Today was our first full day of evangelism in the city of Tel Aviv. What a unique city: there is incredible ethnic and cultural diversity here. And while it’s a bustling urban city, people are very friendly and open, especially compared to what you’d find in New York or Chicago.
For the morning and early afternoon, we went out into the city in pairs and initiated conversations we people we came across. With five pairs and a combined total of 25 hours, we had countless conversations with people of all ages and backgrounds. For now, I can share with you a few stories from my day sharing with Bobby:
Slava lives in a nearby city with his family and was in Tel Aviv today, trying to give away their three kittens. He doesn’t consider himself religious but believes there is some nameless, faceless higher power. While we can’t every hope to know this “God”, cutting ourselves off from his love does harm us, both in this life and future reincarnated lives (very similar to the Buddhist perspective). We talked about many different theological issues and were able to share the gospel with him, but he is very confident in and satisfied with his current world view. His father-in-law is a messianic Jew and has repeatedly encouraged Slava and his wife to read the New Testament. Perhaps, after talking with us today, they’ll give it a try?
David has lived in Tel Aviv for many years and has very poor health. We met him while he was sitting on a park bench and he asked us for money – he’s collecting donations on the street to buy medication. He doesn’t consider himself part of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim faiths but he does believe God exists. We did share the gospel with him, although he said his current physical problems prevented him from considering religious or philosophical issues in his life. We prayed for him and left. Later, Bobby returned to offer him a copy of the New Testament. As they were talking, an Orthodox Jew came out of a nearby store and told him to leave: “I know what you’re doing, and you need to stop now. This is your only warning.” After he left, David passed by us again and encouraged us not to heed the Orthodox Jew’s warnings, and he thanked us for talking to him.
These are just two of the many encounters we all had today. While we can’t ever know what impact the conversations might have had, it’s encouraging to think about the ways God might use them.
Later on today, we went out as a group to distribute some literature about Jesus and sing in the streets. The self-conscious person in me cringed a little bit at the prospect of singing Chris Tomlin songs in front of malls and in parks, but it definitely got the attention of those passing by – and it was a lot of fun. Before we leave this place, there will be many other opportunities to reach people, both one at a time through conversations and many at a time by singing and passing out flyers.