Annual Report for LCJE North America 2004By Theresa Newell, LCJE Area Coordinator for North America
“You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins”- Matthew 1:21 (NIV)
In December 2004, I gave a talk titled “You Must Name Him Jesus.” Preparing for this talk was an opportunity again to meditate on the fact that the Father had chosen His Son’s name before all time. Before he was enfleshed and tabernacled among us, his mission was clear: he was to save his people, his Jewish people, from their sins. Yes, like Israel, he would also be “a light to the nations” (Isa. 49:6), but his first call was to “his own” (John 1:11). We believers are also called to take the Good News of salvation “to the Jew first” (Rom. 1:16). LCJE members commit their lives to this work. This thought always edifies me and encourages me to continue to work to bring the Gospel to the Jewish people everywhere and to do all I can to help others who do.
2005 LCJE NA Conference – San Francisco
For the first time in its 22 year conference history, LCJE-NA will meet in San Francisco. The dates are March 7-9, 2005 and the place is the Radisson Miyako Hotel. The theme will be “A Renewed Call” taken from the topic at the LCWE Forum 2004 in Pattaya, Thailand. It is a theme that calls us to review our commitment and call to Jewish evangelism. Pray for this conference and come! Registration is on the website: www.lcje.net.
Speakers will include Fenton Ward, Mikel Neumann, Derek Leman, Kai Kjær-Hansen, Jim Sibley, Kirk Gliebe, Bodil Skjøtt, Russ Resnik, Susan Perlman and others. Dr. Mark Bailey, president of Dallas Theological Seminary, will present the Bible teachings. Don’t miss it!
2004 LCJE NA Conference – Toronto
Another first was LCJE NA’s 2004 conference in Toronto, Ontario April 26-27, the first ever held in that country. We were so grateful for the warm welcome given by our Canadian brothers and sisters. The presenters were all outstanding and we came away challenged by new ideas and calls to creativity and integrity. David Hecht, a first-time participant at an LCJE conference, summarized the meeting in the May 2004 Bulletin with details which cause you to feel as if you had been there.
In that same issue of the Bulletin, Kai Kjær-Hansen’s editorial noted the intrusion into the Toronto conference of a Jewish staff reporter, Ron Csillag, from
Unfortunately, due to his stealth appearance, none of us had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Csillag. We did appreciate the free publicity that he and his “informers,” the Canadian Jews for Judaism group, afforded us. The Jewish director of conference affairs at our hotel was incensed by the reportter’s uninvited attendance and told me the hotel would follow up on the matter. I explained that our LCJE conferences are open to all and, as Kai wrote, “LCJE is not a secret society.”
2004 Forum for World Evangelization – Pattaya, Thailand
From 29 September to 5 October, three from the USA joined with four others to form Issue Group #31 (“Reaching Jewish People with the Gospel”) at the 2004 Forum for World Evangelization sponsored by The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (LCWE). Tuvya Zaretsky, Susan Perlman and I joined Kai (convener), Ole Chr. Kvarme (theologian), Bodil Skjøtt (facilitator), and Richard Harvey (UK) to think through and write a 25,000 word report on the state of Jewish evangelism worldwide. Reports from this historic conference were published in the November 2004 issue of the Bulletin. My comment is that it was worth every one of the hours of flight from Pittsburgh to Bangkok and back to participate in the JEWS (The Jewish Evangelism Working Session) group – the name we gave our Issue Group. The paper produced, “Jewish Evangelism: A Call to the Church,” is a document that should be read by all involved in the work worldwide. It will appear on the LCJE website soon.
CEO Conference in Dijon, France – May 2005
My husband Bruce and I and Robert Specter, LCJE NA secretary, will join numbers of other leaders from North America at the CEO LCJE conference scheduled 9-13 May in Dijon, France. I would ask your prayers for all who will participate, those working on the planning and those who will moderate discussions there.
As I have worked to complete my Doctor of Ministry thesis (“Preparing the Church to Evangelize Jewish People”) this year, I have been blessed by intercessors and their prayers for me. This was true especially in the face of news that our 38 year old daughter Laura was diagnosed with breast cancer in June and that our youngest, David, and his wife were expecting twins. The good news is that Laura has now completed chemotherapy and radiation treatments and her long-term diagnosis is good. The time I spent with her, husband Brian and her three children over these months were great blessings. And the twins, Josiah Christian and Cambria Ruthann, were born on December 14, premature but healthy and home by New Years Day. So we give great thanks to the Lord for all his goodness to us.
I taught several classes in Jewish evangelism at our church this year. Our LCJE NA secretary, Robert Specter’s Rock of Israel did outreach in Pittsburgh and many other cities in the US in 2004. Tuvya Zaretsky taught a class on Jewish evangelism January 10-14 at Trinity Seminary, Ambridge, PA, where Bruce and I have been on staff. Much prayer is going into preparation for Jews for Jesus’ Behold Your God campaign in Pittsburgh in September 2005 under the leadership of Garrett Smith.
A memory which stands out for me from the past year occurred in June. I took several of our Trinity students to visit the Kahal Shalom synagogue and Jewish Museum on the island of Rhodes in the eastern Mediterranean. The synagogue dates from 1577. It was my second visit to this historic site and to sit with the few Jewish survivors from Rhodes who were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in August 1944. I feel personally attached to this little preserved synagogue because Jews settled in my family village in Bisacquino, Sicily, in 1560. So I have felt a certain kinship with those of Rhodes. Another site we visited in Rhodes is the port at Lindos where the Jewish apostle Paul may have landed on his way to Jerusalem (Acts 21:1). To my knowledge, no one proclaimed the Gospel to the Jewish people of Rhodes in all those years. Of the thousands carried away to the camps in ’44, only 159 returned. This synagogue symbolizes to me lost opportunities among the Jewish people of the world. I think of the report given by a Bible translator at our Toronto meeting last April who cited many languages spoken by Jews today who still do not have the Bible in their first languages.
Much work is yet to be done. Let us work while there is light for the night may come soon. Let us pray the Lord of the harvest to raise up workers to go forth and bear fruit that will last – to His glory!