At the beginning of the year, Kyle, a homeless Jewish addict, approached Christian Witness to Israel missionary Igal Vender on the street, asking for money for food. When Igal told him he had good news to share and instead invited him for a meal at a local cafe, neither imagined where it would lead.
Kyle wanted to know why I would bother trying to help a homeless man like him. I explained that it was because of the One who lives in me and who transformed my own life — Jesus. I shared my testimony with Kyle before we opened the Scriptures and ate together. Kyle listened carefully to what I was saying before I prayed for him and we went our separate ways.
When I got home, my wife and I committed to praying regularly for Kyle, not knowing if I would ever see him again. Two weeks later, however, as I was walking down the street, a man approached me and asked how I was. It was Kyle!
This time round Kyle opened up about his own life. He is a 41-year-old Russian Jewish divorcee, who emigrated to Israel 15 years ago. In Russia he had a responsible job as a chief engineer, but when he arrived in Israel the only job he could get as a non-Hebrew-speaking immigrant was sweeping the streets.
His inability to find a good job caused depression and he turned to drink. When his wife divorced him eight years ago, he began living on the streets. At this point in his life he stopped heavy drinking but turned to hard drugs and spent three years in prison. Kyle opened his heart to me, weeping as he recounted his life story. I gave him a big hug, told him that God cares for him and how Jesus could change his life.
Kyle told me that he didn’t trust people, but when we first met he could sense there was something different about me. He also said that when I prayed for him he was overwhelmed by a sense of peace, something he had not felt for a long time. I offered him a place at the rehab centre that I volunteer in and he gratefully accepted the invitation.
A month later we were studying the book of Ephesians at the rehab. When we finished Kyle approached me, declared that he believed Jesus had died for his sins and told me he wanted to repent and ask Jesus to be Lord of his life! Here was the answer to months of prayer right before my eyes. We prayed together as the other men in the rehab centre watched on.
Around the same time, two other men in the house also professed faith in Jesus. Over the months that followed, Kyle, Cyril and Greg grew in their faith as we studied the Scriptures together and they began serving in the rehab as well as in our church.
Praise God, they even began joining us reaching out to other homeless people and addicts on the streets, sharing the good news of Jesus the Messiah and the way he had transformed their lives.
In June, following baptismal classes, we travelled to the River Jordan to the place where John the Baptist was baptising Jewish people 2,000 years ago. There all three were baptised. Please pray for these three men as they continue to grow in the Lord and as they reach out to others around them.
To learn more about Christian Witness to Israel, please visit www.cwi.org.uk to sign up for The Herald, their bi-monthly magazine featuring reports on how God is at work in the lives of Jewish people.