Tali, one of the Shalom Brooklyn team members, started out the week thinking, "Great, all these people have the gift of evangelism, and I don't. What am I doing here?" She spent all of Sunday really confused and afraid of what to do, but her husband encouraged her to love people and be more lighthearted about talking with people.
On Monday, she was impassioned to step out in faith. Seeing a Jewish young woman on the street, Tali asked with a newfound boldness, "Have you read Isaiah 53 before?" Tali was surprised to hear the woman respond, "Not yet!" It turns out the Jewish woman was working through reading the entire Tanakh (Old Testament), and had not yet reached Isaiah 53.
Tali then discovered that she and this woman had a similar name; there was an instant connection and Tali and her husband Travis were able to share about Yeshua and give her evangelistic materials. This victory was the highlight of Tali's week!
Another team member, Gale, was very intimidated about doing evangelism and "thinking on her feet." When she was at Kings Highway, a man took a Russian Bible and asked Gale, "What do you believe?" Gale then proceeded to share her testimony, emphasizing that Jesus came to the Jew first and that the New Testament is a Jewish book. Word after word poured out of her mouth, beyond what she imagined to be her ability. She prayed for the man and realized that she could do all things through Messiah who gives her strength - including sharing the Gospel!
Our Shalom Brooklyn team members are constantly meeting people who are interested in hearing about Messiah in a Jewish way!
Patty met a Russian lady who had heard about Jesus before and was interested in some of the books on the book table. She said that she worked for a Jewish family and was interested in learning more about Messianic prophecies. She took one of the Russian-language Isaiah 53 Explained books. The next day, the lady called Patty on the phone and said that she wanted a copy of the book in English, because she was so excited about what she had read and wanted to give a copy to the Jewish family!
Kathleen visited Brooklyn Tabernacle for an evening service and went to the front during the altar call for prayer.The pastor asked that those at the front should pair up to pray for each other. Kathleen’s partner was an African-American lady. Kathleen mentioned Yeshua (Jesus) during her prayer, and the lady asked her if she was Jewish. Kathleen replied that she wasn’t, but that she was visiting Brooklyn to share the Gospel with Jewish people.
The lady then proceeded to explain that she was married to a Jewish man who had not been religious when they met, but recently had become more and more involved with Orthodox Judaism. This was creating problems in their marriage, since the husband was becoming more hardened against Jesus and the Gospel. Kathleen got the woman’s contact information so that Chosen People Ministries staff can fullow up and start encouraging her.
August 4 - Health Clinic Outreach
The health clinic table is always an amazing day! From the moment we opened, there was a steady flow of people. Their smiles and thank yous all around for doing health checks for free created a great buzz and friendliness around the tables.
Health Clinic Sparks Interest in Syrian Jewish Women
I was doing blood pressure checks when I was called over to translate in Hebrew for Lilly* and Sari*, two women who were asking questions about the table. Lilly spoke fluent Hebrew, and then translated my Hebrew into Arabic for Sari. They were Syrian Jews who had lived in Israel for some time and now live in Brighton Beach. We spoke a bit about their journey (years ago) and events now in Syria and Israel (where they still have family). After their health checks they said they'd be interested in ESL classes.
Lilly and Sari then asked why we had provided the health clinic for free. I replied, “To share God's love in word and deed.” They each attend a synagogue in Brooklyn, and find the Torah and feeling close to God very important. They said they had heard a bit about Messianic Jews in Israel, and I shared about prophecies of Messiah.
Another person at the table asked how we could pray for them. Lilly said 'in Hebrew from the Siddur'. I explained the prayers in the Torah are beautiful and we can pray those for them – but we can also talk to God and pray from our hearts, as David did in the Psalms. Lilly seemed really interested in this idea and said anything that gets us closer to God is good.
She then gave me her phone number and asked if we could meet so she can practice English and I can practice Hebrew and maybe talk a little more about Yeshua after she reads the book (Isaiah 53 Explained). Sari* could only communicate through Lilly, so it was a bit harder to know her interest level, but she is definitely interested in ESL.
Shalom Brooklyn team members giving out Isaiah 53 books and other evangelistic literature - with a smile!
Conversations about spiritual matters naturally spring up around the book table and health clinic outreach at Brighton beach.
Seeds Planted with Religious Couple
Later, a religious older Jewish couple came to the table. Dani* was already holding the Isaiah 53 book (they had talked to one of our team members for a while). He wanted all the health tests, and his wife Leah* waited nearby. While he was waiting for one of the tests, I went to chat with Leah.
I asked her if she and Dani had met in Ukraine or in the U.S. And she said "The Ukraine. In Jewish we have a word Beshert.' She asked if I knew what it meant (beshert is “soulmate” in Yiddish) and I said of course – I grew up in a Jewish home where I always got in trouble in Yiddish.
Leah suddenly opened up to me about her family. How somehow both her daughters married Hasidic men (she is Orthodox but not Hasidic) and at first she was very upset, but they are good men... and when the grandchildren came it made things great. I shared about my cousin who became a Hasid and how the family worked to find a relationship again.
She then took my arm and asked if she could ask me something very personal – how I can be Jewish and a Christian. She told me she knew a very nice Messianic Jewish family in Israel and watched them, but didn't ask and didn't understand. She implied she and Dani had experienced some anti-Semitism from certain “Christians” in Ukraine. That opened the door for me to share the Jewishness of believing in Yeshua (Jesus), things the Hebrew Scriptures say about the Messiah, and the root of all my faith being found in the Torah.
We had a great discussion about Messiah and the Scriptures, and our entire conversation was like we were old friends in some way. Finally, Dani finished his health checks and came over. The couple left with the Isaiah 53 Explained book in hand and I pray some seeds were planted!
As I looked down the table throughout the day, other team members were also engaged in deep conversations while others kept the tests going. This really is an amazing way to share God's love in word and deed.
FIFTEEN JEWISH FAITH DECISIONS IN MOSCOW
Mira G., our gifted evangelist serving in Moscow, was conducting a special outreach service that was attended by about fifty people, most of whom were Jewish. Finding herself quite tired at the conclusion of the evening, she prayed for the spiritual and physical strength to present the Gospel clearly and invite those present to receive the Lord.
The Lord answered her prayer in a mighty way. She writes, "I found myself standing in the center of the hall and praying with almost all of the guests together with me opening their hearts to the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). Fifteen Jewish people made a faith decision for the first time! Praise the Lord, who is never too tired to save!"
JEWISH SEEKER IN TORONTO FINDS GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS
A young Jewish man stepped into our headquarters in Toronto seeking guidance and help. Jorge Sedaca, our Canadian director, sat with him as he shared about his life, his lack of a job and his family needs (he has a wife and two children). Jorge prayed for him and then asked him to return in two days' time.
Two days later, the young man returned in excitement. He said, "Rabbi, I have great news. The same night after I came to see you, my cousin called offering me a job for the next six months! That is an answer to your prayer!" As they rejoiced together, Jorge shared the Gospel with him. He is open and has promised to attend our Messianic congregation. Pray that this young seeker and his family will meet Jesus soon!
GOSPEL OF PEACE PROCLAIMED IN UKRAINIAN TURMOIL
Michael Z., who directs our Israel ministries, traveled to Ukraine in response to an invitation extended some months ago to lead a conference on Jewish evangelism. Who knew then that Donetsk, the city where Michael was invited to teach, would be one of the most violent locations in the recent turmoil?When he arrived in Donetsk, barricades covered a good half of the city.
Even in the midst of the violence, almost 700 people came to the conference to hear the Word of God. Michael writes, "It was absolutely astonishing to see how the people in the middle of a war were listening to the need to pray for Israel and the Jewish people. Some among those who came received Jesus right there."
IN MEMORIAM - RUTH WARDELL
Ruth Wardell, a retired Chosen People Ministries missionary (who never really retired), peacefully passed away on May 16 at the age of 90. Following Bible college and other ministry training, Ruth went to New York City in 1946 to work with the American Board of Missions to the Jews (now Chosen People Ministries) where God used her background and education to reach out to children and adults alike. There she began a missionary calling which lasted over fifty years.
Ruth had a tremendous impact on many young people in New York as she led Bible studies and ran camps and outreach meetings. In 1973, God took Ruth’s ministry to Los Angeles, where she trained and ministered to many senior adults and children. In 1993, Ruth settled in Plano, Texas, where she continued to minister until almost 90 years of age! Ruth was affectionately known as “Miss Wardell” and then later as “Ruth with the Truth” by all who knew and loved her.