Part One of a three part story:
Susan Perlman initially reported from San Francisco, “Cynthia’s New York City apartment was filled with fine oil paintings. Her love of art was also apparent in the clothes and accessories she wore. And classy? In her day she had entertained the “who’s who” of New York society. I saw photos of presidents and other dignitaries all around the apartment! As we chatted it was clear that she was still very sharp and very spunky. Oh, by the way, Cynthia is 100 years old!
“‘So you know I came all the way across the country just to see you?’” I said.
“‘Really?’ she replied.
“‘Yes, I have an important message to give you. You know your friend Lisa really loves you and she wants the best for you, Cynthia.’ Cynthia nodded. ‘She wanted us to meet because while I’m Jewish like you, I happen to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. What do you think of that?”
“Cynthia said, ‘That’s fine.’ She was being polite. But would she hear more? I asked, ‘Can I tell you some of my story about why I believe what I believe?’
“‘Sure,’ she answered. Cynthia had no problem speaking her mind. Had she not wanted to hear, the conversation would have ended right there. But it didn’t. So I told her how decades ago, a Christian challenged me to read the Bible. And I recited the verse from the prophet Isaiah that had spoken to me: ‘All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned each one to his own way and the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all’ (Isaiah 53:6).
“‘That is remarkable!’ Cynthia said, her eyes opened wide. I asked if she thought the prophet might have been describing Jesus. She replied that she thought it possible. It was a beautiful opportunity to explain the gospel to her. After that, I gave Cynthia my testimony booklet, Loss to Life, and showed her the section with several verses that explain how to have eternal life through Jesus. She wasn’t ready to take that step, nor did I expect her to—but she agreed to keep meeting with me on FaceTime (ah the joys of modern technology).
“I had brought her a little Hanukkah gift: two coloring books that I ‘wrote’ (and another Jewish believer in Jesus illustrated). One features Messianic prophecies, the other, the names of God. I hope that these Scripture-based gifts will also speak to her heart.
“I left the visit convinced that more than a seed was sown. Pray with me that Cynthia comes to know Jesus soon. I hope to keep up with her across the miles, but as far as sitting down together, at her age, ours might have been a once in a lifetime visit, in more ways than one."
Part Two: Good News!
We are so happy to include you in celebrating the good news: Cynthia prayed to receive Yeshua (Jesus) as her Messiah just weeks before her 101st birthday!
Lisa, Cynthia’s dear friend and goddaughter, was the one to pray with her over the phone for salvation. Lisa then called Susan to tell her the good news. Susan, overjoyed, called Cynthia to hear what had happened firsthand. Susan also received permission to invite Shoshanah (one of our New York staff) to call Cynthia and arrange to see her in person. Shoshanah set up an appointment right away to begin studying the Bible with this brand-new believer!
This story is yet another reminder that God’s work is teamwork! Thanks for being with us on Team Jesus, and thanks for being part of Cynthia’s story through your prayers. Please pray for her to continue to grow in grace and faith during whatever time she remains here. And rejoice with us that she will be in God’s presence forever and ever!
Part Three: Nine months later
Nine months ago, we reported that Cynthia had prayed to receive Jesus and was open to meeting with one of our local staff. Shoshannah Weinisch reported, “Meeting with Cynthia has been one of the highlights of my ministry with Jews for Jesus. We met several times, and I remember how she laughed with delight when I told her that in heaven she would have a new body and would be able to dance again.
“Right before I left on my Passover tour, I brought some grape juice and matzah to Cynthia. I explained what Jesus was doing at Passover when He talked about the cup and the bread as His blood and His body sacrificed for our sin. I told her that those who believe this message remember what Jesus did by taking the bread and the cup with other believers, and I asked if she would like to do that with me. I said a few words of thanksgiving for what Jesus did, and we ate and drank together. Afterwards she patted her heart and said, ‘He took away all my anger.’”
And so Cynthia had her first and last communion with Shoshannah.
Her physical health began to deteriorate fairly quickly after that, but when Shoshannah sang traditional Jewish songs to her, Cynthia found the strength to mouth the words. And when Shoshannah told her that she didn’t have to be afraid, that Jesus was waiting to welcome her into heaven with open arms, Cynthia answered, “Thank you, that’s so wonderful,” over and over.
Shoshannah was with Cynthia the day she died, and she also attended the funeral.
Cynthia was not survived by any family that we know of, but through Jesus she is now part of God’s family and rejoicing in His presence. We are so very grateful to Lisa, the Christian friend from Dallas who invited us to be part of Cynthia’s journey to faith.
*Names are changed to protect privacy.