'Tis the season to think of family; immediate, close in, not-so-close in, added in by marriage or adoption, and those considered part of the family even without kin relationships. These folks are Mishpochah – Yiddish for family...
...I am blessed by Nancy as we enter our 15th year of marriage. Along with her comes her three children - Toi and her husband Richard, Ross and his wife Kristy, and Nate and his wife Ande. Ross and Kristy have five children, Reed, Jackson, Andrew, Ali, and Paige. Oh yes, let us not forget their dog – Sheba. Fur babies play an important role in our lives. These new family members have been added to our five children and through them more than a quiver full of grandchildren scattered in Tennessee, Chicagoland, and Seattle. And last but not least, our own fur babies – the aging Sophie and Izzy – our wonderful Labradoodles. They are getting a new sister in January – a labradoodle puppy.
In addition, we are so very thankful for our Apple of His Eye Mission Society family of co-laborers – people who serve with us in various roles as both staff and volunteers. Nancy has served for many years as adjutant for missions and applies her years of missionary experience to our ministries.
Staff includes our newest addition to our family, Rev. Jordan Peiser serving in Maywood, New Jersey. Toi Powell is an admin assistant who keeps both Nancy and me on time and on track. Richard Powell of JPX Interactive is our esteemed webmaster who has taken us from the dregs of the world wide web to one of the top sites in our field. Debby Wilson continues her faithful service in reaching out to our donors in care, sharing, and prayer. Jordan Merrifield in Idaho is helping us have a presence on social media. Chris and Jane Burnett and Kathryn Smith are the backbones of our admin, donor care, and bookkeeping services so that we can do all things properly and in good order. They are in Brentwood, Tennessee, and we are extremely blessed by their skills and integrity in service to the Lord! Please pray for our work family!
Volunteers include our Board of Directors: Rev. Randy Duncan – chairman of the Board; Mr. Bill Lapp – treasurer; Nancy Cohen – Secretary to the board; Kathi Graham – from San Francisco bringing years of mission experience to the table; Kevin Voges – the newest volunteer to join us from St. Louis; Rev. Dr. Robert Roegner – missionary emeritus now back on the board; Toi and Richard Powell – adjunct board members; and newly emeritus retired member Vivian Ernst – who served with us faithfully for so many years! Please pray for our board members and their families. Pray especially for Kathi as her husband, Bob, who had been struggling for many years with a debilitating illness and went home to be with the Lord in early December.
Since we began in 1996, we have had twenty full- and part-time staff and over one hundred volunteers who have given themselves in service to the Lord with our ministry. One of our volunteers is David, a Jewish believer I first met when he was in the St. Louis County jail awaiting trial in 1998. I would visit him weekly for prayer a Bible study. I urged him to take the initiative to share the Gospel with those around him. He was convicted at trial and sent to ERDCC in Bonne Terre, Missouri. He told me he wanted to be on our mission staff, but I suggested he could better serve as a volunteer. We speak regularly by phone. He shares with me how the Lord works behind the scenes in hard places. David has led over 280 people to faith in Jesus since 1998 – all while in prison. He has also started a Messianic service which has 40+ in attendance and recently saw 5 people baptized. Now David calls me his father. Please pray for David and his prison ministry.
Ken Ebright is an outreach volunteer who goes out weekly to various venues in the St. Louis area engaging those he meets on the streets with the singular question, “What do you think of Jesus?” He continues to meet a wide range of people who have need of salvation and others who are believers in need of encouragement. Please pray for Ken and his street ministry.
In addition to these fine members of our mishpochah are YOU – our prayer partners and financial supporters. You all have enabled us to move forward. Since 1996, 38,600 individuals, churches, foundations, Bible study groups, schools, and like-minded organizations have given sacrificially, over and above their regular church giving, to enable us to go and grow with the Gospel:
We have written 150+ broadside Gospel tracts and distributed over 1,000,000 one at a time in public venues asking the question, “What do YOU think of Jesus?”.
We by God’s grace have given presentations in over 1,300 churches and built international relationships in Jewish missions in Scandinavia, Germany, Denmark, Brazil, Russia, and Israel. We are eager to come to YOUR church, too. Call us at 314-306-7915 to discuss presentations and best dates to be with you.
We are active members of the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism (LCJE) and attended both national and international conferences.
We have produced eight books on Jewish missions, held Jewish evangelism seminars in multiple sites, spoken at Best Practices events in Arizona and Indiana, and spoken at LWML zone, district, and national conventions.
We have written for Portals of Prayer two times during this stretch (four in total), given cross-cultural evangelism modules for 10 years at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, and led direct outreaches and training events in St. Louis, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Florida.
We have produced newsletters at the rate of ten times a year both in print and for the past 4 years electronically only – totaling 270 editions. Through Richard Powell at JPX Interactive we have enhanced our web presence to a top level. See www.appleofhiseye.org.
So, from our Mispochah to yours, we pray for God’s rich blessings in this Advent/Hanukkah season, and may you find shalom in your home with those who are near and dear to you. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your mission family!
Steve Cohen is the founder of Apple of His Eye