I met Louis L. at the Beverly Hills Baptist Church in L.A. He was the first Jewish Christian I had ever met. Louis and another young man came to visit our church. They were representatives of Jews for Jesus, a movement that had its beginning in California.
Today the number of Messianic Jews is mounting significantly. It’s sad to say that the Pope issued an edict that we “Christians” should no longer witness to Jews. As if Catholics ever really did. I beg to differ.
Even one of our own, namely John Hagee, says the very same thing—believing that Jews will be saved anyway. I’m beginning to wonder about that man, along with the new revelations he comes up with every other day. Anyway, the pastor introduced Louis and me, knowing that I was an outspoken evangelical; albeit not a street corner one.
I was thrilled to spend the day with these new brethren and felt privileged to meet their acquaintance. Little did I know that I would lead a Jewish woman to Christ shortly after our meeting. It was as if God was setting me up to be able to share the gospel with her.
Hilda Hattie was her name. She was a frail little old lady about eighty or even ninety years old and I found her stumbling into the street while stepping off a street corner on a Sunday morning. My wife and I were on our way to the church when I noticed Hilda shuffling slowly down the street, hardly able to hold herself up.
All of a sudden she tripped at the corner and fell into the street. Luckily it was on a side street (not that it would have mattered since everyone in Hollywood is sleeping in after a night of hard partying). I had just stopped at the stop sign and jumped out of the car to help her up. I put her in the back seat of the car and asked where she lived so I could take her home. She replied, “I don’t want to go home, I want to go with you!”
“But I’m going to church right now.”
“I want to go with you.”
“Well, let’s go!”
To make a long story short, Hilda, a Jew, was dying. She lived only a block or two from us. I visited her in her final days and hours and was able to lead her to Christ. God works in mysterious ways.
Later, on one of my travels, I met a young Jewish man named Jim C. who was a new convert to the Christian faith. We were staying a few doors from one another in a boarding house in Alabama, and we became good friends. Whenever he had a question concerning the faith I would help him. Jim was enthusiastic about his new found faith. We parted friends as I was called away to work elsewhere.
One day, years later as I was perusing the flea market in Pensacola, Florida. I heard a shout from behind me “Jim…Jim Towers!” I turned around to see who had called me and it was Jim my Jewish friend. Like me he was an adventurous independent man although a bit younger.
I walked back to him and he came out from behind the jewelry case where he was selling jewelry. We talked a bit, and as we did so, I looked at the things that he was selling. I noticed a ring I had always wanted; it was a solid silver band with an eagle embossed on a rectangular background of turquoise. The eagle with wings spread out was silver as well. I asked him for the price and he told me it was something like fifty dollars. Since I’m not into wearing jewelry I told him I’d think about it and we said our goodbyes.
I hadn’t gotten sixty feet away when Jim called out my name again. I went back and told him I’d buy the ring thinking he wanted to make me a deal and needed the money. Jim was already holding the ring in his hand and asked me to hold my hand out. He slipped the ring on my finger and it fit perfectly.
I fished into my back pocket for my wallet and he stopped me in mid-movement. “Jim,” he said,
“I feel Lord wants me to give the ring to you.” I insisted on paying for it but he only replied, “Please don’t take this blessing from me.” I was flabbergasted for I had always wanted this particular ring after seeing it in a periodical several years before.
While beachcombing on a secluded beach a couple of days later and feeling low, my head began to burn from the intense heat of the midday summer in Florida. I chided myself for not having a cap or hat on my head. Then, about seventy feet away I saw something blue lying on the beach that looked like it might be a cap. Sure enough it was.
It was like new with an adjustable clip on the back. I turned it over and to my utter amazement; there on the front of the navy blue cap was the same eagle in flight embroidered on the cap with silver thread just like the ring Jim had given me a couple of days before.
I’ve since lost that cap in my travels, but I still wear that ring today. That was over twenty-five years ago and although I would on occasion look at it over the years and wonder when Lord, when? Only today, do I realize the full-significance of the Bible verse that these signs had for me:
“But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Today I can say, trust in the Lord and He shall bring it to pass. In the meantime, work in His harvest field while you wait expectantly, like I’ve been doing for over forty years. I have a deep contentment and love doing what I can for the kingdom of God.
Jewish people have become dear to me over the years. I’ve gotten to know quite a few after having had a ministry station in a Dunkin Donut shop a few years ago. I’ve eaten with them, gone to the movies with them, chummed around with them and they all knew I am a “born again” Christian who never held back from sharing Christ with them. I guess they sensed that I really cared for them.
In my coffee shop ministry I came to know “Bo” the son of a rabbi whose father was head of the Synagogue that Benjamin Netanyahu’s family attended, and who lived next door to them as well. I still see him once in a while when I’m in Miami, and he knows what to expect to hear from me. Yet he is always cordial and glad to see me. I’ll be looking for him when I go to film in Miami.
I could tell you stories like this until the cows come home, but let me end with this one.
One crotchety older Jewish man named Ugene and I would often talk about spiritual things while sipping on coffee in the coffee shop. He was a highly educated (Law and Medicine) self-reliant macho man, and I could never get through to him. One day a couple of years later, while I was working on a film in Detroit, I learned from a friend of mine that Ugene was in the hospital and dying of cancer (and he was a vegetarian and non smoker!)
In any case, he phoned my friend Richard from the hospital and asked him for a favor. The favor was this: To sneak some matzo crackers and Mogen David wine into the hospital for him to be able to take communion before his impending death. You see, after he contracted cancer he became a Messianic Jew. I’d like to believe I had something to do with his acceptance of Jesus as his Messiah.
In closing, if you want to live a rich and fulfilling life, I would encourage you to suit-up in the in armor of God, “Put on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of truth, the shield of faith, the sword of the spirit” and shod you feet with the good news of the gospel. For the fields are ripe and God wants you to join in the harvest…and Jews are not exempt. After all, Jesus was a Jew.
Jim Torres “Towers”