My First LCJE Meeting

By Alan Butterworth, The Apple of His Eye Mission Society, St. Louis, Missouri

Dallas at the end of February. I thought: “What a great opportunity to get a break from winter.” Well, God had other plans.

The theme of the 20th Annual North American Conference of LCJE was: “Tell My Brethren.” While the organizers meant that we should tell unbelievers about Jesus, my message is: “It was cold! Skates would have been more helpful than shoes in getting from the Hotel to the wonderful conference facilities at First Baptist Church.

But each adventure in getting from the Hotel to First Baptist was another opportunity to bond with people from all over the world who are involved in Jewish missions. This was certainly a memorable conference!

It was very helpful to get perspective, ideas and energy from missionaries from the past and from all over the world. The first evening we were challenged by Kai Kjær-Hansen’s paper about the faithfulness of John Nicolayson and his mission to Jerusalem in the 19th Century. Then Bodil F. Skjøtt got our creative juices flowing as she reported on the project to reach Israelis in Asia while they are seeking New Age teachers in India and Thailand.

Jim Sibley gave us a taste of the teachings of a faithful friend of Jewish missions, W.A Criswell. Dr. Criswell never wavered in his support for Jewish missions in his 50 years as the Pastor of First Baptist, where we were meeting. Sibley also told us about Judah Monis, one of the first, if not the first, Jewish man to come to faith in Jesus in America. This fruit was the result of decades of faithful prayer and work by people like Cotton Mather.

Monday evening was awesome. Tuvya Zaretsky reported on the research he has been doing in the area of reaching the unbelieving Jewish spouses of gentile believers. This is a subject that is close to my heart. My believing wife, Pam, married me while I was an unbeliever. It took 7 years of prayer and patient witnessing, but the result was my baptism some 17 years ago!

N.H. then introduced a video that was easily one of the highlights of the conference. She worked with Chosen People to produce a video that does a phenomenal job of presenting the pro-blems of being in an interfaith marriage. As I watched the story of these four couples, I wasn’t sure if there was going to be a happy outcome. Just before the conference, I was contacted by a believing woman from the Dallas area who is married to an unbeliev-ing Jewish man. I have given her the video, and I am anxious to see how her hus-band, Tony, reacts. Please pray for Tony. I pray that the Lord will use this video to bring Tony and many others to a saving faith in Y’shua.

Rich Robinson revealed the story of Hermann Warszawiak, who was very effective in the Lower East Side of Manhattan around the end of the 19th Century. Although the last years of his life were filled with contro-versy, his enthusiastic work and boundless vision laid important groundwork for what would become Chosen People Ministries and Jews for Jesus.

Another highlight of the conference for me was the presentation by David Sedaca. Sedaca challenged us in several ways. He said our Messianic Congregations should be known for what we believe, not how we worship. Our goal should be outreach, not just enjoyable Davidic Praise. Beginning with Acts Chapter 2, he explained that when the Holy Spirit filled believers, the result was neither worship nor comfort, but the bold proclamation of the Gospel to lost people! David also traced some of the history of Messianic Congregations. There have been many changes that make them uniquely suited to reaching unbelieving Jewish people with the Gospel. But we need to return to our first love and direct our energy toward very specific and attainable goals in sharing our faith through our congregations.

Derek Leman gave us many ideas for reaching Jewish people from Generation X. Rob Styler spoke to our hearts through his dramatic presentation of the Passover story through the eyes of a lamb. Who would have expected, or could ever forget, all of the hugs we received from Stan Telchin and his lovely wife Elaine?

The last morning, Susan Perlman reported on how the Lord is working through the media. Of particular interest to us at the Apple of His Eye is the response to an interview with a Jews for Jesus staff member in Houston. They were meeting there for an unrelated purpose, but mentioned that Houston was a city that would have a “Behold Your God” campaign. The Jewish community responded with all kinds of publicity even though a date has not yet been set! Our newest missionary, Jay Klein, is in Houston.

The last report came from Vladimir Pikman. He will be returning to Berlin to serve with Chosen People in Germany. He explained that the Jewish Population in Germany has quadrupled and many are coming to faith!

Of course, the real highlight of this, or any, confe-rence is the relationships with co-workers. One of the first people I met is someone in the St. Louis area! We will beworking together in the future. Another new friend, Stephen Barack, believes I have some Jewish ancestry and that I should change my name to Butterstein!

The lunch and dinner discussions gave me some exciting new ideas to take back with me. And I know that the friends I made will be with me for all eternity! I am now scrambling to figure out how I can afford to get to Helsinki!

So, what is the bottom line? If you have an opportunity to attend an LCJE event, don’t think twice… just GO! Even an ice storm could not chill the warmth of this opportunity to open up the wide angle lens and see my corner of Jewish missions in the context of history and the whole world.

Alan Butterworth