When you think of Jewish ministry, New York City might come to mind or ministries within Israel itself. But did you know that Brazil is home to a large population of Jewish people? For 46 years, Robert and Jane have lived in Brazil, serving among Jewish people and Brazilians.
Robert’s roots in this ministry go deep. He was only 12 years old when the Lord called him to one day serve in São Paulo. He and Jane served in that city for 24 years at an established Jewish ministry. The Lord later called them Rio de Janeiro, where they established a Jewish ministry in which they have served for 22 years. Each year, they host several Jewish Weekend Retreats for interested Jewish people. The events start on Friday afternoons and often run through Monday morning—depending on their guests’ schedules. Robert leads several Bible studies during the weekends. The retreats generally coincide with biblical or traditional Jewish holidays.
Their most recent retreat (late September 2021) was Chag Sukkot, better known as “Feast of Tabernacles.” God required his people, the children of Israel, to observe seven biblical feasts. They are all found in Leviticus chapter 23. Two other feasts are mentioned in the Bible. The “Feast of Purim,” is found in the book of Esther. And Chanukah, or the “Feast of Dedication” or “Feast of Lights,” is mentioned in the Gospel of John, chapter 10, as the Lord Jesus was observing it in the temple court.
In 2021, as is their custom, Robert, Jane, and members of their ministry center built their Sukkah (tabernacle) with a framework of bamboo poles, covering the whole structure with different kinds of palm and other leafy tree growth. It was 23 feet long by 16-and-a-half feet wide. They hosted four Jewish people as overnight guests, but their surprise came on Saturday when over 50 people attended their 4:00 pm service! Some were from their own congregation, and many came from sister churches. Robert and Jane had to open the curtain walls so people outside could see in and participate. During that service, they sang songs in Hebrew, and Robert explained the historical and messianic significance of the holiday. Afterward they served typical holiday food.
The feast definitely points to the Messiah’s coming to restore the Davidic monarchy to the nation of Israel. It is the time considered by many biblical scholars as the Seventh Dispensation, i.e., the Millennium. Many prophecies are yet to be fulfilled when the Lord returns:
And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD (Exodus 6:8).
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles(Zec. 14:16).
Robert and Jane not only use these occasions to teach their Jewish friends about Messiah Jesus, but these events also benefit their local churches. Those who attend leave with a better understanding of the Bible because of the explanation of biblical customs and holidays. Readings from the New Testament derive more meaning. The people also gain a renewed interest in reaching the Jewish people with whom they have contact. Four churches and their pastors attended their Sukkot celebration.
Their next Jewish Holiday Weekend Retreat (celebrating Chanukah) begins December 3, 2021.>