How a Jewish kid with an Irish name found his Messiah – Ron Mcdevitt’s story
Hi, my name is Ron Mcdevitt. I’m a Jewish believer in Jesus Christ. I was born in New York City. My mother and father are both Jewish. My father’s family was living in Vienna when the Nazis marched in. They took their house and they had like a coffee shop and they [the Nazis] Nazis took all that and they took a small theater. They took basically all their possessions away from them. And my father’s oldest sister, my aunt, was already living in New York, and she was trying to get a visa for my grandfather, grandmother, my dad and other family members. And my grandmother got scared, and she heard it was safer over in France, so she took off and went to Paris, France. My father was able to do the visa. He was very young and, as my mother tells me, was standing in a line for about four days just to get out of there, and the Hitler Youth were coming in and pulling people out of the line and putting them on the back of trucks. But fortunately, he was able to get out but my grandmother — she went to Paris. She had some jewelry that she gave to a French lady for safekeeping, and the French lady turned her in. My grandmother was sent off to Auschwitz and she was later gassed and cremated. I’m glad my father got out because I wouldn’t be here.
But my mother and father got divorced, unfortunately, when I was very young, and they broke up. I had a tough childhood growing up in Queens, and my stepfather ended up changing my name from Neumann to McDevitt. And here I was, my older brother and myself, two Jewish kids in Queens, New York, running around with Irish last names, and that was kind of awkward, I knew there was a God but I didn’t really totally understand much about him. I believed in Him, but I was really stupid growing up. I used to say, “If hell’s as much fun getting there, I’ll have a swinging time.” 17 years old, I joined the army, and when I was 18, I went to Vietnam. Then, when I was 21 years old, I was working for a guy at Sears. He was a Christian — a strong Christian — and he started witnessing to me and came out to my apartment one night and shared the gospel with me about Jesus Christ being the Messiah and being the Savior. And that was just exciting news, and it all made sense to me. Everything made sense to me. So… I wouldn’t make a decision right then when they were there. I wouldn’t pray with them. I wanted to think about it some more. And that night, I went to bed and I thought about it and it all made sense to me. And I remember praying and asking the Lord Jesus Christ to be my personal Savior and to forgive me for all my sins and to be my Messiah. And you know what? I got saved. And it was the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. I mean, my life was changed. That was like a whole new beginning. And I remember driving down the street the next day and looking at the trees, and noticing how the leaves of the trees even looked greener and the sky looked brighter — and I don’t think it was any more of a sunny day than it was the day before to look back on it now. But I believe a veil was lifted off me. I was living in darkness. I didn’t know the Lord, but when I received Jesus Christ, everything became new, just like the Bible says.
And then not long after that — I lived in Central Florida and the East Coast — I went to Disney World. And Disney World’s a big place. And I got in line, and I thought I was the only Jewish guy in the world that believed in Jesus Christ. And I got in line and right in front of me was six or seven guys with Jews for Jesus T-shirts on. So I start talking with them, and they were encouraging. In fact, they were a great bunch of guys. I’ll never forget that. Then, back this past summer, I went to New York, and it was at some training there in the Manhattan branch of Jews for Jesus. Jhan Moskowitz, who was the director of North American Missions, just happened to be in in the city that day — he wasn’t travelling. And he came over and held a talk and it was great. And I remember asking him at the end — because I heard he was one of the original founders of Jews for Jesus — and asked him, I said, “Who were those group of guys that were down near Disney World around 1975?” I said I remember talking to them, and I explained to him what happened. I said, “One guy had a big thick head of black hair.” And he said, “That was me.” So we started talking and it’s just amazing. I mean, he pulled out his picture, and after all these years — you know, 1975 to now — and then we would connect. But the connection is amazing to me — first of all, why God had me go over to Disney World the same day that they would be at Disney World and, as big as Disney World is, end up in line right behind them; and it was the encouragement that I needed that’s helped me throughout my life.
Since that time, I’ve been serving the Lord and doing my best to win as many people for Jesus Christ. Now I’m involved with Jews for Jesus. I’m a voluntary missionary. And I love the Jews for Jesus ministry and what it’s all about. My mom’s gotten saved, and she loves the Lord. It has taken many years. It took her 25 years to receive Jesus Christ as her Savior and as the Messiah. My younger brother has gotten saved. And I’m just really excited — well I’m excited about what God is doing in the Jews for Jesus ministry and I’m so thankful that those Christians cared enough about my soul and came and talked to me about Jesus. And now I know for sure I’m going to heaven when I die. Thank you.