There was a humble German carpenter who loved the Lord and lived in Romania around the time of the Second World War. He loved to pray, and he loved to share his faith, but the cry of his heart and his one prayer was to lead just one Jewish person to faith in the Messiah.

He was old, sick and poor, and there were no Jewish people in his area, but he prayed earnestly that God might bring just one Jewish person with whom he could share the good news of Yeshua.

Just one… and you'll never guess what God did…

Christian Wölfkes knew that God was more than able to answer his prayers, and sure enough, in time, God brought a Jewish person to him. The man he brought was a left-wing intellectual, fluent in nine languages, a stockbroker by trade, and an atheist. His name was Richard Wurmbrand. Richard had previously read much of the Bible and found it uncompelling, but his indifference and intellectual objections were no match for the store of prayers and tears that Mr Wölfkes had invested over the years. God was mightily at work, and His supernatural power would cause the Bible that this carpenter gave to Richard to come alive in his hands.

For a long time, Wölfkes was silent and let God work, only praying for his new friend. Eventually, he asked what Richard thought of the Bible. Admitting that he had wept over the pages in conviction, he said, “I can see wonderful things, but I know that they are not for me, because I am a Jew”. At this point, Wölfkes was able to gently show his Jewish friend the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies in the Bible, and the love that God has for the Jewish people for the sake of their forefathers. Wurmbrand says that Wölfkes was God’s instrument to tear the veil from his eyes, and that in time, God opened his heart, so that he was able to believe the gospel.[1]

Wurmbrand leads others in a supernatural walk of faith

Richard Wurmbrand and his wife, Sabina, went on to lead many other Jewish people to faith in Yeshua, and in time, he became a pastor of a Messianic congregation. But his influence did not stop with the hundreds of believers in his care; as I will explain in a minute, Wurmbrand went on to become one of the most influential believers of his time, and was even voted to be in the top five of most influential Romanians in history [2]. He led those following him to daringly share the gospel in the most dangerous of circumstances; they would throw Bibles into passing trains of invading Russian troops, and sneak into forbidden areas, in order that they might share God’s love with their enemies. Even though the vast majority of the Jewish population that they knew were wiped out in the Holocaust, including Sabina’s entire family, they did not refuse a Nazi soldier refuge when he was being hunted later by the Communists. They modeled not only passion for the gospel but also love for their enemies in a way that is totally supernatural.

Imprisoned and tortured for his faith

While a lot of Jewish believers managed to escape from Romania to Israel, both Richard and his wife were arrested and imprisoned for many years for their faith by the Communists. During his imprisonment, Richard not only experienced horrific torture, but he was kept in solitary confinement for several years. Yet even in prison, they continued to share the gospel – at one point Richard tapped in Morse code to the man in the cell next to him, and leading him to faith in Yeshua. Even more remarkable than that, he and his fellow prisoners would share God's love and forgiveness with their guards and torturers, some of whom were so overwhelmed by the power of that love that they couldn't resist embracing Yeshua too.

Wurmbrand’s legacy – Voice of the Martyrs

When they were miraculously released, the Wurmbrands started an organisation, now called Voice of the Martyrs, which exists to share the gospel where it is banned, and support persecuted believers across the world, helping them to love their enemies. They have flown Scriptures into China and North Korea by balloon, proclaimed the gospel over the border from South Korea by loudspeaker, floated tracts into Cuba, smuggled Bibles into many Communist and Muslim countries and supported those suffering for their faith.

It is impossible to calculate the number of lives that have been eternally affected through the life of this one Jewish man, transformed by the gospel.

The story behind the story of the German carpenter

After his release, Wurmbrand was weak and broken, but had been asked to share a few words about his life with villagers who had gathered to hear his story in Romania. As he shared how a dear carpenter had led him to this journey of faith, he noticed a man weeping in the crowd. Richard recalls, “After the meeting was over, I started to talk to him. He told me that his name was Pitter, that he was a wheelwright, and that it was he who had brought Wölfkes to faith. Up to then, he had believed that all he had accomplished in his life was to convert a carpenter.”

Just one.

You might only touch one person, but you never know who that person could be. Pitter only ever led one person to faith. Wölfkes prayed for just one Jewish person to come to know the Messiah. Through their contributions of just one, many millions of others will be in eternity with us. Please recognise the power of your prayers and efforts to share the gospel, even if they seem small and insignificant to you.

As Mother Teresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”. You might drop only one stone of prayer, or share the gospel with just one person, but who knows how far the ripples will reach out.

Thank you for being just One For Israel.

[1] Quotes taken from one of Richard Wurmbrand’s many books – “Christ on the Jewish Road”, Living Sacrifice Books, 1970, pp 16-18
[2] In 2006, Wurmbrand was voted fifth among the greatest Romanians according to the Mari Români poll.

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