The site was Berlin, Germany. From December 26th to January 3rd 2010, a historical conference took place in the heart of the city – it was the first ever world-wide conference of young Messianic believers, both Jewish and Gentile. We called it Muchan, Hebrew for “Ready.” Young people between the ages of 18 and 35 converged upon the conference center for a week of worship, fellowship, exchanging ideas, touring, and encouragement. The purpose was to seek the Lord regarding the future of providing community for Jewish and Gentile believers and reaching out to the next generation of Jewish people. What ensued was completely inspired by the Lord.
Chosen People Ministries sponsored the conference, which emphasized teachings on Identity, Community, and Action. These topics were taught by Vladimir Pikman of Berlin, Larry F. of Irvine, California, and Lawrence Hirsch of Melbourne, Australia respectively. These enlightening presentations spurred many enthusiastic conversations around the tables of the main conference room. The questions posed by the organizers and speakers were: Are we ready to continue blazing the path of Jewish Evangelism that was widely opened in the 1960s? Are we ready to adapt to changing worldviews, even though the Gospel does not change? And finally, are we ready to act for the Messiah to impact the Jewish people with the Gospel like the people before us did?
There were over ten countries and seven different languages represented. Despite the seemingly great language barrier, most were excited to meet new friends with similar interests from all over the globe. Many ventured out in groups to explore Berlin during free time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in the center of the city during New Year’s Eve, in Berlin’s famous open-air celebration – the biggest in the world. As the snow fell, fireworks lit up the sky and music filled the air, the attendees of the Muchan Conference celebrated with Germans and tourists alike in the shadows of the Reichstag (center of the German Government) and the Brandenburg Gate. It was truly a breathtaking and exciting experience.
The 100+ conference attendees also embarked on a trip to Poland to pay respect and gain personal insight on the history of the Jewish people. We visited Krakow, the site of an infamous ghetto during World War II, and Auschwitz, a death camp, the name of which reminds people all over the world of the evil plan devised by the Nazis to murder the Jewish people of Europe. The trip to Poland was marked by an incredible time of spontaneous worship the night before the group visited the camp. Almost everybody worshiped with raised hands for close to an hour, seemingly trying to find strength for what they would encounter the next day. While the young adults who paid their respects in these two locations were not old enough to be contemporaries of the Holocaust, many had relatives who either survived or perished in the camps of the Third Reich. This was an unforgettable experience; it was sobering to walk in the place which was used to murder hundreds of thousands of Jewish people. With the help of the Almighty, everyone was able to grasp the weight of the situation and yet still press on. As a group of young Messianic believers, we stood for God and Yeshua (Jesus) in a place where once occurred the most savage acts of anti-Semitism in the history of the world.
Even the people who had hesitated to come to Muchan were overjoyed in the end after meeting new people, hearing new ideas, and understanding that Jewish evangelism is happening all over the world. Many of us truly took to heart the message of being Muchan (Ready), and began to brainstorm how we could be more effectively and intentionally influencing our friends, fellow students, and peers. There were even meetings of contingencies from individual cities where the young adults sat and discussed ideas on how to impact their local communities.
This was the first such conference – but definitely not the last! There are still reports coming in from all over the world of people who have heard about Muchan and wished they could have been there. Most of the attendees are still interacting via phone and Facebook, sharing stories of how we are working to witness to our Jewish peers. Muchan fulfilled – and is continuing to fulfill – its intended purpose. This conference connected young Messianic believers from all over the world and motivated us to continue our efforts to reach Jewish people with the message of Jesus and to encourage others to do the same.
Contributed by Ryan K.