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!
Prayer & Conversation on the Streets of New York
R., a 30-something young lady, came up to Jerry and Israel. She is from Jerusalem, but spoke like a New Yorker. R. has dual citizenship, two kids, and lives in the Judean hills outside of Jerusalem. "As I walk the Judean hills, I feel the spirit of Jesus there. It's a faith thing," she said.
Israel said that it was no coincidence that he met her! He gave her a copy of Isaiah 53 Explained in Hebrew, as well as The Report. She was more than happy to receive them and eagerly gave all of her contact information. Definitely a divine encounter!
Kathleen and Robynne met L., a 90-year old lady and a third-generation Jewish New Yorker. She wasn't interested in talking about the Messiah until Kathleen said that the Messiah brings comfort to people. This made L's face change and she was immediately interested in hearing more. "Everybody needs comfort," she said. Robynne found out that she had a lot in common with her, and gave her a copy of The Report.
Kathleen met D., an Israeli student. He started chatting with the team about Israel, and then the conversation progressed to talking about the Lord and Scripture. He stuck with the team for hours, and accepted all of the evangelistic materials.
Kathleen and Bobby met S. in Washington Square Park. 93 years old. She did not want prayer at first, but she really fell in love with Bobby and his sharp wit. She eventually allowed Bobby to do a blessing over her. She accepted a copy of Isaiah 53 Explained, and said she would read it.
An Orthodox Jewish woman and her children were walking along the water in Brooklyn and stopped to look at the bridge. I approached them, and they could see the outreach team in t-shirts not far off. I greeted her and offered her something to read. She said "I know about Messianic Jews".
I asked what she knew, and she replied "Enough".
I then asked if she knew about Yeshua (Jesus). She thought for a moment and said "No" - so I said the best way to know about Yeshua was from the Torah(five books of Moses), Tenach (Hebrew Scriptures) and His own words. She thought again, nodded her head okay and accepted the literature.
Please pray that as she reads she would discover the true Biblical Jesus who loves her. By the time I walked back to the rest of the outreach team, there were several people in long conversations with Orthodox Jewish people sitting on benches by the water.
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.