Seize the day!

What a difference a day makes, as our Israel Field Leader David Zadok discovered recently when a series of mundane business meetings led to some great opportunities to share the gospel.

Some days, meetings and other activities take me out of the office for many hours, which was the case one Thursday recently. The day started with a couple of hours of editorial work on our Farsi translation of Stan Telchin’s classic testimony book Betrayed! God has used HaGefen Publishing’s Hebrew and Russian translations of the book to bring many Jewish people to himself and we pray he will use our first Persian-language production to draw Iranian Jews to the Messiah.

I then had to meet some representatives from a cement testing company at the new Grace and Truth church building in order to obtain our final occupancy permission. To use the building we need to provide certain certificates, one of which verifies that the cement is of the required standard. After showing the men around the site, they began their work. In the basement, one of them asked me what the building was used for. I couldn’t miss such a wide open door for witness, so I explained that we are a congregation of Jewish believers in Jesus. We believe Jesus is the Messiah and that he was born, raised, lived and died as a Jew. As I was explaining the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31 to him, I noticed that the other men had put down their tools and were listening intently! They then began asking questions about the Hebrew Scriptures and whether we keep kashrut, the Jewish kosher dietary laws.

I replied that we base our faith on the Bible rather than on the Oral Law, the set of traditions contained in the Talmud, which religious Jews claim God gave Moses along with the written Law. Right next to us were some copies of Edut – the Children’s Illustrated Bible – and I explained that we had spent years translating it, not only in an effort to be faithful to the Word of God but also to make it possible for Hebrew speakers to read and understand the Scriptures for themselves. The men expressed sincere interest in what I had been sharing with them before they picked up their tools and got back to work making more holes and more noise.

After another short editing session on Betrayed! I had to travel to the old Philistine town of Ashdod for a meeting with the fire department. Over the last few weeks, I have befriended one of the firemen who has been inspecting the Grace and Truth building. He greeted me as I entered his office and told me that the head of the department was on his way. After offering me a cup of coffee, he got down to business. He knows that the people who attend the Grace and Truth congregation believe Jesus is the Messiah but he wanted to know about how we worship, so I explained the similarities and differences in the way God is worshipped at Grace and Truth and the way he is worshipped in the synagogue.

He was impressed that I spent eighteen years as a major in the Israel Defence Forces and we talked about why HaGefen publishes books and the growing number of Messianic believers in Israel. I explained that we are as much part of Israeli society as everyone else, perhaps even more so because we provide aid for needy Israelis and Holocaust survivors in particular. At that point, the department head walked into the office. He was wearing a yarmulke on his head, which indicated that he is religious, but he was friendly! After a brief discussion, he wanted me to obtain signatures from the Grace and Truth architect and the building’s construction engineer before returning to the HaGefen office.

The architect’s office is in nearby Gan Yavneh. Seven years ago he was involved in a serious car accident and the doctors were convinced he wouldn’t survive the injuries he sustained. But, against all the odds, he recovered and since then he has become very conscious of the sovereignty of God! After signing the paper, he began talking about one of his projects and how, out of nowhere, all the plans had come together to make the project succeed. ‘People don’t understand,’ he told me, ‘that all things are written from above and we are just like pawns in a chess game.’

He went on to tell me more details about his car accident. I agreed with him that his recovery was truly miraculous and I had the opportunity to talk about spiritual things for about forty minutes!

Driving home, I thought to myself, ‘What a day!’ I had the opportunity to share the gospel with several different people from diverse backgrounds and occupations. Although I don’t have the opportunity to share the Good News with so many people every day, the Lord is providing more and more such opportunities. We are thankful for every chance we have to sow seed or to water seed that has been sown, knowing that God alone gives the increase.

This article was first published in the Spring Herald 2015

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