We pulled into Yuma (the sunniest place on earth) Sunday evening, and headed straight to the home of an elderly couple with whom we had scheduled an appointment. Our predecessors had left us a note telling us that the man was under the influence of a messianic church. After already having one not so positive experience with such a person, we were a bit apprehensive about visiting him.

It turns out that his non-Jewish wife was doing most of the talking, as he had sustained three strokes in the previous six months. After some small talk, he agreed to put on Tefillin. It took great effort on his part, but he succeeded in reciting the blessing as well as Shema and baruch shem.

He seemed very moved by the experience (at 87, this was the first time since his bar mitzva), although he couldn't verbally express his feelings. Before leaving, we told him, "Don't forget, you are a Jew, and nobody can take that away from you." His eyes moistened with tears.

It seems that his entire experience with messianism was just an outward response to missionary pressure. On the inside his Jewish soul was still alive and well.

Eli Phillips and Yoel Wolf
Southwest Arizona