Shalom Brooklyn 2014
Shalom Brooklyn is an outreach offering peace through Jesus to the Jewish people of Brooklyn and New York City. Through sports camps, medical and legal clinics, ESL classes, street evangelism, music and drama, lectures, and more, we will show God's love through Jesus in creative and interesting ways.
We are entering the second year of our campaign to bring awareness to New York City about the prophecies describing Jesus in Isaiah chapter 53. In this incredible chapter, the Messiah was spoken of over 700 years before He walked the earth. We are using this passage of the Hebrew Scriptures in sharing with the Jewish people of New York; it is a tremendous tool to start conversations.
Shalom! I still cannot get over my recent trip to Israel - the number of Jewish believers continues to grow, and it is exciting to watch this happen! All I can say is that: Israelis are open to the Gospel, Hebrew-speaking congregations are growing, and many younger Israelis are coming to faith in Jesus the Messiah.
I have not seen such vitality in my forty-plus years of ministry!
Is it because we have been praying? I believe this is part of it, so please continue praying for this growing movement of Jewish people turning to the Lord in Israel.
Is it because believers in Israel are getting better known within Israel and becoming bolder about their faith? This is also true!
There are probably many reasons why the Messianic movement in Israel is growing. Perhaps we are simply getting closer to the return of the Lord Jesus?
Chosen People Ministries, Your Mission to the Jewish People, is doing everything possible to encourage this movement of the Spirit in these last days. Let me mention a few areas of our ministry focus:
The Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Centers
We are touching the lives of Israelis through direct evangelism, discipleship and planting new Russian- and Hebrew-speaking congregations.
Aid to the Poor and Holocaust Survivors
We are meeting many of the dire needs of elderly Holocaust survivors and poor Russian Jewish immigrants to Israel. This ministry has expanded to five different cities in Israel and we are delighted to see the continued good response as love always draws people to the Lord!
The Isaiah 53 Campaign in Hebrew
This new online outreach is up and running, and we have had more than 10,000 visitors to our www.isaiah53.co.il website. Thirty thousand Israelis have watched the testimony video, and there is constant dialogue with Israeli seekers as a result. This is a partnership project with Israel College of the Bible and we are thrilled to combine our efforts with this wonderful ministry.
The Tel Aviv Project: An Added Ministry Focus
I also want to announce a new ministry strategy! For years we have focused on reaching Russian immigrants to Israel who have been so very open to the Gospel. This ministry of love, compassion and practical help has led to many receiving the Messiah, and to multiple Russian/Hebrew Messianic congregations planted, as mentioned above. This will continue, but we are now beginning a new effort to reach the younger, more secular Israeli families living in the Tel Aviv area.
Seventy percent of those responding to our Isaiah 53 Campaign in Israel live in the more secular areas of Tel Aviv, and we believe that it is time for us to "fan the flames." Therefore, we have initiated a new Tel Aviv Project that includes taking on some younger Israeli staff to serve in reaching their fellow young Israelis.
The average Israeli is young. About 42% are under the age of 24 and an additional 38% are between 25 and 54 years old. Tel Aviv includes 1.5 million of Israel's total population of 8.1 million (of which 75% are Jewish).
As you can see, it is important for us now to turn our eyes and hearts to the future and invest our time, treasure and talent in the next generation - without cutting back in our outreach to the elderly Russian Jewish folks and Holocaust survivors we love so dearly.
Of course, these bold initiatives require funding, and I am hoping you will partner with us in reaching a new generation of Israeli families. Your gift can change the future of Jewish evangelism among more than six million Jewish people in Israel!
To keep the new Tel Aviv Center running, we need $6,000 per month - about $200 per day! This new center, which we are renting and sharing with another ministry, is in a perfect location to reach younger families. Our Russian Israeli congregation will be able to meet there as well!
Would you support the Tel Aviv Center for a month, a year or even a day? Perhaps your Bible study or church would be willing to join together to provide the funding for this project.
NOW is the time to support Israel and experience the Lord's Genesis 12:3 blessings! And, of course, the greatest blessing we can bring to Israelis is Jesus.
Thanks for reading and praying about giving a generous and sacrificial gift to reach God’s chosen people in the Holy Land for Yeshua - our Messiah!
With great gratitude,
P.S. Remember, you can give by going online to www.chosenpeople.com/donate and indicating your gift is for our work in Israel.
Dear friend of the Messiah,
Shalom and I hope this note finds you rejoicing in God's goodness! The other day I was speaking to a Jewish friend about the Lord, and he immediately plugged me into the "converted to Christianity" category - which, in his mind, meant that I was no longer Jewish, and he no longer needed to listen to me.
I would have been upset, except for the fact that I'm used to such a reaction; I have experienced this attitude from Jewish family and friends since I became a believer forty-two years ago! However, I am delighted to say that things are changing - according to the recent Pew survey, about 34% of the Jewish community believes you can be Jewish and believe in Jesus!
This is encouraging, but it still means that about two-thirds of the Jewish community - approximately ten million Jewish people - still think the opposite.
My mother's parents never talked to me again after I became a believer in Jesus. My dad's parents, who were more secular, also did not believe it was possible for someone to be Jewish and a follower of Jesus. I have never expected anything other than deep resistance from members of my very Jewish family and from others who might not even be religious, but who are steeped in Jewish culture and are loyal to the Jewish community. You see, for many Jewish people, believing in Jesus is generally viewed as an act of community treason!
Jewish Responses to Jesus
Have you ever told a Jewish friend or relative about Jesus? I am sure you have tried! Perhaps some of your Jewish friends have shown some disappointment or even anger as a result of your sharing the Gospel with them. They might say, "Are you trying to convert me?"
I know you cherish your Jewish friends and do not intend to offend them with the Gospel. Your friendships are genuine and, when appropriate, you can cross the friendship bridge to share the story of the One who transformed your eternity and can do the same for your friend or loved one.
Your kind and sincere words may have been met by a sharp response, a surprised look or some other conversational cue that made you feel as if you had gone too far and stepped on hidden toes! You may have also tried to figure out what you actually said that was wrong or "insensitive." The answer, from my point of view, is probably "nothing."
You have innocently awakened 2,000-plus years of resistance to the Gospel and become the lightning rod of offense for the way Jewish people have been treated by "Christians" over the centuries.
The only solution is to be honest and kind, helping your Jewish friends and local Jewish community know that you are sharing the Good News with them from a heart of love - not out of religious contempt or superiority.
Reaching Our Jewish Loved Ones - Together!
We now have a beautiful Messianic Center in the middle of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn. We also have centers in the hearts of the religious Jewish communities of London, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aries, Berlin, Melbourne, and South Florida! We establish a presence in these areas in obedience to the Lord, and because we believe God has preserved a remnant of Jewish people who will believe in Jesus.
This is what the Apostle Paul, Rabbi Saul, said in Romans 11:5,
In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice.
I take great comfort in his inspired words. I am part of this remnant, as is my wife. Dozens of Chosen People Ministries' staff members are part of this remnant, too, and today I see this biblical teaching in reality before my very eyes!
So how do you break through the resistance to the Gospel on the part of your Jewish friends and family? First of all, through prayer, secondly through love, and finally through exercising great patience. In light of all I have mentioned, it is not realistic to think that Jewish people will "get over" 2,000-plus years of resistance to Christianity in a few moments of conversation. It sometimes takes years! But it starts with us as we take the first steps, in faith and obedience, to share our love, friendship and the Gospel with Jewish people.
Let's not grow weary in doing good and give up on our loved ones and friends because of discouragement. In fact, I have enclosed a card in this letter and if you give us the name of a Jewish friend, I will send them a free copy of the book Isaiah 53 Explained and our staff will pray for your Jewish friends as well.
Why a Special Mission to Jewish People?
Why does Chosen People Ministries exist? Why a particular mission to Jewish people?
In order to be open to the Good News, many Jewish people need to hear from a Jewish believer or Gentile who is well-trained in Jewish evangelism. Chosen People Ministries produces the books and resources that the Body of Messiah needs to become more understanding and effective in sharing the Gospel with Jewish people.
Chosen People Ministries exists to pray for, evangelize, disciple and serve the Jewish people and to help others do the same - and we want to help you!
In addition to sending us the name of a Jewish friend, so that we can send this person the free Isaiah 53 Explained book, you can visit our website for many more resources that will help you share Messiah with your Jewish friends and family.
I love the words of Psalm 133:1,
Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.
The Psalmist reminds us of the unity we share in fellowship, but we also share a unity in mission and purpose. We need you as our partner in making Jewish people jealous of the Jewish Messiah who lives in our hearts (Romans 11:11).
An Army of Friends Who Love Jesus and the Jewish People
Our summer outreach season is now upon us, and we will have teams in Brooklyn and Israel as well as children's camps on the east and west coasts… and more! Would you pray for our summer teams?
Please consider giving a generous gift today to support our work during the summer, when so many people are away and giving usually goes down - but evangelism intensifies! We also need to fund our teams of behind-the-scenes workers, without whom we could not do our ministry. In addition, in conjunction with Shalom Brooklyn this August, we will be intensifying our Isaiah 53 campaign advertising in New York City!
This summer, we will have about 300 people directly involved with all of our outreach - including our support teams. I am sure Gideon trusted the Lord to support his small "remnant army," and so do I. But I need your help in keeping our spiritual soldiers well-equipped to serve the Lord this summer!
I am looking for a matching Gideon's army of 300 friends who love Jesus and love the Jewish people to give $1,000 each, to help us enter the summer with adequate funds to support our planned evangelistic efforts. Maybe you can just send part of this amount, and whatever you give will be deeply appreciated!
Please pray for our summer ministries. I will keep you posted! And don't forget to let us help you share the Gospel with your Jewish friends by sending them an Isaiah 53 Explained book!
Have a wonderful and fruitful summer in the Messiah,
We covet your prayers for the missions that will take place this summer in New York City, Israel and around the world. Here is a helpful prayer calendar so that you can pray specifically for these ministries. May God bless you for your faithful prayers for the Gospel to go out this summer!
|Outreach Israel begins. Pray for traveling mercies, and for the team to be energized during their preparation time.|
|Outreach Israel team arrives in Israel!|
|Outreach Israel team hosts banquet for Holocaust survivors.|
|Outreach Israel team serves poor and needy Israelis in the food distribution centers.|
|Outreach Israel team travels back to the U.S. Pray for smooth travels.|
|eXperience Israel begins. Pray for traveling mercies!|
|eXperience Israel team serves poor and needy Israelis in the food distribution centers.|
|eXperience Israel team hosts children's ministry.|
|eXperience Israel team travels back to the U.S. Pray for smooth travels.|
|Shalom Brooklyn begins!|
|Shalom Brooklyn team hosts wellness clinics and health fairs on Brighton Beach.|
|Shalom Brooklyn team conducts a children’s sports camp and street evangelism.|
|Second week of Shalom Brooklyn begins. Pray for endurance for the team members!|
|Shalom Brooklyn team conducts surveys in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods.|
|Shalom Brooklyn team sets up book tables all around New York City. Pray for engaging conversations about Yeshua!|
|Shalom Brooklyn ends. Pray for safe travels for team members as they return home. Pray for successful follow-up with all the contacts made by the team.|
Robin B. leads our backpacking trips, on which she and her team members are able to encounter hundreds of Israelis who travel to exciting destinations - such as New Zealand, India, and Argentina - in search of the answers to life's most daunting questions. They are often searching for spiritual fulfillment, and are therefore very open to conversations about Yeshua (Jesus).
This is especially true of young Israeli men and women who have completed their military service. They entered the Israeli army as adolescents, and now they are young adults wondering what is next! There are countless wonderful stories from these trips of God using these teams to reach out to these wandering Israelis. Unfortunately, we do not have the space in this newsletter to share them all!
Here is one moving story from a recent trip to Argentina:
We met a young Israeli woman named Silvi* in Buenos Aires [Argentina] at a large Sabbath party. When we arrived in another city a few days later, we bumped into her again; she immediately said she was so glad to see us and wanted to spend more time with us. As we wandered around the city, Silvi and I got into a conversation about God. Silvi was raised Orthodox and went to a girls' Yeshiva (religious Jewish school) in Jerusalem for two years. She believed that following God should be more about personal connection, and was seeking ways to find this "path."
I began sharing things that Yeshua said to the Pharisees in Matthew 5 - and Silvi just kept saying, "Yes, this is what I think, too." I shared the Gospel, the Jewishness of the Gospel and some of my testimony. We are still in touch and she is already talking about meeting again in Israel to explore this "path" further.
In the Holy Land
Outreach Israel: This ministry trip is designed for college students and individuals ages 18-30 who are interested in reaching Israelis for the Messiah. Outreach Israel offers excellent opportunities to witness for the Lord and encourage Israeli youth who are part of congregations in the Land. It is an amazing experience - we read the Bible where it happened, live in Jerusalem, and have great adventures, including snorkeling in the Red Sea. Most of our time is spent in ministry - really connecting with Israelis, serving them and showing Yeshua's love in practical ways. Robin B., the trip leader, shares this story from last year's trip:
One night we went out to walk along the Sea of Galilee in Tiberias. We met a young woman named Lilah,* and were talking to her about Jesus. She had previously met a believer and was very interested to explore the Scriptures with us. Right there she sat on the ground, and we opened our Bibles. Her boyfriend, Uri,* was trying to stop her from talking with us.
A few of us went to sit with him and began talking with him about his band. All this time, Lilah was still reading Scripture with the rest of the team. Suddenly, Uri asked a bit about our faith in Jesus and invited all of us back to their home. It was a small studio apartment, and the 14 of us crammed in. We listened to music, and Lilah taught us about Yemenite Jewish culture, which led to more questions about Jesus. This lasted until 4:00 in the morning! Not long after this God-orchestrated evening, Lilah came to believe in Jesus as her Messiah! Pray for Uri and the seeds planted.
eXperience Israel: This trip is designed as a spiritual pilgrimage for young adults (ages 18-35) who want to engage with God by walking through the pages of biblical history and serving the people who live in Israel. This multi-faceted trip is led by Chosen People Ministries staff member Justin Kron. He explains,
No matter whether we’re serving the under-resourced at a humanitarian aid distribution center, visiting Holocaust survivors, or meeting young Israelis along the beach or at a café in Tel Aviv, there is never a shortage of divine encounters and conversations that God provides for our team members.
It is always a thrill to hear one of our team members share about a person they spoke with, like this past year when one of them shared that it was the first time that she had ever shared her faith with someone who was truly interested in listening. There are many Israelis who are open to dialoguing about who Jesus is.
Brooklyn: The "Other Holy Land"
Brooklyn, New York now has the largest concentration of Jewish people in the United States, and second in the world only to Israel itself. This thriving and diverse Jewish population, which includes everything from secular Israelis to the ultra-Orthodox, provides a tremendous opportunity to reach the broader Jewish community - and that's what you'll be doing, should the Lord open the door, with our short-term outreach Shalom Brooklyn (previously called STEP), which takes place every summer in New York City.
Our New York Area Director, Jeff Siegel, writes:
Last year during Shalom Brooklyn, we had a health fair on Brighton Beach, which is known for its Russian Jewish community. Many attended, and more than five Jewish people came to know Yeshua (Jesus) on that day alone. We set up book tables and conducted surveys throughout the city, and we had many good conversations at some of the train stations in Brooklyn that service ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods.
We also hosted an outdoor Jewish film festival and a wellness night at our Russian Center, and each Friday we distributed challah (Sabbath bread). It was a fruitful and fulfilling time, as we were able to have many great conversations about Yeshua and the true meaning of peace and were used by the Lord to lead a number of people to faith.
The Lord promises in the book of Jeremiah chapter 31 that a day will come when all Jewish people will know Him. Shalom Brooklyn is an opportunity to work for the Lord to sow seeds towards that day. Come join us!