Jews for Jesus has launched an innovative evangelistic ministry using gospel folk music to reach Russian Jews who have emigrated to Germany. In its first eight-week tour, the Messiah's Shofar music team performed 45 times in 35 cities.
The six Russian team members distributed more than 23,000 gospel tracts in cities such as Berlin, Frankfurt, and Koblentz. Avi Snyder, a Jews for Jesus representative for Russian ministry, says 22 Jews "prayed to receive the Lord."
Snyder hopes the music team will return to Germany for a second tour this summer to pursue Jews for Jesus' "very high profile, direct form of evangelistic outreach." The ministry works to build relationships with Jewish people and direct them to local churches.
Jews for Jesus plans to send Russian staff members on short visits while it trains staff members to take up residency in Germany to help reach an estimated 60,000 Russian-speaking Jews living in the country. Many are refugees.
Jonathan Bernd, a staff member whose grandparents were deported from Germany and killed in Auschwitz, says he rarely receives "anti-Semitic comments" while driving a Jews for Jesus van in the former East Germany.
Music team member Asher Avramovski says that to "withhold the gospel from a person simply because he is a Jew is criminal, because it means you are withholding the words of eternal life from that person only because he is Jewish."1
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