Missions Corner: Tuvya Zaretsky (excerpts from August 2017 newsletter)

Blessings to all at Grace Church Congregational.  I hope you are all getting recharged this summer.  Ellen joins me in sending thanks to you for your prayers as we pursue God’s salvation plan for our Jewish people.  We appreciate your partnership with us in reaching Jews for Jesus.

This month is the total solar eclipse that will track across the United States on August 21st.  I know that for many people, it is exciting to witness something new as it is happening.  That’s why I enjoy sending out these monthly updates. Current news about what the Lord is doing among our Jewish people is encouraging. And I’m seeing validation of my enthusiasm about Jewish hearts as a new generation is opening to the Gospel.

My parents and my generation (the baby boomers) were taught that the only religion for Jewish people was Judaism. I came to faith during a spiritual wave that brought many young American Jews of my generation to faith in the Messiah Jesus. You can see a 9-minute video, as I share the story on YouTube at, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIBzoWqzdco

Well, there is a new openness growing among Jews in America.  Earlier this year, the Barna Group completed research on the spiritual interests of American Jewish millennials (aged 18-31).  Our ministry helped craft the survey but had no control over the collection or presentation of the data.  We suggested a few Jewish scholars, rabbis and public policy shapers who could comment on the survey findings in a series of essays.  Most of their reaction was dismay and frustration, because the findings reveal a spiritual interest – but not strictly for Judaism.

In contrast, we are incredibly excited by the changes in attitude taking shape among this group of younger American Jews.  After three decades of intermarriage, more than half of all American Jewish millennials have just one Jewish parent.  And they are the primary identity of the next generation of American Jewry. The Barna study found nine out of ten Jewish Millennials are spiritually interested.  73% of them want to learn about religion, and not just Judaism.  In fact, almost two thirds of them said they were interested in learning about Judaism and Christian faith!

My interest is missiology, so I was honored to be invited to write a short paper about the implications of this Barna study for Jewish evangelism.  It should be available when the study is published early this fall. I’ll let you know when it’s available online.  Meanwhile, these findings have been a cause for excitement and have bumped interest in our Jewish-Gentile couple ministry up a notch.  Right now, only the Behold Your God Campaign in Israel next year has higher priority. But after that…:)

There’s another bit of exciting news on the way. This weekend, I submitted my final edit for the new Jewish-Gentile Couples outreach booklet.  The working title is, Finding Spiritual Harmony in your Jewish-Gentile Relationship.  Yup, I’m pretty pumped about this one too. Please pray for wisdom as we push to release it next month.

I know that you will continue praying with us for the Jewish-Gentile couples to whom I’m currently ministering.  I was traveling on ministry matters during the last two months. So, now I’m back and catching up with many of them, like Kyle and Leah, who I hope to see in a couple of weeks.  I’m especially eager to see his spiritual progress over the past two months.  I have no doubt the Lord has been working.

Thanks for your prayers and financial support for our Jews for Jesus efforts.  My verse for the coming solar eclipse is Isaiah 9:2, “The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” Matthew 4:16 celebrates Messiah Jesus as that great light! Hallelujah!

Your brother in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus),

Tuvya

 

 

 

 

 

 

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