The Lord has blessed us with a thriving ministry among the growing population of Israeli backpackers arriving in Argentina and New Zealand each year. We are there to provide them with the ultimate travel guide for their journey—the Word of God and the truth of His Messiah, Jesus!
Our dedicated worker in Argentina shares the following powerful testimony of his interactions with one Israeli backpacker:
“Why were they eating the bread and the wine?” This is what Jonah,* an Israeli backpacker, asked me as we left church one Sunday in Argentina. Most Israelis are intrigued by hearing about Jesus, but almost none of them ever ask to go to church with us. I had shared the Gospel several times and watched a video about Isaiah 53 with Jonah. He had also talked to several of the other volunteers about their faith, and now he wanted to experience what it is like for believers to worship together. On this particular Sunday, we had a guest speaker who preached from Romans 11 about why Christians should love Jewish people and share the Gospel with them. I was a little unsure how he would respond to the part about evangelizing Jewish people, but in the end, he was so amazed by everything that was said that he wished that every Israeli could hear this sermon! He was also very excited to read Jeremiah 31 in Hebrew to see what the Old Testament says about the New Covenant. God’s Spirit was definitely working in that room. Not only was Jonah impacted by the sermon, but people in the congregation began praising God for His plan of salvation for Jews and Gentiles and expressing a desire to love the Jewish people by sharing the Gospel with them.
“It was this church service that led to Jonah’s question about communion. I began to explain that the Lord’s Supper originated in Passover with the three pieces of unleavened bread that are in every Passover meal. I told him that the rabbis give certain symbolism to these three pieces of bread, but none of them are adequate explanations. When I told him that I believe these three pieces represent God, he blurted out, “Oh! The piece we break represents Jesus!” Without receiving a complete explanation, he fully understood the symbolism that the three pieces represented the Trinity. He understood that the broken piece represented Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and he readily agreed that this explanation made so much more sense than the rabbis’ explanations.”
Our wonderful staff at the Zula Lodge in New Zealand are blessed with a thriving ministry to the Israelis who come their way. Here are some stories from their work:
“We love it when they come alone. In all recent cases when a single person came alone, he was so open to the Gospel message. I invest so much more time talking to them one-on-one about Yeshua and they each receive my input with enthusiasm. In most cases, we pour over an open Hebrew Bible until late into the night.”
“One interesting story was with Gal.* We spotted a guy in town that looked Israeli. I started talking to him in Hebrew and sure enough, he was Israeli. We invited him to stay with us. It was such an enigma to him that he was unexpectedly approached by followers of Yeshua, ‘A mere coincidence or is God indeed after me?’ he wondered. In a very similar way to other solo travelers, we had amazing, deep conversations with him including answering his questions and reading from the Old and New Testaments.”
Scott Brown, the leader of our New Zealand work, shares this exciting and heartwarming report:
“This has to be a fluke. It can’t possibly be this good all the time.”
“This was the thought that possessed me exactly nine years ago, as Margie and I motorcycled throughout New Zealand’s wild South Island in celebration of our 30th anniversary. Everywhere we went we discovered scores of young travelers—Israeli and otherwise—who seemed primed and ready for spiritual conversation. For a missionary like myself, it just seemed too good to be true.
“Well, you know the rest of the story. We moved to the South Island the very next year to test the surface. And we soon discovered that the evangelistic opportunities here are not what we originally thought…they’re even better! Case in point: A few nights ago it took me four hours to finish a 45-minute cleaning chore on the campground. No, I wasn’t slacking off, and my sponge wasn’t broken. The problem was non-stop interruptions. You see, young Israelis at the camp kept stopping me, wanting to talk about God, Jesus, and the Bible.
Quite the problem, huh?
“As you read this, I will be commencing my 29th year of missionary service with Chosen People Ministries. While it’s true that we have witnessed countless works of God in these 29 years, I’ve never seen anything like this past summer in New Zealand. Through our Israeli youth hostel, evangelistic Shabbat dinners and “Hummus Nights,” Jewish holiday celebrations, Hebrew literature distribution, Bible studies, barbecue outreaches and our campground ministry, we have had over 1,000 personal evangelistic encounters with young Israeli travelers.
But what excites me most is their high level of receptivity, enthusiasm, and openness to the Gospel. Good grief; some nights I can’t even find time to clean the toilets!”
Scott also wrote about how he has been able to train other missionaries to do the same type of outreach in another part of New Zealand.
“One of the great privileges I enjoy as a missionary in New Zealand is serving as a teacher/mentor to many young Bible school students. For example, as a regular lecturer for YWAM (Youth With A Mission) I teach hundreds of students for a week at a time, with an emphasis on the Hebraic roots of our faith and our scriptures, as well as Jewish evangelism.
“Apparently, God used this teaching to prompt some of my previous students to launch a new, ongoing ministry to Israelis in another part of the South Island! Here is their recent report:
“One night last week we had eleven Israelis at once; it was a full house. The best part is how open they are. We’ve had some great discussions about forgiveness, hearing God’s voice, foundations of Christianity, relationship versus religion, etc. We’re very encouraged by this ministry and are thankful for how you helped to prepare us to share Jesus with Israelis.”
We are so thankful for all that God is doing through our dedicated team of workers in Argentina, New Zealand, Israel and across the globe. Please continue to pray for our workers, volunteers, short-term missionaries and office staff who work tirelessly to bring the Gospel to these wandering Israelis and all Jewish people around the world.