As you may recall, we spent a good part of last year restructuring our ministry in the former So- viet Union (FSU). The results of all of that effort were apparent by the end of 2009. The congre- gation in Minsk is growing under Pastor Podrez\u2019s leadership, and about 80 percent of the people who attend the services are Jewish. We also added six full-time FSU missionaries in 2009. We\u2019re expecting great things in 2010 from our outreach in the FSU.
Silverman is the pastor) to cosponsor a debate between Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Bart Ehrman. Permission to hold the debate on campus in April has already been granted, Drs. Brown and Ehrman have signed on, and planning for the event is now in full swing.
Students in our public universities are being hammered daily with liberal, critical propaganda\u2015 all of which is financed by our tax dollars\u2015and some of us think it\u2019s time for believers to stand up and say, \u201cEnough is enough!\u201d Our hope and prayer is that as a result of this debate, the Gospel\u2015in all of its power and simplicity\u2015will resound to every corner of the OSU campus, including the
CJFM Chicago missionary Mike Campo recently noted that his wife Sandra often witnesses when
she does hairstyling. Recently, one of her clients (a shut-in) called to see when Sandra was coming.
Since Sandra wasn\u2019t home, Mike happened to take the call. In the course of the conversation,
Mike watered the Gospel seeds his wife had planted and then led this dear lady to faith!
Mike\u2019s story brings up an interesting point. What about us? Do we discuss the Gospel only at planned times and events? Do we participate only once a year in our church\u2019s mission out- reach? Or, do we also take advantage of unexpected day-to-day opportunities?
sows seeds for the Gospel. It\u2019s a natural part of her life. On her way into town, for example, she engages her Arab taxi driver in conversation; a few minutes later, she exchanges pleasantries with the Jewish security guard at the bank, the post office, or the train station. On a hot day, she offers the delivery man or maintenance worker a drink of cold water. Often, even these brief encounters present an opportunity to discuss spiritual things. And every now and then, such conversations lead to someone coming to faith. In fact, Ruth reported recently that two Jewish people have become believers in the Messiah.
What about us? As we go about life, do we see precious souls at the grocery store, the cleaner\u2019s, the beauty parlor, or the gas station? A smile, a kind gesture, or even a few words of pleasant conversation may be a drink of cold water to someone who\u2019s thirsting. Perhaps our brief encounter will plant a seed. Perhaps we may just encounter someone whom God has prepared to receive the Good News. And like Mike Campo, we may have the unexpected joy of leading someone to faith in the Messiah!
Doors of opportunity open when we are friendly and genuinely caring toward others. Our motive should never be to ma- nipulate someone into a religious conversation, but simply to love them in Yeshua\u2019s name. God will do the rest. In words attributed to 18th-century Quaker missionary Stephen Grellet, \u201cI expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again\u201d (see also Gal. 6:10).
In 2005, protests against a messianic congregation in Israel turned into a three-hour riot. Leaders were assaulted and the congregation\u2019s property was damaged. Accused of instigating the riot were the city\u2019s chief rabbi and Yad L\u2019Achim, a large anti-missionary organization. Messianic believers\u2014who are routinely the target of such attacks\u2014had finally had enough and took legal action. The outcome of this case will have an affect on the religious freedom of all Jewish believers and workers in Israel. The courts will either rule to protect religious freedom, even the religious freedom of messianic Jews, or turn a blind eye to assaults on them. Should the latter happen, such persecution and physical attacks will undoubtedly increase.
A final decision on this milestone case is expected in March. Please pray with us for the believers in Israel, for the court, and also for those who bear such ill-will toward the Gospel.
This past year, Ada Yonath\u2014an Israeli scientist\u2014became only the fourth woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize for chemistry. The first was Marie Curie in 1911. Between 1901 and 2009, the Nobel Prizes and the Prize in Economic Sciences have been awarded to 802 people and 20 organizations. An estimated 185 of the individuals were Jewish.
Jewish people represent only about .2 percent of the world\u2019s population\u2014that\u2019s two-tenths of one percent (or about 13,500,000 out of 6,811,000,000)\u2014yet they represent nearly 20 percent of all Nobel prize recipients. They have distinguished them- selves in literature, chemistry, economics, medicine, and physics\u2014a few have even received the Peace Prize.
Why are there so many Jewish Nobel Laureates compared to their relative population? Some may argue that democratic societies create an atmosphere where science can flourish. That may partly explain their contributions. But perhaps the answer lies more with God\u2019s promise to Abraham: \u201cI will make you a great nation; . . . And make your name great; And
As in years past, our workers and messianic congregations in Israel and around the world will celebrate Purim with costume parties, feasting, and the traditional reading of the Book of Esther. The celebration of Purim also includes giving sweets and goodies to friends, as well as food to the poor and needy. The holiday starts on the sunset of February 28 this year.
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