Jews For Jesus

Kathy Perrich

2018

My name is Kathy Perrich…

I encountered Jews for Jesus (JFJ) in the early 80’s, when I was living in Philadelphia and most of my friends were Jewish.  I was a new believer and didn’t know how to reach them, so I reached out to JFJ and they helped.

I got personally involved in the ministry in 2001, when they started a huge campaign called “Behold Your God” (Isaiah 40:9) to reach every city in the world with more than 25,000 Jewish people.  I was trained as a volunteer missionary and served at 8 of these month-long campaigns in the USA.  After 10 years and 66 cities around the globe, JFJ turned their sights to Israel, and over the next 8 years there were 12 campaigns there, culminating with Jerusalem in May 2018.  I was thrilled to be invited to participate in this month-long outreach, as this has been a long-time dream; to serve Jesus in the land of His life. (Pictures of Jerusalem below.)

I served for the last 16 days of the BYG and was one of 14 on the Steward Team (small group). It was our job to take care of 9 teams (large group) that were scattered across the city so they could go out and do ministry without worrying about dirty clothes or dinner or cleaning their apartment. We freed them up from worry about the daily cares of life so they could be more effective in their work.  We picked up our assignment for the day at breakfast, then headed out to serve. 

The Steward Team stayed at a tourist hotel with wonderful breakfast and dinner buffets.  We were eating Kosher without knowing it!  We ate milk products at breakfast (cream, yogurt, butter, milk) and meat at dinner (NO cream, yogurt, butter or milk).  A huge bonus was that we were within a couple blocks of the Garden Tomb and the light rail train that took us to our various job sites. 

Many folks have asked if I felt safe while serving in Jerusalem.  Unequivocally YES!  There were high profile police in evidence everywhere; border police in green, city police in black.  It was exciting to be there during the US Embassy move (they just changed the sign; the building has yet to be built).  I didn’t hear about the unrest in the Gaza Strip until I turned on Fox News that evening. I was wandering around the Old City on Pentecost (50 days after Passover, known to Jews as Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks); wondering if I was in the area where the Church was born!  I was there for 2 Shabbats (Sabboths: Friday sundown to Saturday sundown).  Many roads were temporarily closed off because it was also Ramadan and the police were being proactive.  Twice we were riding in a car and couldn’t get back to our hotel due to all the road closures.  So we hopped on the train and got back that way.  Flexibility was certainly the name of the game!

Love Your Neighbor (Lorecha – pronounced low-ray-ha)  was the theme of Jerusalem BYG (Behold Your God).  The 9 teams targeted various communities to love and build relationships and serve and share the Gospel.   Let me share how some of our teams loved the communities in which they were serving….

Boomer Team: We partnered with 5 other mission agencies.  Our goal was to be the English speakers in the German Colony (Click HERE to learn more about the German Colony in Jerusalem).  We wanted to reach ex-pats; we met Brits, South Africans, Australians, Americans, and Canadians. We had a lending library that we seeded with spiritual books, and we had a booth at the First Station (Click HERE to learn more about the First Station). 

We engaged shoppers and vendors alike for the month and developed relationships.  We performed music on the green (this IS the Boomers, so we started w/ the Beatles and Carole King, then moved into spiritual music).   We had an amazing ministry with Orthodox Jews at the Messianic Cemetery run by the Christian Missionary Alliance who wandered in under the cover of darkness.  We were trained as guides to explain the Genesis to Revelation painted walls and the lives of the people buried there.  The core was one-on-one conversations on benches, in cafes, in bus stops, on the streets, and one of our men even had a sauna ministry!

Yeshiva University Team:  We met an unbelieving Jew who owned a club.  We collaborated with him and put on a hip-hop party; he did all the advertising and invited tons of people.  At this party we shared with an Orthodox guy and gave him a New Testament, and he has started reading it. We were in the souks (shops in the Old City) every night talking to people and sharing our faith openly.  We gave lectures, held exercise classes and picnics, and went to college campuses and gave out gift bags. We spent time getting to know and love these young Israelis. 

Service Team: Fifteen churches brought 167 volunteers for a week from USA, Denmark & Germany.  We served in 15 non-profit agencies, including old folks’ homes, a day care for Alzheimer’s patients, with blind kids and other physically challenged kids, at national parks & organic farms.  We served the servers!  One of our volunteers, Freddie, came from Germany and spoke no English or Hebrew.  He went to the old folks’ home where he met Mina from Russia, who spoke German.  He shared the Gospel with her; she repented and professed faith in Yeshua (Jesus Christ).

Russian Team: We reached out to immigrants from Russian speaking countries. We conducted surveys, did cold calling, had conversations on bus excursions, put on Chagall presentations and picnics, engaged in swimming pool evangelism and the distribution of food.  We had over 3000 discussions with Russian speakers, made over 1,300 contacts with people who want to continue our discussions, visited more than 100 folks in their homes, and had 55 salvation decisions and 2 baptisms!  Pray for ongoing follow-up work and significant impact in Israel & around the world.  
 

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:3

DAPH: Here we were taking care of the people nobody else loves: the drug addicted, alcoholics, prostitutes, and homeless.  We had a two-fold vision; do good to the municipality (build good will, show them that you can be Jewish and believe in Yeshua), and to love & serve.  We served at Beit Shushan, a halfway house run by very religious Jews.  We had trauma workshops, baking workshops, played games, had a BBQ, and shared the Gospel.  Dima recognized Igal (one of our missionaries) from prison years ago and wanted to know why he was so joyful.  We were able to share the Gospel there all month, and the people running the place were happy for us to be there talking about Yeshua (Jesus) because they saw what He had done for Igal; maybe for these folks too. Three people were saved there. We served at a soup kitchen  where we met a receptive Orthodox man who is very open and still having daily text message conversations with Tuvya. We did renovations at places where the municipality sent us, including for a woman who works on the street as a prostitute.  We repaired her house so that it would be safe for her children.

There were also teams serving Orthodox Women & Orthodox Men.  These Haredi Teams started conversations with Orthodox Jews at bus stops, on benches, in parks, at the Western Wall; they went to where these people are.  Here’s what the Lady Haredi Team said: “We are ministering to ladies who are in bondage to traditions, to rabbis in their communities and they lead their lives in fear of man rather than the living God. We have been regularly engaging with women at the Western Wall, the Kotel, through prayer and conversation. We have been visiting with Orthodox women in their homes, helping them with house work, child care and other tasks. We have been able to minister to them in their great need. Several of the women have been open to prayer as well! Here is one of their stories:

Laura visited Raya during the first week.  She wanted us to return but her husband spoke to the rabbi and he told them not to have us come back.  Raya has 5 children and another due this month, and she really appreciated our help.  We continued to pray for her even though we didn’t see her.  This week we felt compelled by the Lord to bring her some groceries and donated clothing for her children.  When we arrived, she exclaimed “You’ve fallen from heaven to help me!”  I played with her children in the park and Tsameret explained the Gospel to her beginning with Jeremiah 31:31-24.  She had so many questions and told us that she had changed her perception of believers after meeting us and seeing that we respected her community.  Please pray as we see her again and for a smooth delivery of her baby.

The Sports Team: This team served those Israelis who are interested in sports and fitness.  We organized a soccer tournament in the city, as well as free fitness classes in a park.  Here’s a report from Kaylie: “Today, our team went to a local park to host a free fitness class. Nine Israelis participated. Some attendees were new, and some were recurring participators, which was very encouraging! The class was comprised of many different types of people—young and old, those with experience in classes like these, and those with none at all. Yet the camaraderie was palpable. Everyone was working hard together, laughing and enjoying themselves. The class embodied what I felt was our purpose in coming to Israel—to engage with locals in a fun way, build relationships and create opportunities for meaningful gospel conversations.”
 
The Arts Team: The Arts Team reached out to the community of artists in Jerusalem.  We rented a space and sponsored a juried art exhibit.  It gave us many opportunities to talk about Yeshua to the artists and others who came to the exhibit (much of the subject matter of the artwork was spiritual).  We also held a couple ‘Art Zooms’, where artists came and worked on their art.  Painters, sculptors, multi-media artists…we all were together for 4 or 5 hours in the evenings where we worked on our pieces of art while building relationships and discussing Yeshua with Israelis.
 
 

So, you might be asking what I (Kathy) was doing……

I spent time among the locals in laundromats.  One was entered through a small opening between the potato chips and the Fritos display.  Half the space was an internet café for Orthodox men, and in the other half we spent time washing clothes for the teams.  If we were washing more than one team’s laundry, we had to be careful to get the right clothes back to the right team.  That was a challenge! Another laundromat was across the narrow street from several Yeshivas, so there were lots of Orthodox Jews walking around. (pic: Karen doing laundry)

Grocery shopping was fun since all the labels were in Hebrew: I didn’t know if I was looking at flour or corn meal!  I cooked 2 dinners and made 4 double batches of chocolate banana bread for the DAPH team, and shopping was a daily event. After cleaning the apartment in the morning, I would find the recipes for dinner on the internet, make a list, check it twice, and off to the grocery I walked. Thankfully, God put employees in my path who spoke English and helped me, and I also had a great translator app. 

Cooking was fun for a lot of reasons, and I found myself becoming more flexible than I am at home!  There were no measuring implements, so the palm of my hand became my ½ teaspoon, tablespoon, etc.  A paper cup became my 8 oz/one-cup measure.  Then there were no numbers on the oven dial, so the temperature was a guess.  Spices were purchased at the nearby local outdoor market (link to outdoor market website HERE) where it was easy to wander for hours looking at everything.

One day I (and 2 teammates) were eating lunch (shwarma on pita) at an outdoor café at Machane Yahuda and talking about the LORD and how privileged we felt to be there serving (this day) at the laundromat.  Suddenly Paula started talking very loudly about Yeshua being the Messiah of Israel, quoting Old Testament prophesies, and sharing the Gospel.  Scheffee and I were a bit puzzled until we realized that an Orthodox woman at the next table was leaning toward us and listening to our conversation. Pray that Paula’s witness bears fruit!

I felt drawn to the Old City and felt like I couldn’t get enough of the atmosphere & the souks.  I spoke with many shop owners about spiritual matters and had some great conversations about Yeshua!  I went there as much as I could, including the early morning of our last day.  I still had 50 shekels that I wanted to spend, which wasn’t hard to do (equivalent to about $15).  It was exhilarating to sit at an outdoor café inside the Jaffa Gate (Beautiful Gate mentioned in the Bible) sipping a coffee, watching the shops open up, and thinking about this town and all that had happened here. 

Would I go back?  Yes, in a heartbeat!  Staying in Jerusalem and serving was very different from going on a ‘Christian Tour’, which I did earlier this year to get acclimated to Israel.  The tour was great; we went to about 30 Biblical sites throughout Israel in 8 days, which was amazing and fast paced.  Living and serving in Jerusalem for over two weeks was relaxed (although I worked hard) and it was such a blessing to be among and interact with the locals.
 
Thank you to Dutch Fork Baptist Church for your prayers and support! 
-Kathy Perrich
 

For more information on how you can also get involved in this ministry, click HERE, or contact Kathy Perrich.