Mike, Ron, and Debra
Mike was raised in a Jewish home, but he said, “I felt that there was so much more there, so much more that I wanted to know about God. There was just this deep longing in my soul that there was more to life.” Ron shared a similar background. “I was born into a Jewish family. My parents decided to send me to a boarding school, which started a journey of adapting to things that I was just not prepared to adapt to.” Debra grew up Jewish, too, but recalled, “I searched out Hinduism, Buddhism, transcendental meditation, chanting. I was disillusioned, just searching to know God.”
Their Journey Together
Mike and Ron were good friends. Mike would visit Ron from time to time when they were in college. They decided to drop out and go to California and “find themselves,” along with so many other Jewish men their age.
So, they travelled west, where they acquired twenty acres of land in southern Oregon. Mike was living his dream in the Pacific Northwest, but he was not satisfied. “I was more depressed, more discouraged than ever!” As a result, they decided to hitchhike to Mexico.
“Almost every ride we were getting were from these long-haired hippies (remember them?),” Mike said. They shared with the two friends about the Bible and Jesus.
Ron and Mike found themselves in Mendocino, California, standing on the Pacific Coast Highway. As Ron recalled, “A pickup truck pulls up about a hundred feet away from us. A guy gets out of the passenger side, comes right up to me, and says, ‘Do you know that Jesus loves you?’”
This was just the beginning of the road trip to end all road trips!
“On our way back from Mexico, we stopped in San Francisco, where Ron had introduced me to a girl,” Mike said. When Mike met Debra, he opened his heart and started sharing all that he was feeling. Debra believed that everything began with this conversation. “We talked about our hopes, our dreams, our fears,” she said. “We talked about our thoughts about God. We were amazed at how similar we were.” Something happened in Mike’s heart that weekend. “I was in love, and I had never experienced this incredible feeling before,” he said. “I knew that God had brought Debra into my life.”
Several months earlier, someone had given Mike a Bible. And as God was working in Mike’s heart, something was stirring in Ron’s soul. Ron bought a Bible from a local drugstore and opened it to the New Testament. Everything he read was very meaningful, and he was attracted to the person of Jesus. Simultaneously, Mike was also reading the New Testament and began feeling close to God. One night, while standing under the stars, Mike said, “God, if you and Jesus are the same, would show me that this is the right thing to do.”
Ron kept his Bible studies secret from Mike. Ron was also becoming increasingly overwhelmed with the good news of Messiah and could not stop reading about it! He walked up the hill behind their house, closed his eyes, and said, “‘God, if you’re there, if you’re real, I want to know.’ I opened my eyes and I just knew. I knew God was real.”
Mike told Ron what happened, and Ron could not believe it! “All this time, the truth was right in front of our noses,” Ron exclaimed. The next day, Mike told Ron that he had asked Jesus into his life, and then Ron told Mike that he had done the same.
“Jesus was the Messiah,” Mike said. “That prayer that I had asked God, ‘God show me that this is the right decision,’ I felt so secure and so satisfied,” he recalled. Ron was sensing God’s work in his life as well. “I was falling in love with Jesus who had every answer for every question that I had,” Ron confessed. “Jesus has become everything to me.”
A month later, Mike told Debra that he believed in Jesus. She was devastated!
Mike started reading Scripture to her and she eventually believed too. “Here I was, twenty years old, raised in New York City and never once had I heard or read anything from the New Testament,” Debra said. “I had no idea that Jesus was Jewish. I had no idea He claimed to be the Messiah my Jewish people were waiting for all of these years. I couldn’t deny the change I saw in Michael’s life.”
A few months later, Mike and Debra were married.
“God had a big cleanup job to do with us, being two drug-using hippies,” Debra said. “But He did an amazing job. He taught us how to be responsible, which was no easy task for two very irresponsible hippies. And over the years, we had two children and raised them to know the Lord. Everything I always wanted as a little girl in my home, God has blessed me with in my own family.”
Ron got married, too, and he and Roxanne had four boys! Then Mike and Ron started a lighting company together. The two Jewish men from Queens, New York, are best friends to this day. Yeshua brought them together but deepened their friendship when they accepted Him as their Messiah. Ron, Debra, and Mike became examples of hope and peace for their families, hundreds of employees, and many others whose lives they touched together and as individuals throughout the years.
You can watch their full stories and many others at ifoundshalom.com.