- Parent Category: History
- Category: Personal Stories
- Published on Saturday, 01 July 2006 11:46
I was born the first child in a middle class Jewish family in New York City. My parents were not very religious. But, as best they could they sought to instill in my sister and me the cultural and social values of our Jewish traditions. I had my Bar Mitzvah when I was 13. The ceremony was held in a Reform synagogue and I was taught a basic knowledge of Hebrew to prepare for it.
While we were not particularly observant of Jewish life in our home, some of my relatives and close friends were. Sometimes we celebrated Jewish holidays with them in their homes.
My early years were split between two worlds, Jewish and Gentile (non-Jewish). During the school year we lived in New York City where nearly all my friends were Jewish. Each summer we flew to upstate New York to my grandmother’s home. In this rural town of approximately 6,000 people, all my close friends during the summer months were Gentiles.
When I was 14, my parents’ marriage unraveled and we moved to the town where we spent the summers. My life in that small town was devoted to school, sports, and partying. Academics were important in our home, so I worked hard to get good grades. Soon I was able to attend one of the New York University centers. But without the guidance of a father and no inner goals, I drifted along without direction. At the university, I was exposed to all the usual temptations of college life. Sadly, I went along with pretty much everything. After a couple of years, I began questioning where I was headed with that lifestyle. I tried to reverse its course but was unsuccessful.
After graduation and lacking direction, I spent the next year working first for a landscaper and then as a teaching assistant in a Long Island middle school. After the school year, I moved back to Western New York. I found a part-time job working on a dairy farm while taking a couple of courses in graduate school. On the dairy farm I met some “born-again” believers who were eager to tell me about the Lord Jesus Christ and His claims on my life.
Bob Beecher and his wife Mary were generous, kind people who opened their home and hearts to me. Bob and Cathy Caldwell were a young Christian couple in their early 20’s from California who had come east to attend Bible College. They were renting a trailer from the Beecher's. While I had been exposed to nominal Christianity many times throughout my life, I had never come in contact with the gospel nor its message of saving power until working on Bob Beecher’s dairy farm.
It was there one Saturday afternoon while tossing bales of hay onto a truck that Bob Caldwell engaged me in conversation. I explained to Bob that I wanted to learn more about the Bible and who Jesus Christ was. Bob quoted for me 1 Corinthians 2:14: “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, ... neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned.” They patiently explained that I did not need new knowledge; I needed new life! With that we ended our conversation for the day.
On Monday we spoke again over dinner in Bob and Cathy’s trailer where they explained to me the way of God more perfectly (Acts 18.26). They told me clearly how the Lord Jesus had given His life, that I, an undeserving rebel sinner, could be given new life (1 Peter 2.24). I drank the message in that night, and kneeling in the living room of that small trailer received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior.