The Witness of Jewish People
An Israeli optometrist in California is hearing the Gospel and doesn’t even know it. One of our congregational leaders went for a check-up and found out that his optometrist has many Messianic Jewish patients. He was not hostile towards them and was aware of what they believe. Larry, the congregational leader, had the opportunity to tell him that even though Messianic Jews believe Yeshua is the Messiah, they still observe Jewish customs, culture, and holidays such as Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hanukkah, Purim, and Passover. As they talked, Larry told him that his search came through the predicted Messianic prophecies in the Bible that speak of the coming of the Messiah. Please pray for this Jewish Israeli eye doctor.
Drawn to the Messiah
When one of our staff members met with Bob* last week, after not meeting with him for some time, Bob was drawn once again toward the person of Jesus. Bob sees how Jesus is the only hope for healing, not only in his life, but for a broken and hurting world. He knows he needs to make a decision, but he wants to study more, and finds himself continually distracted by things that are more “urgent”. They talked about the reality of Satan (something that he believes) and how Satan will use circumstances to distract him from what is truly important. Continue to pray for clarity and courage for Bob.
Russian-Speaking Israelis Respond to the Gospel
In the Russian culture most important conversations happen around the table, and this was the case when Eugene, a staff member in Israel, was sharing (not for the first time) with a couple and their son the Gospel of our Messiah. He sensed a prodding from the Spirit to ask the couple directly if they were ready to accept Jesus as their Messiah. They were silent for a moment as they thought about everything that had been shared with them over the months, and then quickly said, “Yes!”
Standing with Israel in Difficult Times and Sharing Jesus
The rise of antisemitism is a real cause for concern, especially on American college campuses. Our staff member, Doug, shares the following story from an evangelistic trip to a college campus: “It is a joy to stand up for Israel on campus and share the Gospel at the same time! This was especially true during my last visit to a campus. One large man was standing at the main gate of the school and chanting antisemitic remarks. A student stopped by our campus literature table to tell us that many students at the college are firmly against Israel. However, there was also good news given to us: an Israeli professor stopped by the table to say: ‘Keep up the important work!’ and took a copy of a booklet on Isaiah 53!”
Israel Trip Gives Opportunity to Minister to Holocaust Survivors
A highlight of a recent trip to Israel was an afternoon of ministry with Holocaust survivors. We try to include benevolence and ministry events in our trips, and so our group sponsored a luncheon at the Jerusalem Messianic Center and the interaction with survivors was amazing. As the group shared a meal they got to know each other. They sang and played games together. Then the team visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. Some of these precious souls have become believers. Others were seeking to understand what would cause people who had never met them to come so far and want to share a meal with them. A number of people had an opportunity to share their testimonies, some about their life and faith. The leader of the trip took this opportunity to explain why some Christians love Israel and the Jewish people and care to come to Israel and help, even in turbulent times.
Israelis Open to Gospel Message in New Zealand
Tens of thousands of young Jewish people visit New Zealand each year after completing their army service. They are looking for fresh air to breathe and answers to questions concerning their future and their beliefs. Our ministry partner in New Zealand operates both a campground and a lodge where they house and cater to Israeli travelers. Our workers in New Zealand recently wrote: “It was amazing to be able to sit and eat with them [the traveling Israelis] and to share about my faith and to see that they were not negative or angry. Just think of what it must be like to have finished service in the IDF and then to have a few months to breathe and think about what really matters in your life. It is an amazing opportunity for outreach where the people come to you and not the other way around. I hope that I may have planted a seed in someone’s heart that will one day grow to salvation.”
JEWISH WOMEN FIND MESSIAH IN THE PASSOVER
We had an enormously busy Passover season, with staff members presenting Messiah in the Passover in hundreds of churches around the world.Vladimir Pikman writes about this wonderful fruit of his labors:“We had a couple of Jewish ladies come to a Messiah in the Passover presentation I was privileged to lead.They were sitting in the very first row. When I was explaining how Yeshua (Jesus) initiated the Lord’s Supper with the unleavened bread and the third cup, one of them started crying and could not stop till the end of the presentation. God was at work! Afterwards she came to me saying, ‘Tonight I understood that Jesus is my Messiah!’ Praise the Lord! What a joy!”
NEW LIFE IN MESSIAH AND A NEW WIFE IN SOUTH FLORIDA
Manuel Goffman, who ministers among Spanish-speaking Jews in South Florida, is rejoicing about a new member of Messiah’s Kingdom who came to faith through the witness of Ana,* a health care professional who is a member of the Messianic congregation Manuel leads. Ana bore Gospel witness to a patient she was caring for, Jacobo,* a Hispanic Jew. Jacobo began to attend the congregation with her. After a short time, he received the Lord….and more recently Ana and Jacobo were married.
STREET ARGUMENT LEADS TO GOSPEL DECISION
The bold Gospel witness of our evangelism team in Portland, Oregon, has reaped a harvest in past weeks, with six people coming to faith in Messiah Jesus. One was Kenneth.* Walking downtown to his car after a discipleship meeting, our ministry representative could hear two men arguing rather vocally. As he approached them, one of the men left. Kenneth was extremely nervous and upset, almost in tears. Our representative asked if he would like prayer. Kenneth agreed. The ensuing conversation centered upon Kenneth’s life problems. After hearing a powerful witness and hearing the Gospel, Kenneth received the Lord and is now being discipled.
FOUR FAITH DECISIONS AT ONCE
Anna and Vladimir Bortsov, who serve in the Toronto area, befriended a young man, Ronald,* who recently emigrated from Israel with his wife, Sarah,* and two kids. As a trusting relationship developed, the Bortsovs shared the Gospel with them. Little by little, Ronald and Sarah opened up to the Lord. Finally, as they gathered together for tea and conversation, Ronald and Sarah made decisions to pray. At that moment the doorbell rang. Another neighbor, Violetta,* dropped in. She began to ask questions, and the Bortsovs explained the Gospel. As they did so, Ronald and Sarah’s twelve-year-old son, Samuel,* who had been sitting on the sofa listening quietly, came to the table and announced that he also wanted to receive the Lord. So did Violetta. Thus four new souls became children of God!
MESSIANIC MINISTRY STRENGTHENED IN FORMER SOVIET UNION
Kirill Polonskiy, our man in Moscow, reports that a Chosen People Ministries’seminar for leaders of Messianic congregations drew participants from all over Russia, the Crimea, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. He writes, “We had three amazing days of training and communication. Our Mission is the only Messianic organization in Russia doing such seminars for Messianic leaders. We believe that training and equipping of leadership is an essential part of our ministry that will give stability to the local Messianic communities.” The seminar was attended by Alexander Royanov, leader of the Messianic Jewish congregation of Mariupol, Donetsk region, Ukraine.The Messianic community in Mariupol is continuing its ministry there, despite hardships.
CELEBRATING 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF JERUSALEM CENTER
“We are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the purchase of our Jerusalem Messianic Center. This beautiful facility in the heart of Jerusalem (only a 20 minute walk from the “Old City”) has been a great blessing to our growing staff in Israel and to the many Jews and Gentiles who have found this Center to be an oasis of spiritual refreshment. The Center serves as the nerve center for our ministries in Israel and hosts Bible studies, outreach events, housing for short-term missions teams and much more. Please continue to think of our Center and staff in Israel when you “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps.122:6).
* names have been changed
From Work to Worship
Scott N. has relocated the Messianic congregation he leads in Southern California to a historic landmark theater in the heart of downtown Culver City, the “Heart of Screenland,” one of the centers for film and television production. As part of the rental agreement, the theater company provides a “host” to open and prepare the facility for services. The man who has graciously hosted the congregation informed Scott that someone else will be taking his position in the future. He then told Scott that he would be back anyway, because he wants to be part of their fellowship. He said he had been looking for a spiritual community, but has not found a place where he truly felt welcomed, and that even though he was working during the service, he had found that place with them.
Jewish Mother Finds Messiah at Brooklyn Messianic Congregation
Fruit is growing bit by bit as the Messianic congregation Rich Flashman leads at the Brooklyn Messianic Center takes root and celebrates its one-year anniversary. A friend of the worship leader brought Sarah,* her unbelieving Jewish mother, to a service. Prior to the service, when Rich was introduced to her, she seemed a little uneasy. But as Rich issued a call to faith at the end of his message, he noticed a flurry of excitement where Sarah and her daughter were sitting. The cause? Word quickly spread that Sarah had prayed to receive Yeshua (Jesus) as her Messiah!
“Isaiah 53” Van Sparks Faith Decision
One of our evangelists in the Great Pacific Northwest has led a Jewish man, Joshua,* to Messiah. Joshua was sitting outside a coffee shop two blocks from the university at which our worker was planning to evangelize. He parked his van, which had “Isaiah53.com” prominently displayed on the back and sides of it, in front of the coffee shop. Noticing Joshua, he greeted him in a friendly way. Joshua asked him, “What’s the Isaiah about? I’m Jewish!” Joshua had been raised in a secular home, with little emphasis on Jewish religion or culture. Our worker asked the challenging question, “Who do think Jesus was?” After about fifteen minutes of deep discussion, Joshua received the Lord and is being discipled weekly.
Patient Witness Brings Jewish Man in South Florida to Faith in Messiah
At the conclusion of a special church service some months ago, missionary Greg Savitt of South Florida encountered Seth*, a non-believing, 22-year-old Jewish man who gave Greg his card and said, “I need to meet with you.” A first meeting led to bi-weekly coffee talks over some months as Greg and Seth probed deeply into spiritual matters prompted by Seth’s insightful questions. Greg gave him a copy of Isaiah 53 Explained, which helped Seth see the need for atonement and a redeemer. Bit by bit, Seth’s objections to the Gospel were answered. Finally, he was ready, and Greg helped him to accept the Gospel. Now Seth is voraciously reading his Bible and has already told several of his Jewish friends of his faith decision.
Roy Adams, a faithful servant of Messiah whose love of the Jewish people was expressed in a multitude of ways in service to Chosen People Ministries, has died at the age of 90. Born and educated in England, he and his wife, Ella, to whom he was married for 67 years, immigrated to Canada in 1954. Roy became a board member of what is now Chosen People Ministries (Canada) in 1970. In 1980, Roy was invited to join the U.S. Board, where he served for over thirty years. In 1985, Roy was appointed as the Executive Vice-President of Chosen People Ministries (US). He served in this capacity for more than five years and regarded those years as the most fulfilling years of his life. In his words, “I developed a passion for Jewish ministries which has never left me!”
In addition to Ella, Roy is survived by his son Duncan, his daughter Jeanette, their spouses and two grandchildren.
Friends in Unexpected Places
Bob and Emily Seemar recently traveled to Indiana, where they had several opportunities to speak in a few churches. One of these meetings was a home group at which there were about 16 Burmese Christians from Myanmar, and Bob and Emily had to speak through an interpreter. Bob spoke about Chosen People Ministries and Emily shared her testimony. They did not know how these dear people could possibly identify with them and our ministry. But to their surprise and delight, the group turned out to love God’s chosen people! They even quoted Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” What a blessing!
Making Them Disciples...
Our Midwest director continues to meet regularly with a Jewish man who recently came to faith, helping him understand what it is to be a believer in Yeshua. He was introduced to the ministry by one of the men who came to Israel on a tour. Join us in lifting him up in prayer.
A Life Worth Living
Neal and Kim Surasky, who serve in the Washington, DC area, recently shared: “We recently attended a funeral of a friend who died from brain cancer. His ‘going home’ celebration was attended by over 600 people and many were not yet believers. I know that the Lord was pleased, as each of his friends and family took the stage to speak of how his life was such a strong testimony for Messiah! May the seeds that were planted that day grow abundantly!”
From the Corners of the World Back to Jerusalem
Jorge Sedaca, our Canadian Director, shared the following: “The Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE) met in Jerusalem this year. Leaders of missions and other organizations working with Jewish people met for a week of worship, teaching, discussions, fellowship and future planning. We also got a glimpse of the evangelism efforts being carried out in different ways by various groups to reach Jews all over the world with the Gospel. The final day we approved a declaration that speaks to the importance of Jewish evangelism as we get closer to Messiah’s return. Pray with us that God blesses our efforts and strengthens our resolve.”
Jesus Boldly Preached on Campus
Robert Walter, our Director of the Feinberg Messianic Center, had a fruitful evangelistic conversation at New York University with Abraham,* a 19-year-old Jewish Marxist who was using street art to call for a revolution. As they spoke about the state of the world, Abraham admitted that mankind is sinful. Robert began sharing with Abraham that we will never have true peace until the Kingdom of God comes down to us. Abraham balked at the idea and went on to question why in other cultures there seems to be a higher moral standard. The example he gave was that of a Native American chief sacrificing his own food in order to save his whole tribe from starvation. Robert was able to use this to make the connection with God’s kingdom. Just as the chief willingly laid down and sacrificed his own sustenance, his own survival, for the sake of others, so too God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten son, so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Robert shared the entire Gospel with him and he listened. Please pray for Abraham’s salvation!