Beginning last week and throughout the weekend, our teams were offering a beautiful scroll of Ruth in French or English to Jewish people, as it is their tradition to read the entire book for the Feast of Weeks/Shavuot/Pentecost. Along with it, we have had a pamphlet on that book with the story of the Redeemer Boaz and Yeshua as the ultimate Redeemer. Of course, we always have the Scriptures on hand to give.
Thursday May 13
We began training with a new team member who is filled with love for Jewish people and a zeal for the gospel. They have much experience in general evangelism but need to learn the particularities of reaching Jewish people with the message, so they were paired up with someone who has been on the team longer. The pair went to a new spot, a grocery store with a large kosher food section in a Jewish area of town. The team gave out 15 Ruth gift scrolls and tracts to shoppers who were stocking up for the weekend. It was easier to identify who was Jewish when we wished a hearty Chag Sameach as they passed by. The Jewish shoppers usually responded to us, others walking past.
One man who refused the Ruth gifts snatched up the anti-Semitism tract when it was offered, as it touches on the current Middle East conflict. Another gentleman, who spoke with us at length, also refused the Ruth gifts, accepting the anti-Semitism tract. He has had a long history in Quebec politics. The new team member, helping him to his car with his groceries, respectfully acknowledged the man’s vast education of political history yet suggested he needed to study the Scriptures more. He was curious as to how there could be a congregation in the neighborhood, Beth Ariel, he didn’t know about!
One elderly woman, E., asked us for all the material we had! We gladly complied and when we offered to pray for her, she told us her name, adding that she really needed prayer.
An older Iranian woman said she already had a Bible, so we encouraged her to read it. The team gave out a few gospel tracts to non-Jewish shoppers.
At another kosher grocery store, the second team gave out two sets of Bibles, 11 Ruth scrolls and pamphlets as well as three anti-Semitism brochures, and two gospel tracts to Gentiles. Each recipient was very surprised by such a touching gift and was thankful to have someone make the effort to remember their special celebration. These included an elderly woman with a walker being assisted by a caregiver, a woman who wanted to give a donation, as well as a man who took the gift scroll and a set of Bibles and then returned to ask for one more set for someone else.
A man sitting on the step who looked very sad accepted a gospel tract and then broke into a smile as he began to page through it.
A young couple exclaimed to us, “We are getting engaged on Monday!” They could not contain their excitement and when we told them that Ruth was about a beautiful love story, they immediately began to read it.
A sweet little woman who was well into her late 80s refused our gifts before she entered a store but needed help when she exited. We quickly went to assist her, and then she wanted our literature. Smiling, she left us and crossed the street. Another man also received our tracts only after we helped him with his parcels.
Another man, H. explained that he had studied religion for 26 years and questioned us if we were Messianic Jews. He recognized our contact information and began to debate with us. He said that he would either call or email us to continue the debate. This man has studied the Word for so long and yet surprisingly his eyes and heart were not yet opened to His Messiah. Please pray for him.
One man said he was a Christian, so we encouraged him to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Saturday May 15
A team of us went to a new park for outreach in a largely Jewish neighborhood, including the new team member. We gave out literature to 22 people, mostly Ruth scrolls and tracts, but including other items. We chatted with two people there.
Because he asked us about what he saw on the back of one of the pamphlets, we told one man that we believed in Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah. Because he brought up the long history of persecution by those who have called themselves Christians, we explained that not all who claim that name actually know the Messiah. In the end, he did accept the Ruth material and the tract on anti-Semitism, and said it was good for us to be doing this work.
We spoke to two women sitting on a bench about how anti-Semitism would only end when the Messiah comes to reign on earth. They had commented on how the world situation was worsening. They also mentioned that they had observed hypocrisy among some religious leaders who prayed in synagogue three times a day yet did not reflect godly living. We brought up that God looks at our hearts, not our religion. They gladly accepted our Ruth gifts.
Sunday May 16
A team of us went to yet another new grocery in a more French Jewish area, where most were bilingual. Many were shopping for the holiday that began at sunset. We gave out literature to 25 people in less than an hour, most thanking us and wishing us Chag Sameach (a happy holiday). We had opportunities to help several with their carts and groceries, which always seemed to soften their hearts. Several praised us for distributing the literature, and some wanted to give us money, which we said should go to charity.
One man, recognizing our contact information, had a long and spirited conversation with one of us as he tried to convince us of our error. He then left in his car with his groceries, but returned after a little while, rapidly walking past us back into the grocery store. Thinking he might complain about our presence, we quickly left for another store with a kosher section. By that time, we were already down to just one Ruth tract.
It was a little harder to find Jewish people who were interested in receiving our literature gifts in the English neighborhood, but we persisted. The menacing rain clouds continued to deviate around us until we finished giving out all the Ruth scrolls in English.
Praise the Lord for these 75 people with whom we have spoken in the last week, and please pray that the scattered seeds take root in repentant hearts who recognize their need of the Saviour. Thank you!