I have a granddaughter. She is at the age where she can, without hesitation, decide if a new food item would be to her liking… even before tasting it! She, like many of us, has preconceived notions about the flavor before it even hits the tongue. I tell her, “Look, just taste it first… you never know what you might be missing ….imagine if you had said no to chocolate without giving it a chance”. The key driver for our eating (and possibly tasting) is hunger yet we are so influenced by many other factors… social, emotional and intellectual factors. So whether we ever get to taste spaghetti squash will not affect our eternal tent, but refusing to taste the Word of God because of cultural or religious constraints will indeed have tremendous implications for us. Our responsibility as we go door to door is to heighten the senses and help people realize that they are indeed hungry for something other than food. We pray that the words used in these conversations with our Jewish friends would trigger a challenge that would result in a spiritually nutritious diet. So let’s offer them the milk of the Word and free them from the dark side of chocolate!
From the Outreach Team: Monday, March 21, 2016
I hope you are all doing well in the Lord! I am glad to share with you that although we were only one team (Danielle, Sarah and myself, Hugues) this past Monday night, we experienced a very blessed distribution since we gave out 10 complete sets and one Tanach, so here are at least 11 more reasons to praise the Lord!
First of all, when we arrived at our designated apartment building, one which was new to us, the main door entrance was closed and it was very quiet. It left us with the impression that we might be waiting there for quite some time. Then, our young, bold and faithful Sarah said, “I will pray”, and in a quiet voice she said, “Lord, can you find someone to open that door…please….”.
I can testify that in less than 10 seconds, a man went out from the elevator, unlocked the door and even held it opened for us to go in! That is an excellent way to warm up in the faith because it was quite cold and windy that night! As we said last week, it is God Who opens the doors!
At the first door, a Jewish Russian woman received a Hebrew-French Bible. Before reaching the next door, we asked ourselves whether we should keep some Hebrew-Russian sets handy with us, just in case. Then, at that same door, a woman who spoke only Russian greeted us but refused the set. She did not want us to come back next week with an Hebrew-Russian set. However, that event answered our question: We will definitely carry some Hebrew-Russian sets with us next time!
At the next door, a young woman accepted a set of Scriptures. After that, we met an older woman who told us that as time passes, she sees more and more the divine intervention of God in her life. She agreed that there is surely someone greater than us and it is God! She thanked us many times and said that we were doing a nice “mitzvah”, a good thing commanded by God. Her husband joined her and thanked us many times too. When we left, we even heard them behind the door talking between themselves, saying it was amazing what we were doing. We found that so encouraging.
Purim (a Jewish feast commemorating the events recorded in the book of Esther) which falls on March 23-24th. Sarah suggested that we should knock on that door and we agreed. A man opened and accepted the set we offered him but told us he was not religious at all. Danielle answered him that in the book of 1Samuel (15:22), God says that He does not really take pleasure in sacrifices but it is the heart of the person that He is looking for. Of course, that truth is also mentioned in several other biblical passages like Ps. 46,Matthew 12:7 and Isaiah 1:11…
Soon after that, we met an Israeli-Russian woman who told us she already had our sets in Hebrew Russian but wanted to take an English-Hebrew set for someone she knows. She said, “I know it is God who sent you tonight”. She shared that she felt that in these times and days, something was missing in life. And since she was Israeli, I was happy to grab the opportunity to speak a little Hebrew with her. We were talking about the news in Israel, the Hebrew channels, and her life in Canada. Then she told us that she had already come once to our congregation (Beth Ariel) and had even played music with Gregory. Gregory is a brother from our congregation who does simultaneous translation of the Saturday morning message into Russian. He also plays violin on the worship team. She said she would like to visit our congregation so we gave her the address and told her she is welcome to visit us whenever she is able.
Right after, we met an older man who joked with us, telling us his age was 18 years and a few months. Then he wanted us to guess how many months we needed to add to 18 to come up with his true age.Finally he told us he was 83 and we were very surprised because he looked much younger than that. He said he did not want to take a set but just our Tanach. He described himself as an Egyptian Jew speaking 6 languages: Arabic, Hebrew, French, German English, and Italian! We spoke to him about the 2 comings of the Messiah, something that was affirmed by many ancient rabbis. The man said that there were also false messiahs and Danielle replied that the real one is spoken of in the Tanach, the One to be born in Bethlehem…
Finally, the last man who greeted us refused the set after asking us many questions about who we were. He said he did not want to lack respect but refused to take a set because he said he didn’t know what was in the book.
That was a great night and although just one set given is a blessing, it was amazing that 10 people each took a set and another one just the Old Testament. So please, all of you who are partaking with us in spirit and in prayers, please keep on because as you can see, God is walking with us!