A Good Neighbor
Can you speak with our Jewish neighbor? I think she’s prayed to receive Jesus,” said Mrs. Colombo over the phone.
“Did she pray with you?” I asked.
“Yes, or at least I think so. But she doesn’t speak much English, so I don’t know if she understood what she was praying.”
Mrs. Colombo lives next door to Fanny, an elderly woman from Argentina. Fanny had become friends with the Colombo family. Mrs. Colombo didn’t really speak Spanish but had tried to tell her friend about Jesus anyway. Fanny always smiled, said, “You are all wonderful people!” and then smiled again. But Fanny always welcomed Mrs. Colombo’s prayers.
When I arrived at Fanny’s apartment, Mrs. Colombo introduced us. She had brought another woman to translate the conversation into Spanish. Fanny beamed, “You are all wonderful people.”
“Now, Fanny,” Mrs. Columbo explained, “this is my friend Stan Meyer. He’s also Jewish. He believes in Jesus. He’s with an organization called Jews for Jesus.”
Fanny’s smile disappeared. She looked at me purposefully and said, “I love God. And we all worship the same God. It doesn’t matter who you are as long as you love God.” Apparently she had not understood what she’d prayed with Mrs. Colombo the previous week.
Mrs. Colombo’s friend translated as I tried to explain the gospel. But Fanny just said, “You love God and that is very good. We all worship the same God.” I decided to wrap things up for the time being.
The next week, I dropped in on Fanny. Her housekeeper was there and helped with translation. Fanny leaned over and said to me in English, “I like you. You understand because you are also a Jew. No matter what you believe about Jesus. The others, they are the goyim, and they don’t understand.” I was quite taken aback. “Jesus,” she continued, “was a good rabbi. But people didn’t listen to Him, and He had ideas they didn’t like. So they killed Him. God didn’t like that.”
“Fanny, He also claimed to be the Messiah.”
“Well, maybe He was,” she replied. “I think He could have been.” We spoke for a few minutes, and I offered to pray for her. “Please pray for my daughter,” she requested. She showed me her daughter’s picture. “This is my daughter’s husband. He left her.” She began to cry. “People are evil,” she declared, “just evil.” I prayed with Fanny and promised to come back the next time I was in the area.
A few weeks later I dropped by to see how Fanny was doing. As we spoke about the Bible, she said, “God is very good. He is so pure. And so is His Law. But people, their hearts are not so pure.”
“All people Fanny?”
“Yes, even me. The heart is wicked.”
“Fanny you are right. We cannot keep God’s Law. Our hearts are indeed wicked. We need help.”
“Yes, that is so true,” she replied.
“And do you know how we find forgiveness?”
“You cannot simply pray, you need a sacrifice.” As we discussed the gospel, I was surprised at how much Fanny had absorbed from her neighbors, the Colombos, after all. She was not quite ready to commit her heart to Christ, but she was much more open than I could have guessed from our first encounter. She has been blessed with a caring neighbor who shared her faith despite all the obstacles. Please keep Fanny in prayer as I continue to meet with her.
Stan Meyer is a missionary at the Phoenix branch of Jews for Jesus. Stan received his theological training at Fuller Theological Seminary. Stan and his late wife adopted their daughter, Carrie-Fu, from China in 2005. Stan married Jacqui Hops, a Jewish believer in Jesus, in August 2014.