“Can you fit this into your bag?” Boaz said as we stood at the curbside drop off at the airport. Boaz and I had just finished up some meetings.
He was heading back to Israel and I was heading home to Atlanta. One thing about being on staff with FFOZ is that we typically do not travel lightly. Our bags are usually stuffed with books, CDs, and other resources that we are toting from one place to the next. This trip had been different for me. I didn’t have to check anything and my carry-on actually did not feel like I was carrying cinder blocks! It felt nice to be traveling without the extra weight.
That changed a bit when Boaz’s bags weighed in too heavy. To avoid a fee, we shuffled a bundle of Messiah Magazines into my carry-on and then at the last minute, Boaz asked if I could fit one copy of our Levy Hirsch Memorial Edition of the Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels (A Hebrew/English translation of the four gospels, i.e. the DHE) into my bag. I had just enough space. I didn’t know that HaShem was at work. In just a short time, I would need this unique edition of the DHE (this particular edition of the DHE is free for Jewish people) for a special encounter.
My flight to Atlanta was smooth. As usual, I picked up the northbound train at the airport. The train schedule was different that night because of a Falcons football game at the Georgia Dome. For the first half of the trip, I relaxed and read a little bit. I was in my own world and pretty exhausted from the long day. I was thankful that I had plenty of space and that there were only a few people on the train.
When we stopped at the Georgia Dome station, the floodgates opened. A sea of geared up Falcons fans poured onto the train. I shifted my bag under my legs to make room for someone else to have a seat. As people packed in, a young couple came my way. The wife sat down next to me and her husband sat in the seat in front of her. It was too tight to switch with him, but they seemed content just to have made it on the train.
I asked them how the game went. They were friendly and gave me a brief report about the game. After our chat, I went back to reading FFOZ’s Messiah Journal. Before long, the wife (I’ll call her Ally) pointed at it and asked, “Doing some studying?” As I began to explain what Messiah Journal was about, her husband turned around and expressed an interest in talking about Messianic Judaism. They had heard of this before but didn’t know much. Ally looked at me and said, “This is interesting to me. I am Jewish on my mother’s side. I am from Russia.” Now I was really engaged. I asked her if she had any religious affiliation. She shared that she was a Christian and that they attend a church not far from where I live. As the conversation progressed, Ally expressed that she had had little exposure to Judaism and Messianic Judaism. She knew very little about the richness of her heritage.
As we traveled north, the three of us were marveling at this “small world” encounter. We talked the rest of the way. I shared my story about growing up in a Jewish home, coming to faith in Yeshua, and the process that I went through to learn what it means to be a Jewish follower of Yeshua. I was also able to share about the work that I do with First Fruits of Zion and that I lead a Messianic synagogue in Atlanta. They were intrigued. Ally and her husband had been invited to a Messianic synagogue awhile back, but they got lost (literally) on their way there. Our meeting inspired them both to give it another try!
Right before their stop, I gave Ally and her husband my business card. And then, I remembered that Boaz had given me the Levy Hirsch edition of the DHE. I knew that that DHE was for her. I quickly opened my bag and as the train was stopping, I said, “Here, this is a gift.” Ally was touched. Perhaps this will awaken something in her to begin exploring her Jewish background and identity. I hope so.
We never know how HaShem is at work. When Boaz handed me that DHE five or six hours earlier, it seemed insignificant. But I believe that HaShem had me carry that DHE for a special purpose. It is a joy to see how he weaves the details of our lives together.