How Nice and How Pleasant it is for Brothers to be Together
By Maxim Amossov,
assistant leader of the Moscow branch of Jews for Jesus
It is always a wonderful opportunity to take part in such a forum as the seventh international conference Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism that took place in Helsinki, Finland, on August 7-12, 2003.
It was a great privilege and honor for me to represent the Moscow branch of the Jews for Jesus ministry. My small, six-year-long experience of serving the Jewish people already contained the blessed meetings of Jews for Jesus serving in the former Soviet Union and the magnificent Millennial Convocation in December 2000 in the United States where staff workers of our ministry came together from all over the world. But I had only an approximate idea of what was happening with the international Jewish evangelism worldwide. And here, in Helsinki, I saw around 200 ministers from every continent, from 18 countries (even from Japan), from various churches, messianic congregations and missions. I cannot imagine a better "object lesson" on the present-day state of the world's Jewish evangelism. I am grateful to the organizers of the conference and the leadership of the Jews for Jesus ministry for the opportunity to experience so many blessings of the Lord by being a part of this wonderful meeting of brothers and sisters who devoted themselves to serving our nation.
There were a lot of various, deep and interes-ting messages that covered theology, practical methodo-logy, geography and many other aspects of Jewish evangelism. I was very touched by Moishe Rosen's message "The Fact of Failure". It was a powerful challenge to objectively evaluate the results of your ministry and not get too distracted by formal statis-tics. It was a sobering reminder of how hard our ministry is and how little is its visible fruit compared with the ministries to some other nations. How inevtable are some failures and how necessary is their correct understanding to successful (in God's eyes) ministry. "Beauty from ashes is God's formula for suc-cess". Some other points, important to me, were voiced by other speakers; I also found them in daily "Lessons from History" in which Dr. Kai Kjær-Hansen shared of the hard and seemingly fruitless labor of the first missionaries in Jerusalem in the 19th century.
Another important topic was raised by Stan Telchin in his message "One New Man". Let me first note that the very possibility to see and talk to this man, who is very famous in Russia for his book "Betrayed", was a great joy to me. His emotio-nal teaching reminded us that in Christ we are all one new creature and equal before God no matter what our background, including ethnical one, was. I liked his message for its uncompro-mising stand. A lot of belie-vers in Christ waste too much time on seeking the answer to the question, "How are we to prove that, even though we believe in Jesus, we are still Jewish?” Stan had enough boldness to pronounce this approach wrong. The Word of God says we should not get fo-cused on ourselves but rat-her on Jesus. Thank you, Stan.
Israel took a special place at the conference, just as she should. I was very encouraged by seeing how many experienced ministers of Christ work in the Holy Land. Israel occupies a special place not only in the hearts of Jewish people, but also in many gentile believers' hearts. Another confirmation of this I received from a touching personal testimony of S. Yun Shin, a young believer from South Korea that he shared with me during a lunch time. He shared that together with his wife and three children he went to Jerusalem for a few years in order to get a Ph. D. in the Hebrew University. "Why did you have to leave your native country, Korea, where you can get a wonderful Christian education, put your children through a tough life in a strange country and study precisely in Jerusa-lem?" I asked him. "So that I could share Christ with the Jews", he answered.
Of all the messages on Israel the best one, in my opinion, was Lisa Loden's "Western Jews on the Way to the East". She spoke about a tendency that I never expected to find among the modern Israeli youth – an awful passion for all kinds of false religions of India. Trips to India for meetings with gurus and attendance of different religious celebrations there became a common thing in Israel. Even inside the country youth religious festivals in the Indian fashion are becoming
more and more popular. Praise God that this phenomenon did not escape the attention of missionaries, who sometimes even go to India with the youth in order to share about Jesus there! Lisa shared about the first fruit of such exotic trips.
My Russian heart was glad to hear about suc-cesses in ministering to the Russian-speaking Jews all over the world. It is wonder-ful that such successes were reflected in the final document of our meeting – the Conference Statement. Praise God for these vic-tories! It was impossible to not notice the wonderful organization of the conferen-ce. The good and packed schedule enabled us to combine hearing and dis-cussions of speeches with active and productive fellow-ship with one another in be-tween the sessions.The best part of was the fact that pe-ople followed the schedule!
A great blessing became the time of worship led by David Loden. Instrumental music played by Shlomo and Irina Khaikovitsh was a nice addition to official reports. A lot of humor could be found in Susan Perl-man's leading of the evening sessions. In short, conferen-ce leader Dr. Kai Kjær-Hansen and his team did a great job. Thank you very much!
My personal outcome of this conference is a growing desire to serve, a deeper understanding of how to do it, greater encouragement from knowing that so many experienced, knowledgeable and talented ministers are working for the same cause. It is so nice and pleasant for brothers to be together. Thank you Jesus!