Praying for a Jew

Exactly a week ago I was at a worldview camp.

Exactly a week ago I stood with my small group waiting for my name to be called.

All of the students and some of the staff members were going downtown to evangelize at the Capital. We were dividing ourselves up into small teams of three and four. Two boys one girl, two girls one boy, or two  boys two girls.

Maria, the girl standing next to was called first. Then, my name was called.

I smiled. I liked Maria, she was one of the seven girls I shared a dorm with and I was glad to be able to spend the day with her.

After my name, two boys were called out of the other small group to join our team. Their names were Tyler and Jeff.

The first thing Tyler said after introducing himself was, “Jeff won’t be talking much while we evangelize.”

“I’m a Jew” Jeff explained.

Exactly a week ago I met a Jew named Jeff at a Christian camp, and I’ve been praying for him ever since.

Maria and I had lunch with the two young men, and while we ate our tacos Jeff shared his life story…

His father was a Jew by birth, but he began to question his faith and soon became an atheist. Eventually, though, for whatever reason he returned to his former belief. When Jeff came along his father gave him the freedom to choose whatever religion seemed to fit him best, because that is what he had done.

And so…Jeff has been an atheist, a Mormon, a Jehovah’s Witness, a Christian, and who knows what else. After a while, just like his father, he returned to Judaism.

We asked him why he left Christianity. He answered that it was because of the corruption in the Church.

Why then, if he had left Christianity, was he attending a Christian worldview camp?

“To add to my knowledge,” was his answer.

Lunch was over far too soon. I could have talked for at least a couple more hours.

Unfortunately, we lost even more time to talk with the boys because they were put on a different bus than me and Maria. But it turned out for the best, because my partner and I were able to talk with our small group leader.

We told her the situation and she came along side us and helped carry our burden by encouraging us and promising to pray for us.

I was excited and nervous as the bus came to a stop in front of Capital park. I stood up and walked towards the school bus door, and exactly a week ago, as I placed my feet upon the pavement, I was completely unprepared for what lay ahead.

The whole camp met under a tree to pray for what would happen in the next 45min. Then we broke up into our teams and, “went unto all the world” to share the gospel of Christ.

The first lady we approached dogged the question on our tract by fishing around for the right answers. She quickly ended the conversation and rushed off towards work.

I wish I remembered the name of the second lady we met, because I am constantly praying for her.

She was a middle aged woman walking through the park with her son. I was the one to approach her with the question, “what do you think is wrong with the world?” Before she answered she asked us if we were Christians.

We all said yes, except Jeff who cried, “I’m a Jew.”

She then answered my question by saying that people didn’t care enough about one another.

We asked whether this was cause by society or by the individual.

She answered with the latter.

“Do you believe the verse that says, ‘all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’?”

She flinched. “I don’t believe that verse.” She went on to explain that she didn’t believe all scripture.

“What if your wrong,” I asked. “What if you die and God says that you were wrong to believe that and sends you to hell?”

“I’m not wrong,” she said.

“How do you know?”

“Because my heart tells me that I am right….Aren’t there some scriptures that you disagree with?”

“No,” Tyler, Maria, and I replied.

She looked at the three of us as if we were stupid, “Really?”

“Yes,” I said. “All scripture is God breathed.”

From no where she then says, “So you hate homosexuals?”

Jeffs jumps in and says, “I’m for gay rights” and from that moment on he created a battle between our team.

I glance at Jeff, then turn back to the lady. “We don’t hate homosexuals. We love the person, but we hate their sin.”

“So you hate what their heart tells them to do?”

“The Bible says that the heart is sinful from birth.”

She shakes her head. We bring up Hitler and ask if she thinks that he was right to kill all the people he murdered, because after all, that is what his heart told him to do. She says no, but then says the truth comes from the heart all the while Jeff backs her up. And for the rest of the conversation it is me, Maria, and Tyler against the lady and Jeff. She finally stops the “debate,” ending it by saying how proud she is that we are sharing our beliefs, but that she hopes that we wouldn’t be so stubborn. Then she left.

We stood there, unable to move forward. We had two choices, (1)continue to let Jeff fight against us, or (2)confront him.

“Does anyone have anything to say,” Tyler asks, and I realize that I have to be the one to speak up.

“Jeff” I start then go on to explain what we are all feeling. He is understanding and willingly leaves our team and finds a staff member to stay with.

Once he is gone Tyler can’t stop apologizing to me and Maria. We say it’s fine, it isn’t his fault. Then I ask if he is roommates with Jeff. He says yes.

“I’ve been debating him all week.” He paused. “Can we pray?”

Exactly a week ago, we stopped and prayed for a friend. A friend who is digging himself a grave in Hell, and unless God scoops him out of the pit he’ll be there for all of eternity.

Yes, it sounds intense, but it ain’t fiction. It’s reality. People like Jeff, people you know, die everyday and their place is in eternal damnation. Sometimes we don’t think about it, but we need to. Every second of every day. And when we think about it, we need to pray about it.

The strongest weapon we have is prayer, or as Casting Crowns says it, “The only way we’ll ever stand is on our knees with lifted hands.” We need to fight, through prayer. Always, always, fight.

With that being said, please pray for both Jeff and Tyler.

Tyler had a hard week at camp. He had to defend his faith more than he ever had to do before. Pray that he will be strengthened and not weakened by Jeff’s questions, and pray that he will be able to be a righteous and Godly example for Jeff as I am sure they are still in contact with each other and will be for a long while.

I hope that these words effect you. Take them to heart and let them change your life. And remember….pray!

In Christ Alone~EleyanaFaith

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