Bob Seemar – Latter-Day Nehemiah
As Nehemiah looked at the crumbling walls of Jerusalem, he may have thought, "Oy vey! I must be mashugah (crazy)!" Building in Brooklyn for Jewish ministry sometimes seems just as daunting.
Nehemiah answered those who mocked him with these words: "The God of heaven will give us success, therefore we His servants will arise and build." As we build, I can see the hand of God even in the midst of hardship and frustration. Working on the Brooklyn Center gives me great satisfaction in knowing that I have a hand in bringing the Good News of Messiah to His people. As I work in each room, I think to myself that one day, Jewish people will be seated here, listening to the Gospel and learning about Messiah. What a privilege it is to be involved in Jewish ministry!
Ministry is happening in the building even before it is officially opened. I have had multiple occasions to speak with one of the masons, who is Jewish. I gave him the book Isaiah 53 Explained, which he read, and now he and his wife want to get together with my wife, Emily, and me to discuss it. A Spanish-speaking laborer has been put in contact with a local church, and one of the mechanics, who is going through some difficulty in his life, has asked about God and His love for us. Finally, one of the mason laborers wants to go to the Chosen People Messianic congregation in Manhattan.
God's hand is definitely in this project. Forty years ago, I never would have imagined that I would be doing what I am doing today. Thank God for His faithfulness and promises to His people and to us. Nehemiah finished the task with praise on his lips for God. May we do the same!
Emily Seemar – A Child of the Mission
I was raised in a Jewish home, and during my childhood, my mother began her search for God. When a Christian neighbor invited her to hear a rabbi who had come to faith in Messiah, she was attracted to the message. Shortly after, she began attending a Chosen People Ministries women's Bible study in Levittown, New York. After being shown many Messianic prophecies in her Jewish Bible and meeting other Jewish women who believed in Messiah, my mom came to faith in Him as well.
My mom used to bring my brother, sister and me to the Bible study classes. I fell in love with Ruth Wardell, who was the children’s teacher. But the more we learned, the more fervent my father’s objections became — after all, Jewish tradition says that if you're Jewish, you don't believe in Jesus!
When I was eleven years old, a miracle happened in our home: my father allowed us to attend Camp Sar Shalom, the Messianic Jewish summer camp sponsored by Chosen People Ministries. God impressed two things upon my heart at camp.
First, my struggles to be "good" and my failure to measure up only emphasized my unworthiness — but little did I know that God had provided a remedy. When I read Isaiah chapter 53, I could not believe how well it described Jesus the Messiah.
Second, the loving kindness of the counselors made me jealous for what they had. So when an invitation was given at the end of one of the camp meetings, I chose Messiah! When I took that step, I felt even more Jewish because I had found the completion of my faith and a refuge of love and acceptance that I had never felt before.
Klaudia Zhelezny – Messiah's Faithful Servant in Brooklyn
Both our services and our Saturday Bible classes are running very well. I'm also happy about the Bible studies on Wednesdays, as most of the attendees are young believers or seekers. We read the Torah and the Gospel of John in parallel, discovering again and again that the Word of God is alive and helpful in our lives today. Most of the people come from programs for the drug-dependant. Last month, we sent 17 men to different Christian rehabilitation centers for help — and we prayerfully wait for them to come back and rejoin our spiritual family here in Brooklyn!
One woman is now free from alcohol and drug addiction, and she lives in God's love and His power. She found not only freedom in Him, but also a new husband, who is presently in Israel! We are praying for him to come to New York soon and be our helper and co-worker.
We are also planning to continue to offer different outreach events through our musically and artistically gifted people. At the end of May, we had a concert that was not only a musical event, but also an art exhibition, as all the musicians are also very gifted artists. We are having a drama performance in July; some very talented actors from our community will perform. It's so nice that new people from the community come not only to visit, but also to work with us in reaching others with the Good News.
By God's grace, we are looking to increase the work that the Lord is already doing. We are especially awaiting the opening of the Messianic Center, which is in a very busy Jewish area of Brooklyn. Please also pray for "Shalom Brooklyn," our summer evangelistic outreach.
Ryan K. – Reaching Young Adults for Messiah
Brooklyn has more Jewish people than almost any other city in the world—so there is no better place to minister to Jewish young adults than the colleges in Brooklyn! Brooklyn College, located right behind our house, is an incredible 25% Jewish. From secular to Orthodox, from Russian immigrants to Israeli exchange students, the Jewish life among the students here could not be more diverse. One thing that quickly becomes apparent about most of these Jewish students is that they are seeking answers to life—and they have been taught incorrect things about Jesus.
As my wife is enrolled at Brooklyn College, we have been able to reach into the lives of many Jewish students. In one class, she is partnered with two relatively religious Jewish women. Because my wife wears a Star of David necklace, has a Jewish last name and speaks with passion about Jewish things, they assumed she was Jewish. When she revealed that she was not Jewish, the two students could not believe it, and they asked how she knew so much about Judaism.
My wife then explained that she is a Christian married to a Jewish man who believes in Jesus. She continued to describe how I came to believe that Jesus is the Messiah through the demonstration of Passover and then through Isaiah 53. When she mentioned Isaiah 53, the girls stopped her and asked, "What is Isaiah 53?" They pulled up the passage on the internet and read it. One girl exclaimed, "I'm not saying I believe this, but it sounds an awful lot like Jesus."
Conversations like these are part of our constant, day-to-day encounters with Jewish people. These young people desperately need to hear about Jesus in a culturally relevant way — and we love having the privilege of being able to share with them!