- Written by Ron Friedman, Glenn Harris, Alexandra Harris and Cara Friedman
The Liberated Wailing Wall is more than a music group that presents Jewish gospel music. They are a mobile evangelistic team with the emphasis on mobile," and their primary purpose is to proclaim Y'shua as Messiah, Lord and Savior to all who will listen. They travel and evangelize throughout the United States and in strategically-planned overseas tours.
Parked in a Houston Mall
by Ron Friedman
As I was about to make my way from our parked bus into the mall, Leon and Vikki pulled alongside in an olive green Mercedes Benz. We were about thirty minutes early for our scheduled church meeting that night, and it had seemed a good time to catch a quick nap or get ahead on some unfinished work.
Still, we were aware of the value of our forty-foot bus as a moving billboard. As the bold words JEWS FOR JESUS are emblazoned on the side of our bus, they also seem to etch themselves onto inquiring minds of those who see them. That was the case with Leon and Vikki.
In a suburb of Houston these transplanted Israelis came upon our Jews for Jesus bus, and for the first time learned about our ministry. As Leon slowly brought his car to a stop and lowered his tinted car window, I wondered if maybe we were in some kind of trouble. I felt intimidated by his rough demeanor. But Leon and his wife were very easy to talk with. He said the sign on the side of our bus had attracted him. He had never heard of "something like this" (meaning Jews who believe in Jesus).
What an opportunity when we least expected it (though we have been brought to the point of expecting them more often lately)! I spoke to Leon and Vikki through their open window. They knew of Skokie, which is where I'm from, and they had opinions on American Jewry. We chatted, then the conversation turned to the Bible and we talked about the Middle East, then things shifted to God and prophecy. It went on for about half an hour until it was time for us to leave. I invited them to our presentation for that evening but Leon was not sure they could make it. I gave them some pamphlets to read, and I know seeds were planted that God in his lovingkindness will water.
It was so nice to meet those two and share good straightforward passages from the Scriptures that I normally would not try to use with first-time contacts. But after shmoozing a few minutes it was really amazing how wide open a door the Spirit provided.
Leon monopolized much of the conversation, but as we talked about various subjects I saw his wife Vikki smiling often—and listening. Please pray that the Lord would occupy more and more of Vikki's and Leon's minds, and that the Holy Spirit would begin to "monopolize" their hearts.
Crossing over from Darkness into Light
by Glenn Harris
We were in Houston presenting our Jewish gospel music at a church. Afterwards some ladies came up and introduced their Jewish friend Victor. They wanted him to talk to one of us. Victor seemed a bit uncomfortable, but then the ladies left and we had a nice conversation.
Victor was from a non-practicing Jewish family. He had been impressed with our presentation and had much respect for us. I asked what he had thought of our message and who he thought Jesus was. Victor said he thought there might be truth in what we were saying, but that he was not ready to "cross over" (his understanding of what it means for a Jewish person to believe in Jesus). Victor believed the same falsehood that pervades the Jewish community—that Jews who believe in Jesus are no longer Jews. He was surprised to learn that virtually all of Jesus' first disciples were Jews, and that, with the possible exception of Luke, all the New Testament writers were Jewish. I pointed out that the real question in the first century was: "Are Gentiles allowed to believe in Jesus?" We talked for about fifteen minutes, and Victor asked many questions.
I invited Victor to come to our presentation the next morning at a nearby messianic congregation. There he could see just how Jewish the gospel really is. Much to my delight, Victor came. He sat in the row right behind us—and he had brought his young son!
They stayed through most of the service. I could tell that Victor was enjoying it, although he felt a little conspicuous sitting in the second row from the front. He gave me his name and telephone number, and I have since written to him. He is also being followed up by that local congregation in Houston. Please pray for Victor. He still thinks being a believer means "crossing over." I suppose in a way he is right. 1 Peter 2:9 says:
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a people of his own, that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Yes, there is a "crossing over" when we believe. But it is not a turning away from being Jewish to being Gentile. We "cross over" from being in spiritual darkness, like everyone else who does not recognize Y'shua, to knowing him as the Messiah, the Light of the world!
Answered Prayer in Tallahassee
by Alexandra Harris
As the Liberated Wailing Wall travels across the country, we carry on evangelism in public places. Whenever we pass through college towns we sing on campus and hand out our gospel tracts. One gray, drizzly day we were at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Despite the bad weather, we felt inspired by our morning Bible reading about Paul's bold preaching in Athens (Acts 17:16-34). We prayed for similar boldness, for wisdom in our witness, and especially for Jewish contacts on campus.
The first person to whom I handed a tract that day was a young Jewish woman named Lisa. In turn, she handed me a calendar from the Jewish Student Center. When I asked who she thought Jesus was, she said, "A good teacher." I asked if she was familiar with the claims he made about himself. She wasn't, so I told her about some of his miracles, and that he said he was the Messiah. We discussed the Old Testament blood sacrifices and why God requires blood to atone for sin. Like many other Jewish people, Lisa believed that other things, like good deeds, could atone for sin.
I quoted Leviticus 17:11: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." I said that God is holy, and even the prophet Isaiah admitted that, compared to God's holiness, all our good deeds were like filthy schmatas (Yiddish for rags). As we talked Lisa admitted that she really was not as knowledgeable as she ought to be in the Scriptures, and she was taking a course on the Bible and Jewish tradition. I asked her if she was open-minded enough to give the Bible a fair hearing. When she said that she was, I talked to her about the Suffering Servant so vividly pictured in Isaiah 53, and she said she would read the chapter for herself. She was also willing to read some literature that I promised to send her. Please pray that Lisa would allow God to speak to her through the Scriptures, and accept Jesus as her Messiah.
Her Friend Kept Pointing at Her
by Cara Friedman
We were at the end of our presentation in one Texas church. I peeked to see if anyone would raise their hand as Glenn invited people to come to the Messiah. As I looked, a woman in the congregation caught my eye and with a meaningful gesture pointed to her friend. I felt elation. The greatest privilege of being with the Liberated Wailing Wall is to tell others that Y'shua is the Messiah, so I was encouraged at what seemed a clear opportunity.
The lady looked embarrassed. She turned to her friend and whispered for her to stop pointing. A few others had raised their hands, but there was no one pointing them out to me like a flashing neon sign. As we began our closing song, I sensed God drawing me to the woman whose friend had pointed to her. Singing the final words of "Let Us Exalt His Name Together" I felt as though I were explaining directly to that woman that God was the one she ought to trust. She looked up at me through tear-filled eyes and smiled.
Afterwards I went to her and introduced myself. Betty was Jewish and had grown up in Houston. Her friend Becky, who had been pointing to her during the invitation, was a Gentile believer. I asked Betty what she had thought of our presentation, and she said it was wonderful. Most of all, she had enjoyed the Jewish way we spoke of God and our relationship to him. Betty was not a believer. She had been looking for a relationship with God but did not understand how that relationship could be through Y'shua.
I took her aside and told her that Y'shua had come to the house of Israel to save us from the consequences of our sin and to bring us into a relationship with God. Betty said she wanted to have peace with God, but was not sure how to go about it. I told her that if she put her faith in Y'shua, she would still be Jewish, and that it was the most Jewish thing to believe in the Jewish Messiah. Then I quoted Romans 10:9: "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
I told Betty that if she was not ready to make a commitment to God she should not feel pressured, because God never forces anyone to come to him. I did let her know that she needed to come to God on his terms, and I said that I would pray for her then and there. I also invited her to pray to receive Y'shua if she felt ready. Her friend Becky, who had pointed at her, was standing nearby and bowed with us in prayer. As I prayed for Betty she seemed to agree with everything I said. When I asked her if she wanted to receive Y'shua as Lord, she agreed. As she prayed for God's salvation, I felt the joy of his Spirit that one of his lost sheep had just been found. I prayed again for Betty, that God would how himself to her in everything she did, especially as she read the Scriptures.
Becky was so happy to see her friend accept Y'shua. She said, "We're sisters now. I've prayed for you for so long, and God has answered my prayers."
The GREATEST Cause
by Michael James
"Save the whales"; "Save the white rhino"; "Bring back the dodo." They all may be good causes, but there is an even greater cause—God's "cause" to SAVE THE LOST. For this cause we Jews for Jesus constantly "invade" university campuses, shopping malls and busy street corners in the hope of convincing people that they need Jesus.
I must admit that my first few sortie experiences with the Liberated Wailing Wall were very scary. I am from South Africa. As a foreigner in the United States, I find it hard to predict how people will react when I say, "Hi. Did you get one of these?" and hand them a strange-looking pamphlet.
These experiences were not made any easier by the briefings we received which usually contained phrases like "in case you get arrested" or "if you are attacked." So you can imagine how I felt when I was left at a sortie site and told to "sweep" the area. (To tell the truth I would have felt much safer literally sweeping the area with a broom.)
But it did not take me long to realize that people are basically the same all over the world. Oddly, the sameness lies in the fact that we are all different from one another. I can stand at the same spot and hand out the same tracts to various people and expect a wide variety of reactions and comments. And anyone who has ever been on a sortie will know that those reactions vary from open acceptance to utter rejection.
Now I am past the initial fright, and I can handle that rejection. Standing on a street corner handing out gospel literature and listening to sarcastic remarks does not take much effort. Sadly, it is not really me they are rejecting. It is Y'shua.
God came to earth as a man, lived up to and fulfilled his own law, and died so that his blood might pay for the sins of everyone in the world who accepts his forgiveness. When people reject the tracts that I hand them, they are rejecting all that God has made available to them in Christ. That is much more serious than the petty rejection I may feel.
People—even those who are cause-oriented—have become a little more cautious when it comes to accepting things that are handed to them in the streets these days. But I wish more of them would realize that the most important cause on this earth is the "cause" of salvation that only Y'shua can bring.
Getting Out of the Way
by Cindy Siner
Although I feel that God has called me to Jewish evangelism, he always seems to use me most to pray with Gentile people to receive the Lord. During Jews for Jesus Summer Campaign '89 I prayed with 47 people to receive the Lord and only one of them was Jewish.
I wondered what it was about me or the way I approached my fellow Jews. Was I too harsh? Too hesitant? Did I secretly fear that Jewish people could not come to know the Lord through me? In my heart, I knew that the Lord draws people to himself—not any of us. Still I seemed to lack confidence with my own Jewish people, the very ones God had called me to evangelize. Then something wonderful happened.
I was on campus at Tulane University in New Orleans with the Liberated Wailing Wall. It was a good day for a sortie. The sun was shining, it was moderately warm and we were able to chat with some students about Jesus. We were also enjoying our new tactic of singing praise songs in a circle before handing out our tracts. It sparked the attention of the passersby, and we felt blessed and empowered as we worshiped the Lord.
We were down to the last ten minutes of our sortie when I felt compelled to approach a lonely looking girl who was seated cross-legged on a bench. As she smiled at me with a fake, "painted on" grin I sensed that she was covering up some inner pain.
"Hi, my name is Cindy," I said. "Do you mind if I just take a few minutes of your time?" She kept looking at me with short, upward glances from her downcast stare. "What do you think about God?" I asked. She said she hadn't given him much thought, although she believed that he existed.
It was as though I could see right through her, past the facade and the cover-up so many in our society display. God had given me a window right into her lonely heart. Words poured out of my mouth as I told her how Jesus had filled my emptiness with his perfect love, and that he could do the same for her.
As I spoke, her protective guard slowly melted away until she was looking straight into my eyes. She listened intently, and time seemed to stand still. There was nothing more important, no greater issue to discuss than the loving God who wanted to bring this special girl a new reason for living. When I got to the part about my being Jewish and how Jewish people were taught not to believe in Jesus, she said, "Oh, I'm Jewish, too."
What? Had my ears heard correctly? I couldn't believe it! My heart began to race as I reached for a pen to write down her name and address for further contact. I hoped that in my excitement I would not say something ridiculous to scare her away.
"Would you like to know more about what I believe?" I asked. My eyes were probably as big as saucers by then as I waited for her reply. In no time she had given me her name and address and she was off to her next class. Little did she know what God had done for me through her positive response that day. I couldn't stop praising him for his love and faithfulness as I met up with the rest of the team and told them my good news.
That encounter not only gave me great joy but also a new confidence in witnessing to Jewish people. Truly God is the one who brings all people to himself. He is the one who prepares the listener's heart and he is the one who gives us believers the words to say. All we have to do is "get out of the way" and let Jesus do what he has planned. Praise God that he does equip us so well for the work he calls us to do!
At a Miami Art Festival
by Karen Sonnenschein
During the Florida segment of our Liberated Wailing Wall tour we usually spend some time in Miami. One of the big events in the Miami area is the annual Coconut Grove Art Festival. Thousands of people from all over the country come to this art show, and many are Jewish.
Those who come to events like art shows are usually in an "escape" frame of mind. They are there to enjoy and perhaps buy, and the last thing they might want to think about is God. But that didn't stop us. We decided to take full advantage of the event to proclaim the good news that the Messiah has come and his name is Y'shua.
We went to the art festival, broadside tracts in hand, wearing Jews for Jesus T-shirts, prepared for anything and everything. Just as we had anticipated, there were tens of thousands of people there, and a good number of them were Jewish. When the police spotted us, they told us that we would have to stay at least two blocks away from the barricades where the art show began. Although we questioned the legality of that restriction, we complied with what they said until we could find out otherwise.
During the first hour or so of broad siding I heard a number of remarks, mostly hostile. While I was getting something to drink, two ladies who saw my T-shirt from the back made some comments about how disgraceful it was for me to be wearing something like that. I turned and asked them why they found it so disgraceful.
They said that what I believed was my business and I should not be "forcing it" on others. (Of course they were wrong. We never force anything on anyone. We merely offer a gospel statement for those who want to consider it.) When I challenged the ladies as to whether our gospel statement was the truth, they simply said it was not. I asked them how they knew that, and they said they just knew, and that they knew a great deal more than I did, although they did not feel like staying around to explain it to me.
It was a typical response. Many Jewish people we meet say that they "know" that Jesus is not the Messiah, although they cannot say why, or anything about the Messiah at all. As we go out to distribute our literature we meet so many people with so many different viewpoints regarding Jesus, but the one thing they all seem to have in common is that somehow they all "know" that Jesus is not the Messiah. They are not sure why they know it or why they think they will know the Messiah when he does come, but they are willing to stake their souls on it.
Toward the end of our broadsiding time at the art festival, I met a woman who was the total opposite of the two other women I had encountered earlier. Her name was Neith. She considered herself "open-minded," and indeed she was—perhaps too much so. In fact, I am not sure Neith even knew what she believed, if anything. However, she was willing to receive some more literature and read about why we believe Jesus is the Messiah. I know God can work with that.
Please pray for Neith and for the many other Jewish people who saw the challenging words "Jews for Jesus" that day at the art show. Pray that God would continue to challenge them, and that many would come to him.