Moving Conversion Story
22 March 2012 Leknes, Norway [Tor Tjeransen, tedNEWS] During a weekend on contextualization March 16-18 the audience in the Leknes Seventh-day Church in North Norway heard the moving story of Richard Elofer’s conversion from the Jewish faith to Adventism.
Richard had his early years in Morocco but his family had to move to France. There Richard went to a rabbinic school to strengthen his Jewish convictions. Not long after Richard’s celebration of his Bar Mitzwa he visited a class mate from his class in the state school. The friend happened to be an Adventist. Richard was very impressed with these Christians who celebrated the seventh day Sabbath. Every time he visited the home of his Adventist friend, they read the Bible together. Richard saw that the Adventist understanding was correct according to the Bible he had received.
At nineteen Richard received Jesus. It was a shock to his family. “My dad mourned over me as if I was dead,” Richard told the audience in Leknes. His mother was not allowed to talk to him anymore. But the story did not end there. Richard Elofer told how he had been led to witness about the Messiah to his own people. For many, many years this has been his passion.
“For visitors and members of the Leknes church Richard’s story was a moving testimony of how much some people are willing to sacrifice in order to follow Jesus,” said Arne Kristian Andersen, the local pastor.
Richard Elofer has for many years led the Adventist church in Israel and has a long and varied experience in witnessing in a way that is sensitive to the Jewish context. For the members of the Leknes church there are many parallels to their efforts in reaching their local community for Jesus.
During worship service on Sabbath morning pastor Elofer led out in a service that was very different to the ordinary worship style in the Leknes church. Richard wore both a kippah, the small cap that is mandatory to wear for Orthodox Jews, and a tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl. The service exemplified how Adventist worship may be sensitive to the Jewish tradition.
For Elofer the event in North Norway was not about establishing a new Jewish Adventist congregation in the area. There are not enough Jews in North Norway for that. But it was important to raise awareness of the work the Adventist church is doing in relation to Jews. “It was a privilege for me to support the local pastor in his ministry in the community showing the openness of the Seventh-day Adventist church towards other faiths” said pastor Elofer. [tedNEWS]
tedNEWS Staff: Miroslav Pujic, director; Deana Stojkovic, editor
119 St Peter's Street, St Albans, Herts, AL1 3EY, England
tedNEWS is an information bulletin issued by the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division.
You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify tedNEWS whenever you publish these materials.