.L. was first pointed to Jesus by a Gentile Christian client. After two years of wrestling with the Messianic claims of Jesus, he decided to look up Jews for Jesus for answers to his questions. Over a two-year period, three of our staff have ministered to him and finally 'the veil was lifted.'

"Thanks to the Lord Jesus, J.L. is healed of his addictions. He has recently been baptized, is plugged into a local Bible-believing church, and we are discipling him. Please pray for J.L., who works in an Orthodox Jewish company."

South Florida

Greg Savitt reports, "More than fourteen volunteers came to help us at the Coconut Grove Art Festival and together we handed out over 13,200 tracts. We were most encouraged by the number of Jewish conversations. Two Jewish people in separate instances told me, 'Give your best reasons why you believe Jesus is the Messiah.' I gave them both two reasons: the evidence of the Resurrection and Messianic prophecy. Both of these people promised to read Isaiah 53."

London

In last month's newsletter we had an article titled, "Never Too Old." This month, Alison Barnett asks prayer for a 92-year-old Jewish woman she met while making evangelistic phone calls from our contact list. "Millie regularly attends shul (synagogue) and has been enjoying receiving ISSUES* (our print publication for seekers). However, she made a point of telling me, 'I couldn't believe in Jesus, though, because I am Jewish. Jews don't believe in Jesus.' I replied, 'Well, I am Jewish and I believe in Jesus. In fact, my husband is also Jewish and he believes in Jesus too. 'Millie seemed truly surprised. I asked if she would like to meet up and talk more about it and she agreed. Please pray that God opens her heart to the gospel message."

*If you have a Jewish friend who does not know Jesus, you can use this link to request that we send him or her a free subscription to ISSUES. Include a phone number if you would like us to follow up by phoning to see what your friend thinks about the publication. Unless you indicate otherwise, we will not mention your name as the referrer.

We Plan, God Laughs

The old Yiddish adage, "We plan, God laughs" is a great reminder of His sovereignty. So much so that I have the saying posted on a refrigerator magnet in my kitchen. Many have commented on the truthfulness of that saying when they visit my home; often they themselves laugh when they read it, or at least give a knowing smile. As believers, most of us have seen that truth lived out many times in our own lives, but it's much more fun to watch it played out in someone else's life right before our eyes. I feel that this is what has been happening in our experience with Marty (not his real name).

Marty attended his first Jews for Jesus weekly Bible study in my home several months ago. We were introduced by one of our regular attendees, Sherry, who leads us in worship through music every week. She and Marty had recently met and he was interested in coming to spend some time with her, and to hear her sing. He was very pleasant but made it quite clear from the outset that he hadn't come to learn about God, since he was agnostic at best, with very strong leanings towards atheism. He also made it clear that he certainly wasn't interested in believing in Jesus, since he was Jewish—though he believed that Jesus lived and had many good things to say and teach. He also wanted me to know from that start that he didn't believe that the Bible was true, either, so that anything we might say based on the Bible would hold no weight with him.

What he did believe in, however, was science and evolution. He was firmly committed to the idea that the Bible couldn't possibly be true because "we know" that the world wasn't created in seven days but has been around for millions, if not billions, of years.

I wasn't sure that Marty would make it through that first Bible study, as we spend about an hour each week working line by line through a passage of Scripture. I was quite surprised that first week that Marty not only stayed for the entire study, but he was the last one out the door at the end of our fellowship hour. He asked question after question, raising objection after objection. And I, along with others, answered each one as best I could.

The following week Marty returned for more, and has returned almost every week since. At some point I discovered that he was a voracious reader, so for several weeks he would leave with a book (or even two) that I would recommend he read; whatever I loaned him he finished reading by the next week. He would usually call me sometime during the week with questions and comments about the reading material, but he would also come back with a list of things that he wanted to discuss.

Marty continues to insist that he will never believe what we believe, and sometimes asks me why I would want to "waste my time" with him in light of that fact.*  When he asks me that, I simply remind him that he has actually shifted quite significantly over these last few months from being an almost total atheist to finally acknowledging (based on all he has read and heard) that there actually is a God. I told him that some of his questions and comments sound like someone who is sincerely searching for the truth. And then I ask him what he thinks keeps him coming back week after week if he's really so closed to the idea. My prayer is that one day Marty will look back over this season and see that while he had his plans, there was God all along, laughing. 

Karol Joseph leads our work in Brooklyn.

*Editor's note: in fact, Marty is not the first to ask this question, and more than one person who did not want to "waste our time" has since come to faith in Jesus. Pray Marty will, too!

Bits from the Branches

Keep praying for the work in Israel! God is on the move ...

From Tel Aviv one of our interns, Alex, reports, "I met Nathaniel during an outreach at the Sea of Galilee. He seemed open to the gospel, received a New Testament from me and gave his phone number for follow up. A week later Avigail (another intern) and I met with Nathaniel and explained the gospel. Nathaniel said he believed, and prayed with us to receive Jesus. Soon after, he questioned the step he'd taken and expressed a preference to explore faith in Y'shua on his own.  Please pray that God will guard his new faith, and that he will want to continue discipleship study with the branch."

Avigail reports, "I met Leah* —a French Jewish woman who is newly immigrated to Israel—in my Hebrew language class. She saw me handing out tracts at Yitzachi Rabin Square and the next time we had class together, she asked about my work. When I explained that I work with Jews for Jesus and study the Bible with people who are interested, Leah said that she would like to study the Bible with me!  Please pray for her." 

Sarah reports, "As I began a sortie (tract-passing expedition), the first man who took a broadside looked familiar. He seemed open and when I suggested that he meet with one of our staff to discuss things further, he agreed.  As he was giving his contact information, I suddenly realized I'd met him in 2008 during the Tel Aviv Behold Your God campaign!  In fact, I met him twice during the campaign and I remembered how he was not interested in any further contact at that time.  I had written his name on an index card to pray for him in 2008 and found it still in my prayer journal.  Please join me in praying for Meir's salvation."

Phoenix

If the Son Sets You Free ...

Bruce Rapp reports, "Back in April of 2008 the chaplain at a local jail heard that I do prison ministry with Jewish inmates. He asked me to meet with Gary, who was incarcerated for eight years on a felony charge. Gary's cellmate was a Christian who had challenged Gary to consider the gospel. We began to meet and study the Bible. Some months later, in the visitation room, chained to his seat, Gary asked Y'shua into his life. We continued to meet periodically and he grew in his faith. Recently I received the following letter from a Christian friend of his.

‘...  I write to you the sad news that Gary died in his sleep of natural causes on May 4.  I thank God from the depths of my heart that He took you to Gary's jail cell, and that you led him in a prayer of faith to receive Yeshua as his Messiah. Because of your faithfulness to the Lord, Gary is now in the presence of his Messiah Yeshua. He suffered unbearable pain in body, soul and spirit in that jail and prison. He said that he would not have it any other way, because through that experience, he came to know God's faithfulness, love and great mercy. Gary had been out of prison just a few months [before he died]... . I thank you, Bruce, for praying with Gary that day, and ... Gary and I will thank you throughout all eternity!

-Joyce'"

Essen

Dina Markova reports: "I was handing out ‘The Only Hope for Peace' broadside. A Jewish couple passed me by but the man came back and asked for a broadside. His wife came after him and said, ‘Let's go. I'm sick of this!' I turned to both of them and asked, ‘Who do you think Jesus is?' The man replied a little off the topic, ‘Our granddaughter goes to a boarding school; there they learn about Jesus.'

‘Perhaps it will be interesting for us to talk about Jesus together,' I suggested, then continued, ‘We believe that He is the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of all people.' After a few more minutes of conversation, Eduard and Lusya gave me their phone number! Please pray for us to be able to study the Bible together, and for Lusya and Eduard to be saved."

*Name has been changed

Bits from the Branches

Toronto

Laura Barron reports, "I first heard about Sharon* through Dan Sered, who leads our work in Israel. She had ordered the Hebrew translation of our book of Messianic prophecies, Y'shua,the Jewish Way to say Jesus. Dan passed on her contact info because she lives in Canada. I phoned her and we seemed to connect right away. When she told me that she would be coming to Toronto we arranged to meet for coffee.

"I could see that she was definitely on a spiritual journey and searching for truth. I told her my testimony and explained the gospel to her. Sharon said that she had a lot to think about after our first meeting.Shortly after our second visit, she mentioned that she was going to Israel to visit family, but she also wanted to meet other Jewish believers there to talk more about faith in Jesus.

"It's amazing how the Holy Spirit works through our ministry as a global network. Sharon said that she wouldn't have a phone or long-term address during her travels in Israel, but she would access her Facebook page regularly through Wi-Fi. I messaged a co-worker in Israel through Facebook: he contacted her through Facebook and they arranged to meet. He was able to tell her his testimony, which resonated with her own spiritual quest.

"I know that I can reconnect with Sharon when she returns to Canada, but also I know that wherever she is, God is working in her life and it's easy to connect her with other believers for further ministry. I am so grateful for how instant and personal communication can be in the 21st century. But the most timeless and effective form of ministry still remains true and unchanging—prayer. Please pray with me for Sharon, that God will meet her wherever she goes to draw her to Y'shua."

Washington, D. C.

Deb Dubin reports, "In May 2011, Stephen Katz, our branch leader, parked his Jews for Jesus vehicle at a local shopping area and a Jewish woman named Lisa approached him with some questions. She gave him her email address and he asked me to follow up.

"Though originally from France, Lisa's English is fluent. She believes that Jesus had to be much more than a rabbi. She has a Bible and has been reading it on her own ... when no one's around. She also has a Christian friend who has impressed her. She was very open to hearing about how I came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, so I was able to share my testimony during that first visit. 

"Then, during a visit to the DC branch, Jeremy Saadoun and Chantale Onana (two of our missionary trainees who speak French fluently) came with me to visit Lisa. She wiped tears from her eyes as she heard Jeremy's testimony of what Jesus had done in his life.  

I am thankful that we have the privilege to speak truth into people's lives as a team as described in 1 Corinthians 3:6. One of us plants, another waters, but only God's Spirit can provide the increase. Please pray for Lisa to be saved."

New York City

Josh Turnil reports, "Brooklyn has some of the most Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in New York. Karol Joseph has had interesting contacts among the Hasidic community there and encouraged me to join her to hand out Isaiah 53 pamphlets.

"After about fifteen minutes someone starting yelling at us. It seemed as if the man could not notice me despite my best efforts to engage him in a conversation and give Karol some respite. As I attempted to distract him, another Hasidic man tapped me on the shoulder and asked politely, ‘Are you handing these out?'

"When I responded affirmatively, he smiled and said, ‘I'm very glad to meet you, I've been reading Philippians and wanting to talk to someone about it.' It was rather surreal: in one ear I could hear the rantings and railings against my colleague and in the other the polite and sincere tone of an Orthodox Jew who was delighted to meet us.

"It turns out Isaac came to faith in Jesus (recently) through a local radio program. He and I have been studying the Bible off and on, but his rabbi friends would like him to stop seeing me. Please pray that Isaac grows in his faith and that others would continue to come to Y'shua, despite the pressure they face."

* not her real name

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