PREMARITAL COUNSELING LEADS TO NEW LIFE FOR ENGAGED COUPLE
Two young people who had decided to get married were urged by relatives to receive premarital counseling from Vladimir Pikman, the Director of our work in Germany. They were both seeking spiritual guidance, but Vladimir soon discerned that their level of biblical knowledge was quite low—so he patiently unfolded the truths of Scripture to them, starting from the basics. After their first meeting, they both decided to receive the Lord.
MESSIANIC WORSHIP DRAWS JEWISH MAN TO RECEIVE MESSIAH
Boris Goldin, who serves in South Florida and who comes from the Former Soviet Union, was invited to teach at a seminar in Moscow, where the leaders of more than twenty-five Messianic congregations throughout Russia gathered for fellowship, teaching, and worship. As the group was singing Messianic songs, a Jewish man was passing by. Attracted by the singing, he stopped to ask who they were, and Boris explained about Jewish people who believe in Yeshua (Jesus). Boris writes, "He was so eager to know more. After we talked further, I invited him to pray and receive the Lord - and he did! One of the leaders of the local Messianic congregation will follow up with him."
FAITH BLOOMS FROM SEED PLANTED IN CAMPGROUND
Anna Bortsov, who serves with the Mission in Toronto, is rejoicing about a Jewish faith decision for Messiah. The seed had been planted on a camping trip some months ago, when she and her husband, Vladimir, met and talked with Mike*, a father of five who had lost his job. Recently, Mike found a job in Halifax - and before moving there, he called the Bortsovs to say, "Our meeting and your prayers were not in vain. I repented and got baptized, and now I am going to Halifax as a new man." Anna writes, "I cried with joy! The Holy Spirit continued His work... Praise the Lord!"
NEEDY ISRAELI WOMAN FINDS FOOD FOR BODY AND SOUL
Brian S., who ministers in Israel, reports that a Jewish woman who was seeking practical aid has also received the Lord. He writes, "She came to our Netanya Food Bank Outreach Center with another sister, desperate and hopeless because her husband had been put in jail for crimes she says he never committed. This young mother has a baby and a small child. The Lord turned her mourning into joy (Psalm 30:11) as she ended up crying out to God and praying with me in repentance for her salvation. Now she has eternal hope and a whole new family."
JEWISH HUSBAND AND WIFE UNITED IN FAITH DECISION AFTER 8 YEARS
Larry Feldman, who ministers in Southern California, is one of our longest-serving congregational leaders. He has seen many faith decisions in Jewish marriages throughout his ministry. Sometimes married couples come to faith together—and sometimes over a period of years. Not long ago, after a service, a non-believing Jewish businesswoman who had been attending with her believing husband for about eight years, approached Larry to tell him she had finally received the Lord. Larry writes, "I rejoiced with her and her husband, as we had spent a lot of time with them sharing our faith."
SPECIAL OUTREACH SERVICE REAPS HARVEST IN MOSCOW
Several weeks ago, Kirill P., our staff worker in Moscow, planned a special outreach service that was attended by forty-seven Jewish guests. After the sermon, Kirill reports, "I urged everyone to pray the prayer to dedicate their lives to Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah. Most who had come for the first time prayed this prayer." At the end of the service, Kirill made sure that Bibles were distributed. Please pray for effective follow-up.
"I SEE. IT'S TALKING ABOUT JESUS."
Joseph R., one of our newer missionaries, found wonderful opportunities to share the Gospel with Jewish fellow-travelers on flights to and from Israel. One was with Moshe*, a young Orthodox man from Brooklyn who has studied in a yeshiva (a center for higher Jewish learning) in Jerusalem. He was quite open as Joseph shared his testimony and listened intently as Joseph shared from the Scriptures about the Messiah. Joseph writes, "Moshe read Isaiah 53 from my cell phone as I waited quietly and prayed for the Lord to give him revelation. Without any prompting, Moshe finished reading and said, 'I see. It's talking about Jesus.'"
ORTHODOX JEWISH MAN RECEIVES MESSIAH IN MIAMI
Staff member Manuel Goffman, who leads a congregation in Miami, had the joy of leading an Orthodox Jewish man to faith. Elisha* had been attending services for some time with his Hispanic wife and children. Over the course of months, Manuel could see Elisha moving slowly yet steadily closer to a faith decision. He finally received Messiah, and wanted to make his decision public. During a service, he addressed the congregation, saying that they are now his family, that he felt the love of the Lord through all the brothers and sisters, and that he loved them, too. He closed his testimony with the words, "I also have Messiah in my heart."
SPIRIT-LED PREACHING HELPS JEWISH WOMAN COME TO FAITH IN NEW YORK CITY
Mark Surey, who serves with the Feinberg Center in New York City, has been encouraging believers to invite their Jewish friends to worship services. One new believer named Debbie took his exhortation to heart—she appeared with three Jewish friends at a church where Mark was preaching and introduced them just before the start of the service. One of them, a native New Yorker called Ruth,* seemed to have a truly seeking spirit. As Mark preached, it seemed as though the Holy Spirit enabled him to preach straight to her heart and mind. Ruth was deeply moved, and after the service, a church elder, who is also a Jewish believer, counseled her for two full hours—after which she prayed to receive Messiah!
SHARING JESUS – IN A JEWISH WAY
One of Chosen People Ministries' most experienced and gifted field workers was blessed that his second book, Sharing Jesus in a Jewish Way, was eagerly received by over 400 students, including Christian student leaders, at the five-day Urbana student missions conference. There must be something to it, because three days before our worker left for Urbana, a young Orthodox Jewish man with whom he had been sharing the Gospel for two years finally received the Lord! If you would like to obtain a copy of the book, it is now available through the online store on our website www.chosenpeople.com/store.
NEW LIFE AT THE DEAD SEA
Our dedicated Israel staff member Maxim led a trip to the Dead Sea with a group of over 50 Holocaust survivors. They enjoyed ample time for rest and fellowship, and under Maxim's direction, there was a gentle sharing of the Gospel and prayer. However, the day the group was to return home to Sderot, which is near the border with Gaza, the town was under attack from rocket fire. Maxim called the Israeli Home Front Command, and they advised him to delay the group's return to Sderot. With God's help, they were able to stay for another three nights in the hotel by the Dead Sea - and during that time, an 88-year-old woman opened her heart to Messiah.
SANDY'S RIPPLES REACH EVEN TO ISRAEL
Staff member Justin Kron, who was leading a trip to Israel at the time Hurricane Sandy hit, had the opportunity to meet Deborah* while on a boat off the shores of Eilat in Southern Israel. Deborah had chosen to extend her stay in Israel because her high-rise building in lower Manhattan was without power. Justin writes, "She was alone, and was clearly interested in chatting to pass the time during our four-hour excursion. One topic led to another, and eventually spiritual issues came up. Deborah was very interested in knowing why I thought that Jesus is the Messiah. Before we parted, she asked for more information."
MESSIANIC JEWISH ISRAEL CONFERENCE IN GERMANY BLESSES HUNDREDS
Vladimir Pikman, our Germany Director, reports that the first Messianic Jewish Israel Conference that he and his co-workers organized was a huge blessing. He writes, "It was the first conference that united all the Messianic leaders of Germany in our outreach to German society. We experienced unprecedented unity in the Spirit. Hundreds of participants who joined us for this event were deeply impressed by the love of Yeshua (Jesus) visible there. The conference has not only strengthened the Messianic movement and Jewish outreach, but also was a great testimony of the Messiah."
Vladimir also reports that a Jewish man - a friend of a woman whom Vladimir had led to the Lord only weeks earlier - visited the Messianic congregation. He approached Vladimir after the service and said, "Svetlana,* my colleague, told me about Yeshua. She is so excited about Him. I need Him, too!" He then prayed with Vladimir to receive the Lord.
PLEASE PRAY FOR PORTLAND OUTREACH WORKERS
Chosen People Ministries' volunteer outreach workers in the Portland, Oregon region have been experiencing difficulties bearing witness to the Gospel of Messiah. Security staff has been escorting them out of large events in public parks, even though there is a federal court injunction confirming the right of Chosen People Ministries and other religious speakers to attend such events and distribute literature. Please pray that First Amendment rights would be upheld in Portland and elsewhere, without the need for further litigation.
YOUNG LEADERS GET MUCHAN (READY)
Paris was site of the second Muchan (Hebrew: Ready) Conference for Messianic Young Adults from around the world. Over 160 young adults came from 16 countries to learn together, to praise the Lord and to take daring steps for Him. The speakers from Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Israel and the United States shared stories, Bible teaching and exhorted one another to step out in boldness for the Lord. We pray that the young adult leaders in their communities who came will become even more motivated to share the Gospel. Rachel, one of Chosen People Ministries' gifted young leaders, reflected afterward, "We ate some great croissants and baguettes but most of all, the sweet sound of young people praising the Lord in English, French, Russian and Hebrew will be a lasting memory."
* name changed
Food Recipient at Soup Kitchen Looks Up to Heaven
Every week, over seventy people are treated like royalty at the Netanya Soup Kitchen. Each person is served a home-cooked, sit-down meal and receives packages of beautiful fruits, vegetables and high-quality bread to take home. Every seat is full, as we also bless them with live, comforting, Spirit-filled music during their meal.
We also give out cards with a Scripture verse printed that says either, "That if you confess with your mouth Yeshua (Jesus) as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9), or "...whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21). These are written in Hebrew, Russian and English.
The Scripture cards also have numbers, and we put them into a hat. Our dear guests take turns picking them out, one at a time. The numbers determine the order in which the take-home packages are received. One week, a particular lady was about to put her hand into the hat to pick a number. She first looked up to heaven, said a prayer and pulled out the card with number one. With a huge smile, she said, "Thank you God! Thank you God!" I was able tell her that God is real and that she should always turn to Him and He will hear her prayers. Many people sitting around her witnessed this simple yet powerful event.
Praise the Lord for using these simple tools and acts of love and kindness to open the eyes and hearts of our people to Yeshua and His eternal salvation. Please keep us and our guests at the soup kitchen in your prayers. If you want to take some further steps, come volunteer with us!
Hanukkah at the Netanya Dry Food Distribution Center
We are serving over 300 people with six tons of food every month at our distribution center in the Open Market of Netanya. This is a huge task that takes many hours and many volunteers to get the job done.
Jewish biblical holidays are especially fun for us as a family and in front-line ministry to our Israeli people. The holidays give us the opportunity to point to our Messiah Yeshua. For example, when we lit the Hanukkah candles and had the menorah on our desk for everyone to see, we praised the Lord for sending His Eternal Light into the world to give us salvation in Yeshua. I sit with each person who comes, offering a caring ear to listen as many of them share their difficult situations. As we serve the Lord Yeshua with all our hearts, we do not even have to look for opportunities to share His love, as they come to us automatically - hundreds of them every month.
People often ask us for prayer for their health conditions, their family members, or their financial difficulties. They always leave with a sense that we care for them and love them unconditionally. Most of the time, they also go with a smile on their face, thanking us and thanking God for the bags of food they receive, which cost roughly twenty-five dollars apiece. Recently, several people have also asked us to visit them in their homes. Please pray for all these wonderful opportunities. God is good and always provides for His perfect purposes.
A Day Under Fire in Sderot
It is very scary to be under rocket attack. One particular day, when the siren sounded yet again, we had to drop everything and run for a shelter. Our apartment is not equipped with one, and we couldn't reach a safe place in time. One of the rockets fell not far from our house and the explosion was very powerful, but the Lord kept us safe. We all were very frightened, but we were blessed with the opportunity to witness about God's love to people.
We were able to bring three groups out of the city and away from the rocket attacks. The first group consisted of elderly Holocaust survivors from Sderot. The second was children from Ashkelon, for whom we arranged a vacation in Jerusalem. The third was a group of single mothers with their kids, for whom we organized a nice trip away from the constant sirens. It was a great time to share that God loves them very much. A few of them asked us to pray for them, and one of them made a commitment to read the Bible.
In Ashdod, we contacted the local municipality and offered to provide food packages for those in need. Several times, I have received calls from the deputy mayor's office with a request to deliver packages to needy people's homes. One was a woman with four children, pregnant with the fifth, whose husband had been called up to the army. She was scared to leave the house with the children, and she couldn't leave them with anybody else. Her food supplies ran out quickly and she turned to us - so I brought a food package to their home.
We are grateful to those who were praying and are still praying for us! Praise the Lord!
Yoked Together in Messiah's Ministry
Eugene and Victoria L. were born in different parts of the former Soviet Union and raised in atheistic Jewish families. As a result, they considered Jesus to be nothing more than a Jewish teacher who lived long ago and then died. However, God had a plan for both of them. Eugene immigrated to Israel in the beginning of 1991. On the way to Israel somebody gave him a Bible, which he read to find out more about the history of the Jewish people, carefully avoiding reading from the New Testament. While in Jerusalem, he had a spiritual experience, after which he decided to read the "Christian" part of the Bible. He was surprised to find it was written almost in its entirety by Jews, for Jews, and about the Jewish Messiah. After a few more years of searching, he asked Yeshua to come into his life and guide him as a true disciple.
Victoria, who had lived in Israel since 1993, became a follower of Yeshua while visiting her family back in Belarus. She met and married Eugene after she returned to Israel, when she came to a congregation in Jaffa where Eugene was already serving.
In addition to personal evangelism and leading Bible studies, Eugene serves with Chosen People Ministries in Israel through a wide variety of ministries - including food distribution, congregational work, ministry among Holocaust survivors, and organizing and leading biblical tours for tourists from different churches from around the world. Victoria is not only a loving wife and mother to their three daughters, but is also a faithful ministry partner.