Let's celebrate! As the Psalmist writes,
The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad (Psalm 126:3).
Your Mission to the Jewish People is filled with joy because of all the Lord has done. The Charles L. Feinberg Messianic Jewish Center in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn is now completed and paid for, and we are in the process of moving in and using this wonderful facility for God's glory!
This has been a massive three-year effort and has reminded me that we serve the God who does the impossible! He has again revealed His deep love and concern for the salvation of His chosen people.
I remember the day I stood outside of my favorite Orthodox Jewish bookstore across the street from what is now the Feinberg Center - one of the most popular religious bookstores within the Jewish community - and it immediately hit me.
I realized that I had simply been seeking a larger facility, but the Lord actually wanted to place us in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn. The Savior's heart breaks for religious Jewish people, and on that day I knew that He had called Chosen People Ministries to reach this group of hundreds of thousands of sincere and devoted Jewish people!
May I tell you the story?
We started the Charles Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies program, a partnership with Biola University and the Talbot School of Theology, to train Jewish and Gentile brothers and sisters for the work of Jewish evangelism. Together, we created the first Master of Divinity in Messianic Jewish Studies program in the United States.
I had hoped that we would have four or five students per semester, knowing it is not easy to get young people to move to New York City because it is expensive and a difficult place to live in some ways. But to my great surprise and joy, we found ourselves with about fifteen students, which we always said would be our upper limit for the number we could effectively train! This is because we invest so much time in each student's spiritual growth through personal mentoring and supervising their local, on-the-job ministry training.
We decided that because we were running short on space, we had to move the seminary program - and eventually, with much guidance and prayer, we concluded that Brooklyn would be the best location. Not only was it less expensive than Manhattan, but also the area is extremely Jewish, and most of the students already lived there.
In other words, we had very logical reasons to search for space in Brooklyn. A week after we made the decision, I was driving down Coney Island Avenue in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn - just a couple miles from my house - and I noticed an Orthodox Jewish funeral home for sale. It was perfectly located, and the size seemed to be exactly what was needed for both the seminary program and for our growing array of Brooklyn-based ministries.
I inquired about the building with a real estate agent, a Jewish woman perhaps in her early 80s. I did not know if she would be willing to sell the building to us because of our beliefs. I knew she would come under quite a bit of pressure once the Orthodox Jewish community found out we were buying the building. But, thankfully, she agreed to sell the building to us, and we bought it. Then we began the long process of renovating the building - doing the work as we raised the funds.
We were praying and hoping that we would not have any debt on the building, so that we could use all the money we raised for ministry.
In time, as I watched our building develop stage by stage, my understanding also grew. I finally realized the reason why God had given us this incredible facility. It was not because of our space planning needs, as I had thought. It was not to give the students an easier commute, or any of the other practical factors I had originally conceived.
I realized that the real reason God gave us this beautiful facility in the middle of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn was because the Lord God of Israel wants His people to be saved!
And though the ultra-Orthodox Jews might seem difficult to reach, God has not given up on these precious people - and neither have I, nor has Your Mission to the Jewish People. As the Apostle Paul wrote,
...from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:28-29).
So let's celebrate the faithfulness of God together! He has once again taught us that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).
THANK YOU! Because of your sacrifice and generosity we will now be able to use the building for ministry and training without any debt. All I can say is, Hallelujah! Feel free to shout it with me... don't worry about what your neighbors might think! He is our great and gracious Lord.
Our 120th Birthday Year!
There is another reason to celebrate with us today - we have now entered our 120th year of ministry. We will be hosting a number of events to celebrate our 120th birthday this year, which you will hear about soon. Chosen People Ministries was founded as the Williamsburg Mission to the Jews in 1894 by Rabbi Leopold Cohn, who had come to know Jesus as his Savior on the streets of the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1892.
As soon as Rabbi Cohn came to know the Lord, his heart was immediately broken for the salvation of his own people. After receiving theological training, he moved his family to Brooklyn and established what is now known as Chosen People Ministries. I am honored to lead an organization that has not wavered in its commitment to the Lord Jesus and the Word of God, nor in our mission to reach Jewish people with the message of salvation.
There are literally thousands upon thousands of Jewish people who have found Jesus the Messiah through Chosen People Ministries. What a magnificent legacy! And now we have a beautiful, paid-for outreach center in the heart of the most concentrated Jewish community in the entire world - Brooklyn (close to one million Jewish people) and in the heart of the Orthodox community.
We need your prayers, support and partnership more than ever before, because I believe that the day is coming when the Lord will return. So we must work quickly and fervently while we can!
A Birthday Present
Your gift will be used to help support the ministries of the Charles Feinberg Center; the congregations that we are planting (a new English-speaking congregation has just begun), evangelism, student scholarships, ministry among elderly Russian Jews and Holocaust survivors, and so much more.
In honor of our 120th birthday, would you consider giving $120, $1,200, or even $12,000? For your gift of $120 or more, I want to send you a copy of Leopold Cohn's testimony, To An Ancient People (if you do not already have one - you will love it!).
And we know that whatever the Lord leads you to give, He will multiply - because He loves His chosen people and desires their salvation. Thank you, on behalf of our worldwide staff, for your faithfulness and prayers.
Please write "Brooklyn Center" in the Special Designation box
With much love in the Messiah,
P.S. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your love and generous support... now, without debt, we can get so much done for the Lord. God bless you!
BAPTISMS MULTIPLY AT JORDAN RIVER SERVICE
Israel Director Michael Z. officiated a service at the Jordan River with seven candidates for baptism in attendance. As Michael started to preach the Gospel, a big crowd of people gathered. As he continued to openly proclaim the name of Jesus, more people came to listen. Suddenly, two of them approached and asked Michael to baptize them as well. They prayed to receive Jesus and joined the group waiting to be baptized - and they were not alone. Following Michael's salvation invitation, another six people said, "Yes," to Jesus. That day, altogether, God allowed Michael to baptize fifteen people.
THE REST OF THE STORY...
Later that same day, while Michael was praying with the new believers at the Sea of Galilee, a husband and wife approached him and said that they had been listening carefully at the baptismal site. They had taken the message very seriously, but needed time to consider it all. The problem was they were from Moscow and needed to return home that day. They took Michael's contact information, and a few days later they called to announce that they had made their decision for Messiah and were ready to be baptized. The couple returned to Israel from Moscow, and Michael had the honor of baptizing them. Michael writes, "There was such joy and such tears on their faces, one had to see it to believe it. Praise the Lord!"
A JEWISH MOTHER FINDS THE SON
When a Jewish mother comes to faith, it is a day of rejoicing - especially if it is your own Jewish mother! Long-time staff member Boris Goldin, who has prayed for his 90-year-old mother to meet Messiah for over twenty years, reports that his prayers have been answered. To make it even sweeter, it was Boris who led her in "the sinner's prayer." For many years, she considered her son a traitor to the Jewish people - but his family's faithful witness at last enabled her to see that it is reasonable to be a Jewish person and believe in Messiah Jesus. Now Boris' mom says she no longer fears death, because she knows where she is going.
FRIENDSHIP LEADS JEWISH MAN TO FAITH DECISION
Paul Cruz, who serves with Chosen People Ministries in Philadelphia, is rejoicing that the Lord has answered his prayers for Carl,* an older Jewish man who received the Lord shortly before he passed away. Carl's son, a Jewish believer, asked Paul to call on his father in the nursing home. Paul soon established a good rapport with Carl since they both had served in the Navy, were both originally from the New York City area, and both loved classical music. As they continued their friendship, the talk deepened to matters of faith and Paul asked if he could pray for Carl. Finally, at the right moment, Carl placed his faith in Messiah.
Chosen People Ministries notes with sadness the passing of Clara Rubin. Clara, who passed away in Florida at the age of 97, was one of the true pioneers of 20th-century Jewish evangelism, along with her husband, Joe Rubin, who had previously passed into the presence of the Lord. She was also one of the last living links with Chosen People Ministries' early work, the Williamsburg Mission to the Jews in Brooklyn. In 1956, the Rubins relocated to Huntington, Long Island, where they served the Lord for the next quarter century. We pray that her family will take "strong consolation" in "the hope set before us" (Hebrews 6:18).
I hope you are well and that you are being blessed in your walk with the Lord. It is good to know that spring is just around the corner with some warmer weather. Here in Brooklyn, the ministry opportunities are warming up as well!
Feinberg Students - In Their Own Words
As you probably already know, one of my passions and priorities is educating and training the next generation
of evangelists to the Jewish people. That is why my team of gifted co-workers and I have devoted ourselves to launching the Charles L. Feinberg Program for Messianic Jewish Studies.
I cannot tell you what a joy it is to see our students so hard at work and ministry! I thought I'd pass along some of their stories to you, so that you can hear from them directly about how the program is inspiring them in their studies and their ministries.
"My coursework in Jewish Studies is helping me in terms of increasing my knowledge of Jewish history and culture. The Hebrew language studies have really helped me when I visit synagogues because I feel as though I can participate more fully in the services. Also, the Hebrew I’ve learned helps me to relate to the Orthodox and secular Jewish women to whom I am ministering.
"For instance, this past summer I attended quite a few Sabbath meals and was able to form relationships with two Orthodox Jewish women - one older, and the other about my age. We go for coffee, take walks, talk and exchange views about God and life. We have very open discussions, and the trust we are building in friendship is very meaningful and is opening doors. These women know I am a believer, but in the context of a growing friendship, it is quite natural to share my faith in Messiah with them.
- Misty Fraser was raised in California and is about halfway through the Feinberg Program. She is presently seeking the Lord’s guidance for her future in ministry.
"Unlike those who have sensed their calling to be in New York City, Israel or elsewhere, I am presently using the knowledge I have acquired at the Feinberg Center here in Arizona. I am serving in a Messianic congregation and coordinating some ministry activities with Cathy Wilson, Chosen People Ministries’ other staff member here, such as a Fall Feasts outreach we put together.
"One of the most valuable fruits of my Feinberg studies is that beyond equipping me to pursue my calling, it has increased my level of confidence in approaching Jewish ministry and made me better able to preach and teach the Gospel from a Jewish perspective. That is, to translate sound theology into a Jewish context. It has also helped me to deal with objections to the claims of Messiah within a Jewish religious and cultural perspective. I am mainly focused now on teaching. I lead a Bible study and another mid-week class that emphasizes sound Bible interpretation and well-constructed arguments to support the claims of the Gospel."
- Jeffrey Kran, who received his degree in 2011 as part of the first cohort of Feinberg graduates, now serves with Chosen People Ministries in Phoenix, Arizona.
"In the Feinberg Center, I learn how to reach Jewish people for the Gospel in a culturally sensitive way. The program helps equip me with good understanding of the Hebrew language and competency in Hebrew exegesis, as well as develop skills for ministry specifically appropriate for the Jewish community. Learning with both non-Jewish and Jewish schoolmates brings me new insights and enlightening comprehension of the Bible and the Jewish roots of my faith.
"The location of the Feinberg Center gives me great opportunities to not only receive knowledge of theology, Jewish culture and values, but also have a readily accessible environment to practice what I learn by reaching the Jewish people in Brooklyn. Here, nearly one in four residents is Jewish. There are also opportunities to serve in congregational settings in our Russian-speaking and English-speaking congregations. Moreover, there are plenty of chances to make friends with Jewish neighbors as I go about my daily activities in the neighborhood. God can use me and everyone who has a heart for the Jewish people to pray for them; in Brooklyn, God can use me and others to reach the Jewish people in more direct and personal ways!"
- Ariel Wu, originally from Taiwan, was drawn to the Feinberg Center "because I feel God put in me a special love for His people, the Jewish people."
"As a recent Charles Feinberg Center graduate, I see myself as a farmer in the field I am presently called to cultivate. I live in the heart of an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, where I have become deeply immersed. I am blessed to be used by God to plant seeds of the Gospel message throughout my daily encounters. Other times, I am given the opportunity to prune by helping individuals flesh out the hard questions they have about the Gospel. I have been equipped to sit side-by-side with someone who is learned in Judaism and not be intimidated, thanks to my education in Jewish studies at the Charles Feinberg Center.
"I am now living my life as a community member here in Brooklyn, and this level of involvement gives me opportunities I would not have otherwise. This is something unheard of; usually, Orthodox people run from Jewish believers, but there I was! This is a testimony that God has His hand in my relationship with the Orthodox woman who invited me. I know I am in her life for no other reason but to share the Gospel."
- Ally, who prefers not to reveal her last name for privacy reasons due to living in the Orthodox community, graduated from the Feinberg Center in 2013.
What Your Gift Accomplishes
Your gift today will help us train a new generation of leaders for the field of Jewish missions. We now have an operating, debt-free Messianic Center and training facility in the heart of Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn!
What better place to train a new generation of workers than Brooklyn, where they can apply their learning to daily missionary activity in the largest concentration of Jewish people outside of Israel? Every day, teams are leading Bible studies, interacting with religious Jewish people, and doing more than can possibly be described in the space available in this letter.
Your generosity helps form future leaders. So, please lend your generous support to the Jewish Evangelism Fund, which provides much-needed resources to a new generation of staff and younger adults who are training for a lifetime of ministry among God's chosen people!
We are budgeting $20,000 per month to help our new staff and to provide for their training. Would you consider contributing to the cost of one month or two? Whatever you can send today will be an investment in the future of Jewish evangelism and Your Mission to the Jewish People.
As many of you know, Dr. Charles Feinberg was a remarkable servant of Yeshua (Jesus), and through his passion for the Scriptures and his love for Messiah, he introduced many to the Savior. Both our training program and our new Messianic Center in Brooklyn carry his name.
For your gift of $100 or more to our Jewish Evangelism Fund, I will send you Dr. Charles L. Feinberg's biography, beautifully written by his granddaughter, Sarah Giddens. The book is entitled, The Story of Dr. Charles Lee Feinberg: A Chosen Servant of the Messiah. You will enjoy this remarkable story of the life of a dedicated follower of Yeshua.
Thanks for caring!
P.S. Thanks again for your prayers and generous support!
CONGREGATIONS WEST... AND EAST!
Scott and Dana Nassau, who minister in Southern California, have recently partnered with a church in West Los Angeles to plant a Messianic congregation to reach the community's significant Jewish population. After preparing for some time with monthly services and other gatherings, the Nassaus are excited to announce that they have begun weekly services right in the heart of West Los Angeles, along the famous Venice Boulevard. If you want to read more about it, go to www.kehilacovenant.com.
Randall and Luda Ford, who minister to the well-established and populous Bukharan Jewish community in Queens, New York, have started a new, English-speaking fellowship. It takes place on Saturday nights for Messianic teenagers and adults who cannot attend their Wednesday morning service. Luda met with two teen-aged girls from the group who talked and prayed about how hard it is to be a witness for Messiah as high school students because of the many unhealthy peer pressures they encounter in school. In addition, the teenagers struggle with how to identify themselves as Messianic believers in the Jewish community. Nonetheless, the Fords rejoice to see several of them growing in their faith - and regular fellowship is an important factor, especially among young people.
JEWISH AND A CHRISTIAN - WHO KNEW?
For the past nine years, Cathy Wilson has organized a special holiday celebration in the Scottsdale, Arizona area where she ministers. This year, she was thrilled when Irma,* an 80-year-old-plus Jewish woman to whom she has witnessed before, responded to the testimony of Rachel,* a Jewish believer. Irma exclaimed, "I didn't know you could be Jewish and a Christian!" Later on that evening, Irma told her friend Susan, a local pastor's mother, who has been a loving witness to Irma for decades, "I believe!" It was truly a Hanukkah/Christmas miracle over which to rejoice.
MINISTRY MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN NEW ZEALAND
The Gospel-oriented social events hosted by Chosen People Ministries staff in New Zealand are a real draw for Israeli backpackers. Our worker Robin B., who leads short-term evangelistic teams to assist in the New Zealand ministry, reports great conversations with a young Israeli traveler named Effie,* and her father who was also there in New Zealand to be with her. As Robin spoke with Effie's father, she shared about her own observant Jewish upbringing and other parallels between their lives. As Robin and Effie's father spoke further, they realized that Robin had also met his son in New Zealand and had shared the Gospel with him as well. Effie's father, who questioned Robin thoughtfully about her belief in Messiah, realized that this was no mere coincidence. Robin writes, "I also got to share with Effie about God’s love. It is clear God is doing something in their lives."
Robin also reports that about twenty-five Israelis attended a Christmas Party where the host clearly shared the Gospel. Amidst the food, the spirited live music and games, discussions about Yeshua (Jesus) sprang up in small groups. One young Israeli lit up when Robin told her in Hebrew that she was a Jewish believer. She said she'd heard of such people, but had never met one. They went on to have a great discussion about prophecy and the Lord’s ability to transform our lives. The Lord is touching hearts in New Zealand!