May 23, 2009

A Faithful Friend ~ May 2009

I was hitchhiking to College of Marin in Kentfield, California in 1970 when a big old low-riding car pulled over to pick me up. A heavy-set man wearing black wrap-around sunglasses was behind the wheel. I had been hitchhiking every day since I lost my driver’s license the year before. I had also started following Jesus and sharing my faith whenever I got the chance. The man introduced himself as Marty. He asked me a few questions and I began to tell him about Jesus. When I paused to catch my breath, Marty started telling me about the Lord. It took awhile before either this ex-hippie or the Jewish Midwesterner believed that the other person really knew Jesus.
I met Marty again a few weeks later at a house church meeting where Jesus People had gathered. He invited me to visit his office where he had just begun a new ministry. I went to his little office and met a couple of young Jewish believers. Marty told me he intended to let Jews everywhere know that Jesus is the Messiah. One of the guys went with me that afternoon and we handed out gospel tracts they called “broadsides” at a local high school. At the time this was a normal day for me; going out with whoever would come to share the gospel with whoever would listen.
The next time I met Marty, his ministry had grown and he had changed his name to the Hebrew, Moishe. His little team of evangelists was called Jews for Jesus. Their ministry philosophy was to use their resources to make the maximum possible impact on Jews with the gospel. New York City has more Jews than any city in the world. Moishe had a couple of evangelists stationed at the San Francisco Airport handing out broadsides to passengers getting on planes to New York City. He had another couple of evangelists at JFK airport in New York giving broadsides to the passengers when they got off the plane. Soon articles were appearing in Jewish newspapers and magazines decrying the fact that there seemed to be Jews for Jesus everywhere. Jews for Jesus didn’t back down. They took their gospel broadsides to the streets from San Francisco to New York. Even negative publicity they received was used by the Lord to stir the curiosity of many Jews. Through their ministry there were soon Jews coming to faith in Jesus all over the world.
When Kristina and I were married in August of 1973, Moishe came through the reception line to greet us. He laid his hands on us and prayed a blessing for our marriage and our future children. Years later, after we moved to Phoenix, we received a letter and a gift of $100 from Moishe to take our four children out to dinner. We were living on a very tight budget in those days and it was a big deal for us to take the family out. We set up an empty chair at the Pinnacle Peak Patio that night in honor of Moishe. We told our children stories about the man who prayed for them before they were born.
A few years ago, Moishe turned Jews for Jesus over to a younger leader. He is now fighting cancer and diabetes, yet every day he is able he gets on his computer and goes online to share his faith in Jesus through e-mail and in chat rooms. He has continued to send me encouraging letters and pray for our ministry. It has been a privilege for me to know Moishe, to listen to his wisdom, and watch his ministry grow. His apostolic legacy now includes a multitude of people saved and a ministry of Jewish evangelists boldly sharing Christ around the world. Proverbs 11:30 says, “He who is wise wins souls.” Moishe has been wise. He has won souls, fought the good fight and kept the faith. I too want to stay faithful and fruitful until the day I meet the Lord. Join me in praying for my friend Moishe. You too can follow in his footsteps by sharing your faith in Christ with someone who needs a Savior.