The Friends of Israel in Action Jan/Feb 2022
Just Show Up!
In God’s grace, He delights in using us to make known His kindness that leads men and women to repentance (Rom. 2:4). Sometimes, He wants no more from us than to show up. In faith, we show up; and God does the heavy lifting.
Carrie Gould, an intern with The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry (FOI), has a passion to share the love of Christ with her Jewish friends. She knows what it’s like to need people who care about you, having suffered the loss of two husbands she loved dearly. After the death of her second husband, she moved closer to her family in New Jersey. In the midst of her sorrow, Carrie reached out to The Friends of Israel to ask how she could get involved in Jewish ministry.
We immersed Carrie in our intensive FOI training program, which involves working with our gospel ministers in Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and New York. She participated in our FOI Equip online classes, our Bridges internship program, and served in our Encounter ministry. Then Carrie took all she learned and put it into practice.
She showed up one day at her local Jewish Community Center with the sole purpose of serving the Jewish people. She met Deborah, the director of seniors programs, to discuss ways to volunteer. A professional artist, Carrie offered to teach a seniors watercolor painting class. Thrilled with the idea, Deborah scheduled Carrie to teach in the fall. “How much do you charge for classes?” she asked.
Carrie responded, “Nothing. It’s a free offer. I’m volunteering.”
Shocked, Deborah asked, “Why would you do this, when we can pay you?”
Carrie replied, “I want to serve because I love the Jewish people.”
Deborah’s eyes teared up at the thought a Christian would offer such a kind, free gift for the elderly. She thanked Carrie and offered her a job! Carrie turned down the job but said she will make herself available for other needs as well.
Carrie’s prayer is that this step will be the beginning of a long-lasting friendship and that the Lord will use her to spread the love of Jesus and share the Good News with people at the Jewish Community Center.
Carrie could have walked away from God after the painful loss of her second husband; but by faith, she showed up. What a blessing we have when we submit to His will and choose to serve Him.
You can help support Carrie and interns like her serving in North American outreach with The Friends of Israel. Thank you for your prayers and financial support!
In Canada, please give here.
Kevin and His Flute
If you’ve ever listened to Israeli music, you probably know how unique and hauntingly beautiful it can be. Jewish songs and melodies form a rich cultural tapestry that can help people communicate across cultural lines. That certainly has been the experience of our Friends of Israel (FOI) international field representative Kevin Vigus in Perth, Australia.
Kevin is a classically trained musician who has been invited into the lives of people at his area synagogue because he plays the flute. For years he has used his musical gift to serve the Jewish community alongside his Jewish friends and neighbors by participating in special concerts, memorial services, Jewish festival celebrations, and private functions. He has even recorded in a studio with musicians from the synagogue.
However, through all these concerts and rehearsals, God has given him an even greater opportunity: to show his friends how much Jesus loves them and to tell them about the Messiah.
For example, last April, when Kevin’s church was shut down because of the coronavirus, Kevin felt prompted to attend Shabbat services at the synagogue. A man who knew that Kevin was a Christian came up to him and asked, “Why do Christians call this ‘Good Friday’ when it’s the day Jesus died?” So Kevin explained the good news of Good Friday and how those who believe in Jesus’ death as payment for their sins will be saved from the penalty of paying for those sins themselves.
Kevin told us how God has used his music ministry: “First, they know who I am. I didn’t have to wear a cross for this man to know my Christian faith. I just had to be genuine. Second, they know I am safe. I am not going to force them into anything or embarrass them. Third, there are important parts of the Christian faith that Jewish people would like opportunities to understand.”
The Lord has enabled Kevin to develop genuine friendships built on mutual respect that have blossomed into opportunities to share what he believes. “I truly am astounded,” he said, “where the Lord has led me—with a flute—to discover a music, a language, and a culture that enriches my own faith. And from this I am then able to share among Christians the beauty of our common roots as well.”
Aside from his music ministry, Kevin also teaches the context and culture of the Bible to Christians and churches throughout Western Australia. Please pray with us that his ministry continues to foster deeper relationships between the church in Australia and the Jewish community.
You can help support our Australian team and other FOI ministries like this around the world. Thank you for your prayers and financial support!
In Canada, please give here.