I was passing out broadsides in front of a park-like setting near the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City when I saw a man leaning up against a railing. He looked about 55 years of age and seemed very troubled. I began speaking to him, and the first thing he said to me was, I'm an atheist. Don't waste your time on me."
I said, "You're not a waste of time!" We talked and I discovered his name was Anthony. Because he had said he was an atheist, I began with, "Well, you have to admit that behind every great design is a great designer." He agreed. It seemed he wasn't really an atheist after all. He was hurting though. I told him how much God loved him, and that he could come into a personal relationship with God through his Word.
It turned out that Anthony had been raised as a Christian. Even though he had heard much about sin, he had never heard that he could have a personal, loving relationship with God through Jesus if he turned from his sin.
We talked about the empty feeling Anthony had in his heart, and I pointed out that he could try to fill it through alcohol or drugs or promiscuity—or he could find true fulfillment through Jesus, the one who knew him and loved him. I explained that his sin was keeping him from God, but also that the Lord had shed his blood and died for his sins so that he could be forgiven. I told Anthony that when we come into this relationship with the Lord, it becomes a "want to" relationship and not a "have to."
I was amazed how the Holy Spirit took over the situation. I had the verses and the right words that Anthony needed to hear. His hardness was breaking down in front of me. He told me that he felt trapped by sin and he hated it. He had never heard the gospel presented to him from a loving perspective. We had been talking for about ten minutes when I came right out and asked, "Would you like to receive Jesus into your heart right now? Would you like to know him personally?" Anthony said yes.
After we prayed he confided that he had been planning on committing suicide the following day! He had felt wrapped up in his bondage, and it was destroying him. After we prayed he couldn't wait to receive some literature and find out how to get involved with a church.
Another day I was in a little park in the Wall Street area where many business people eat their lunch. My team leader had told me to go ahead and roam around the park and get into conversations with people. As I did, I met a man named John and discussed the gospel with him. I didn't realize that there was another gentleman sitting behind me who was listening to our whole conversation.
After a while John and I prayed together asking Jesus to come into his life. After our prayer I turned around and saw this other gentleman, and it was obvious that he had been deeply moved. Instinctively I asked, "Did you just pray that prayer as well?" He said, "Yes. I want to know this Jesus, too." It was an intense moment!
As we proclaim salvation in Y'shua to our Jewish people, his message takes root in Gentile hearts as well.
It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6).
Editor's Note: Steve and his wife Judy are both Jewish believers in Y'shua. They and their two children live in southern California . Steve has been a believer for four years. He became involved with our Summer Witnessing Campaign last year after he and Judy met Scott Rubin at a Jews for Jesus Ingathering. An electronics technician by trade, Steve seems to have a real gift for evangelism. We hope to have him and his family move to New York City for full-time missionary training. At this time, the Babkows have raised almost all of their support, but they still need approximately $6,000 for the rest of this year's stipend, plus at least $2,000 for their moving expenses. If you are interested in becoming a “co-missioner” to the Babkows, you may send a donation designated for them now. Or write to Jews for Jesus Headquarters at 60 Haight Street , San Francisco , California 94102-5895 for more information about enrolling as a co-missioner.