I was a new believer when I began attending the Jews for Jesus Bible study in San Francisco in 1983. Each week, about twenty minutes into the study, an elderly woman carrying a white shopping bag would shuffle her way to a front row seat. It was not uncommon to hear her amens,” or the soft rumble of her gentle snoring. If I were to judge a book by its cover, I would have labeled her as a little, old bag lady. But soon I discovered that this little lady was a Jewish believer in Jesus, who had known Him for more than 40 years and was more than able to teach me a few things.
Hazel Stone, affectionately known as “Babe,” taught me a great deal about life in the Lord as we rode taxis, waited for buses and enjoyed sweet fellowship. The hours that we spent together eventually earned me the right to call her “Grandma.”
Babe had the ability to turn casual conversations toward spiritual matters, but she also had had a public ministry when she was young. She had been ordained into ministry on November 8, 1942 when she began holding revival meetings from New York to California. She had a weekly radio show on San Francisco’s KFAX, and her paper bag was always equipped with gospel tracts, which she called “ammunition.”
Babe lived in a small room in a run-down section of San Francisco. Yet, when she passed away, she left a substantial amount of money to various people, Jewish organizations and ministries. She was generous with Jews for Jesus. A scholarship fund was set up in her memory, for Jewish women who believe in Jesus and are pursuing training for a career in evangelism. I can see Babe smiling from the heavens as she sees the work of Jesus being carried on through these recipients. I only wish they, too, had the privilege of knowing her the way I did.
For more information about the Hazel Stone Scholarship, write to Ruth Rosen at: 60 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, (415) 864-2600.