The Barb Samberg Lucas Story:
Profession: EMS trauma Nurse and paramedic
High School: Graduated from North Central High School, 1974
Synagogue of youth: Beth-El Zedek Congregation, Conservative (Today it is Reconstructionist)
Professional Training: Accelerated nursing program, degree in 1976. Worked at Riley Childrens Hospital, Indianapolis, in the New Natal Intensive Care Unit and later at Wishard Hospital taking care of the indigent sick and injured who could not afford care, and I also took care of prisoners.
Married: 1984, to Ray Lucas
My passion: To provide compassionate competent medical assistance to those in need.
Quote from Barb: "I loved taking care of others. I felt as if I had been given this calling from God. There is nothing like taking care of others, and making them better, especially on the ambulance. I was their 'boss-doctor' on the street, and helping them was a blessing to me."
Jon Lieberman meets Barb: "I met Barb in 1981 and have been very impressed with her faithfulness to God in spite of experiencing much physical suffering over the years. I received a written testimony from her and also interviewed her in 1999. Everything began to change in her life when she received a very unusual phone call from a complete stranger the very night before she was scheduled for major surgery. Listen with an open heart as Barb shares later about "that phone call." Her story begins with an interview in which Barb explains her childhood attitudes about God, Judaism, gentiles, and religion in general. The testimony concludes with some rather extraordinary events that challenged her to reconsider those views."
Transcribed testimony from the audio taped interview, 2/16/99:
J: Did you date non-Jewish guys?
Yes. I was the black sheep of the family. You didnt bring the gentiles home. Every time I brought a Jewish boy home, immediately they became husband material! Is he going to be a doctor or lawyer?
J: All your parent's friends Jewish? All Jewish-Jewish?
B: Oh yeah. It was a tight knit Jewish community. We lived in a small neighborhood of three streetsHoover Dr., Forest View and Hazelwood. They were all Jews. Rabbi Solomon, who prepared me for my Bat Mitzvah, lived on Hoover Drive. My Aunt lived there. That Rabbi used to scare me to death. He had this long beard, peos, Tzizits. Everyday after school when I would go for studies he just terrified me. I never found a real Rabbi that I could trust and be close to until I became a Messianic Jewish. Those other Rabbis were all so distant.
J: Where are your parents from?
B: Moms maiden name was Becker. She grew up in Indy. My dad was from New York. His parents were from Poland. My moms parents came from Russia. Most family was lost in the holocaust. The tradition goes that my Great Grandfather had built a large storage cabinet in home and when the Bolshevik army came through, they would all hide there.
J: Did your mom ever say anything derogatory about gentiles or bad experiences they had with them?
B: No. You just have to accept that a goyim would say or do a certain thing. Mother is the most open minded, sweet openhearted person in the world who was open to anyone. But if anything went wrong or you would see something you didnt understand among the gentiles, she would usually say, "Thats just the way the goyim do it. The gentiles are like that." Mom had a very lovely catholic lady that she worked with at the Board of Health and she would always ask mom and my Aunt Rosie to pray for her. When she heard that one of us kids were sick, the catholic woman would tell mom, "Ill light a candle." It got to the point where mom would say, "When you go to church, if you dont mind, if you remember, light a candle for me." My mother didnt believe it, but would still ask her catholic friend to light a candle for her.
J: That was superstitious.
B: I think so. Mom was very traditional. Maybe mom thought God was a catholic God? Who knows?
J: What was your first contact with Christianity?
B: My best fiend, Bonnie, was a catholic. I remember as a kid on Sundays, going to catechism with her. I would sleep overnight and my parents didnt always know I went to church. But at times, I would come home and ask mom questions about what the Church taught. Mom said, "You dont listen to that priest. They pray to Jesus. You dont need to pray to Jesus. You pray to God." I was 9-10 years old at that time.
J: Who did you think Jesus was?
B: We knew that Jesus existed. He was a teacher. He was always gentile. My parents and the rabbi never brought up his Jewish background. You knew that Jesus was born a Jew but that is as far as it went. Born of a Jewish woman. It was never explained how he got on the side of the goyim. All we knew was that he was for the goyim. Jesus was always used as a cuss word when someone was upset and something went wrong.
J: Did you have any concept of the resurrection?
B: Jesus was just an historical figure. I would go to church with my best friend and I would see Jesus hanging on the cross. I would ask mom why Jesus was hanging on the cross. When I would ask questions about the resurrection, mom and dad would say, "Thats just how the goyim believe." Thats wrong. You dont pray to Jesus. The goyim do that."
B: Sunday was nothing in my house. Thus, it was ok to stay over Bonnie's home. I did this until I was 16-went to church with her.
J: Did she ever try and convert you and say you needed to believe in Jesus?
B: No, I just went to church with her. And she always used to say that Catholic nuns and priests were hypocrites, but she never knew why. You went to Church on holidays and did what you wanted to the rest of the time.
J: Did your parents ever sit down with you and say, "this is what we Jews believe and why."
B: No. They always said that there is no reason to pray to Jesus, that we are Jewish and pray directly to God. She emphasized that we are Gods chosen people. When I would ask, "Why are we Gods chosen people, no one would ever have an answer for that." Mom would say that were different, special, just born different and that is all you need to know. If a Jew did believe in Jesus, then they were an outcast. At that time, it just wasnt even a possibility for a Jew to believe in Jesus.
J: Did you know what the New Testament was all about?
B: No. No idea! As far as I knew the NT was the gentile Bible. We had the Jewish Bible which was the Torah. Thats it. No Prophets, Psalms. The Rabbis were very smart men, who knew how to pray and prophesy. There was not necessarily any connection between God and Moses. They were just smart men.
J: Was there a time when you stopped believing in God?
B: I rebelled. All through my teens. The only reason I went to Temple was because I knew that during the holidays I would get a new outfit! And it was exciting because I got new clothes. I got a reason to get out of school and go and show off my new outfit. All my friends were also like that. They would say, "Oh, Debbie--neat outfit. Rhonda- you look great." That is what Judaism was. Boring service. You also knew at the end of Yom Kippur you got Orange juice. I looked forward to that!
J: What was your concept of sin, needing atonement, forgiveness? What about the Book of Life?
B: We fasted in our house. It was more fear than anything was. I was afraid not to go to Temple because I wanted to make sure my name was written in the Book of Life. I was more afraid that I would die because I didnt go to temple. It is not that I believed or understood what they were teaching. I didnt want to be a bad Jew. I had to pay my dues. And I thought I was a martyr because I fasted for 24 whole hours. I wasnt fasting for atonement. I fasted so I could tell everyone that I fasted and then I would ask him or her if they fasted. I just wanted to be a good Jew. It had nothing to do with atonement.
J: You got away from it altogether in your teens?
B: I was around 20 when I started questioning. (I had been diagnosed with cancer at age 19). When I turned 21 everything changed for me. It was the night I got "the phone call."
J: And what was the phone call?
B: I was working at Riley Childrens Hospital in the New Natal Intensive Care Unit. After graduating from North Central High School in 1974, I had gone through the accelerated nursing program receiving my degree in 1976. It was the night before I was going into the hospital for surgery. I had breast cancer and my chemotherapy treatments had not worked to send this cancer into remission. Thus, I had to go in for a double mastectomy. I was only 19 years old when they found these tumors! Thats when I started questioning whether or not God was really there. Why am I going through it? I had a martyr complex and said, "Id rather it be me than my mother or sister." As far as praying, my plea to God was, "God, dont let me die." On January 3, 1978, the night before the great blizzard, my phone rang. I lived with my parents and had my own unlisted phone.
I picked up the phone and this woman said, "My name is Jan Ellis. Do you have a few minutes to talk? I said, "Well, I guess so." She said, "I got your name and number from this man and he told me to call you. I said, "Ive never heard of this person. Who is he?" Jan said, "I dont know, Ive never met him before and when I asked him how he got your number, he said, Its not important, just call her and then he hung up the phone. I said, "Ok, Jan, so what do you want?"
Why was this woman calling me, I thought?
She said, Id like to talk to you a little bit about Jesus. I immediately said, "Youre not one of those kind of people?" She said, "What do you mean?" I said, "Are you one of those Jews for Jesus freaks?" I had heard about Jews for Jesus and I thought they were a cult. She said, "Yes, I am a Jew and yes I am for Jesus, but I am not a part of the Jews for Jesus organization." I said, "Look, what is it that you want from me?" She said, "That man sure sounded like he knew you personally and knew all about you." I said, "Jan, you must have the wrong person because I have never heard about this man before."
I said, "I dont want to hear anything about Jesus. Thats sacrilegious and as far as I am concerned all that you are talking about is blasphemy." Jan said, "Let me explain to you a little bit about it." She then proceeded to explain her beliefs to me for about an hour. I listened half-heartedly. I thought, "This woman is a nut, an absolute nut." I said, "Thats wonderful for you, the way you believe. But you cant be a Jew and believe in Jesus. You are speaking against God. I really dont have time for this and dont want to hear anymore about this. I am going into the hospital tomorrow for surgery."
I arrive at the hospital for surgery and that woman, Jan, was already there waiting for me! She had this incredible smile.
She said, "May I ask you what type of surgery are you going in for? I was just a kid and terrified about this operation. I told her I was going to have a double mastectomy. The next words out of her mouth were: "Praise the Lord" and I went, "Excuse me. Why are you praising God because I have to have a mastectomy?" I was furious. Then she said, "No honey, please dont get upset, Im not saying that because you are sick and have to have that surgery, but I am saying that because I just had a mastectomy myself." "Oh!" I thought, "something is going on here. Maybe I should just stop and listen." Jan then said, "Lets pray." I said, "No, we are not starting this, Im not getting into this." She said, "I would feel better if I did say a prayer for you." I said, "Go ahead. If you want to be a nut and pray." I said after the prayer, "Are we done now?" She wanted to visit me at the hospital, but I told her that I really didnt want her to come. I was still at that age where if I didnt have all of my makeup on, no one was going to see me. I told her that I would be at Methodist Hospital when she asked me what hospital I was going to.
I had been dating the doctor who had diagnosed me with the cancer and he picked me up to go to the hospital. That was when the blizzard of 78 hit. We are in a corvette and the vet was so low to the ground that we got stuck and only got as far as Westview Hospital and couldn't get any further and so he admitted me there. Jan didnt know this. After going through admissions, I remember walking down the hall to my room and way down at the end of the hall I saw this woman standing there with the most incredible smile that I had ever seen. She was glowing like no one I had ever seen before. I thought, "I bet she is a very nice person." Thats what went through my mind.
Jan came right up to me and said, "God bless you Barb." I said, who are you?" and she said, "Im Jan Ellis". I said, "How did you know that I was here?" She then said something that just blew me away. She said, "The Holy Spirit told me." And I went "Oh, Lord, I dont need this now. Not only is she a nut case, but she also hears voices." This woman had driven all the way from Greenwood in a blizzard. First of all it was remarkable that she could even know what hospital I might be going to.
She said, "Let's pray before surgery. Would you mind if I lay hands on you? I said, "What? What are you talking about?" At this point I started to walk away from her. She said, "I just want to touch you and hold your hand." At this point, I was ready to do anything to get her away from me." So she prayed in the name of Yeshua. We finished the prayer and I said, "I must get ready for surgery now." My surgery lasted for 12 hours. When I got in the recovery room and woke up, My parents were there. All my relatives were around the bed. I said to mom when I woke up, "Am I in heaven, am I dead?" because everyone was around me. Mom started laughing and told me that I would be fine.
Jan was sitting there at my bedside still praying over me. She was sitting there with this most beautiful smile on her face and tears coming out of her eyes. It was like she was invisible to my family. I thought, "That woman is still here. How am I going to get rid of this nut?"
Everyone eventually left because of the bad weather. I then fell back sleep since I was on heavy medication and later when I opened my eyes; she was still standing there! I said, "What do you want from me?" She said, "Sweetheart, I dont want anything from you. It is the Lord that wants from something from you, not me." I said, "Why dont you go home? Why are you here?" She said, "The Lord told me that I needed to come." I said, "Oh good, now you talk to God." "I talk to him all the time," Jan said. I thought, "Im on some heavy duty medicine, maybe she is too!"
I decided that I would just appease this woman; otherwise I would never get rid of her. She said, "Can I pray with you?" I said, "Are you done now?" She said, "Yes." I then said, "Would you mind going home for now?" "Ok, but would you mind if I called tomorrow?" I said, "Ok, go now."
I had 25 surgeries over the next 2 years
Over the next two years I went through 25 surgeries and Jan never missed one of them. She was at my bedside every time. For the next two years, almost everyday, she was either on the phone with me or at my bedside. This woman herself was dying from cancer. She started with breast cancer. It then metastasized and went to her spine. She developed peritonitis and had severe crippling rheumatoid arthritis. Both legs were at one time in braces, and yet she was still praising God. I told her she was crazy. I said, "Look at you. How can you praise God? You have cancer, a hole in your heart, and you know that you are going to die. How in the world can you say, Praise God." She said, "Oh sweetheart, it is not God that did this to me." She tried to explain it to me as well as she could, but I still never understood it but pretended like I did because she was in my mind a nut case. Well, I made it through my surgery. It got to the point where Jan became a member of the family. We loved her dearly, but looked at her like a crazy aunt. She had shared also with mom and dad and anyone who walked into my room.
I think my mom was glad she was there because it was during the blizzard and mom knew that someone was always there if mom couldnt visit. We knew that she was a crazy person. She believed in Jesus. We just put up with her. I was in the hospital for two weeks and then developed a severe infection. Jan got to know my family well. She was so sweet that you couldnt help but love her. The smile like you wouldnt believe. And she had this trademark introduction to every conversation: "Hi therePraise Jesus."
Jan still is loving me through all of my suffering. She invites me to an event that will forever change my view of God.
In 1982 Jan told me about this national Walk For Jesus being held in Washington D.C. where they expected hundreds of thousands of participants. Jan invited me to go with all of these crazy people and I didnt want to go. I said, "Mom, what should I tell her?" Mom said, "She has been so nice to you, how can you say no to her? Youll go and keep your mouth shut and not say anything and it will be an experience, and then youll forget about it and have done a mitzvah for her." Given her own medical condition, Jan had not wanted to go by herself. Jan paid the way and I left for Washington with her.
I think that I am starting to believe in the supernatural
Five buses left from her church. Somehow we ended up on the last bus following the others and headed out on the interstate. Later on during the trip, we noticed that our bus was weaving back and forth on the highway. The driver had no control over the bus. I looked up and we were no longer following the other buses. We had missed our turn and I heard people whispering that we should pray because the bus driver was possibly drunk. Jan then looked at me and said, "Are you ready to see miracles?" I said, "Yeah, right. The miracle is if we dont get killed." Jan said, "You just watch." Jan just smiled and I said, "We are on a bus going nowhere because we missed our exit. We have a drunken bus driver and Im on this bus with a bunch of crazy people praising God and you tell me to just hold on!"
The next thing I knew was that the bus driver had pulled to the side of the road and there was nothing there but a cornfield. He got off the bus and walked directly into the cornfield. Another man came out of the cornfield, got on the bus, and started driving us. Jan looked at me and said, "Thats one." And I said, "Thats one what?" She said, "Miracle." I said, "Well.that was probably planned ahead of time and he had a CB radio." She said, "In a corn field." I said, "Maybe there was a road on the other side" Jan said, "OK, just keep watching."
I looked outside the bus window and right there out of nowhere in the middle of the clear blue sky I saw this gorgeous illuminated cross!
As we continued the trip I decided to close my eyes and try and get some sleep. The next thing I know, Jan nudged me and told me to quickly look out the window. I then looked up and right in the middle of the sky, in the middle of nowhere, there was this most gorgeous illuminated cross. No buildingjust a cross in the sky. There were no stars or cloud formations just a clear blue sky. Jan looked at me and pointed to the cross and said, "Thats number 2!" I said, "yeah right." I couldnt, however, dismiss this. It was as clear as a rainbow!
We finally caught up with the rest of the group and we arrived at the hotel. Jan and I had a third roommate, a 90-yr. Old woman named Virginia. In the hotel room Virginia introduced herself and said to Jan, "Lets pray. We have to anoint this room."
Now I am hearing words Ive never heard before. "What the heck does anoint mean?" I quickly said.
She then proceeded to call on the blood of Jesus and the name of Jesus, and Im thinking that she is calling on literal blood. I thought that this was some type of occult activity and that they were next going to cut a chickens head off. I wanted to call mom and ask her to send me right away an airplane ticket so that I could come home. I had come down with a headache and told them that I would stay in the hotel. They prayed and then left.
When Virginia returned she told me to turn the TV off, calling it a sinful thing. Ive just come 18 hours and I'm in a feisty tone. I said, "There is nothing sinful about this!" She said, "Yes, you will turn this off." Jan told me to respect my elders, who in this case was a 90-year-old woman. She and Jan told me about the speakers and the times of prayer they had. Virginia then for some reason looked directly at me and said, "You are saved, arent you?" I said, "Saved from what?" She said, "Saved, as in going to heaven." I said, "I dont know what youre talking about but, sure, I am going to heaven." She said, "Do you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior?" "Well, to be honest, mam, no, I dont; Im Jewish." She said, "So was Jesus. So now give me your next excuse." I said, "I dont need an excuse."
Now my defenses were up. She said, "You had better come up with a good one if you plan to sleep in this room with me." I said, "Then you better plan on going outside." She said, "It isnt going to be me who is sleeping outside." Jan sat back just observing this whole dialogue and was just laughing through this whole thing. I kept looking at Jan, signaling for her to help me and Jan just continued to laugh. Jan said, "Youre on your own."
Virginia told me to get on my knees and I said, "Excuse me" and she repeated herself. "Im not getting on my knees" "Yes you will!"
An invisible-like spiritual force pushed me down on my knees
It was then, without anyone touching me that some invisible-like spiritual force pushed me down on my knees. Jan and Virginia came over and started laying hands on me. Im freaking out by now. They start talking in different languages! I sat there quietly. I was in a dilemma. I didnt know if I should lie and say that I believe, just to get them off my back. On the other hand, I didnt want to lie.
All of a sudden I came off my knees, stood up, and started speaking in a language I never learned. Jan looked at me and said, "Number three; that's it, game over." She said, "Now, do you believe." I said, "Yes! I believe." I sat there amazed that I was speaking in a language that was coming out of my mouth and I had never heard or spoken it in my life. That night I accepted Him. I dont know if I fully believed everything they did about Jesus at that very moment, but I knew something supernatural had happened in my life and it was connected with Jesus. I know that these people were genuine. You couldnt help but like these people.
I read right there in my Jewish Bible the most amazing prediction about Jesus in Isaiah Chapter 53.
Jan said to Virginia, "I want to have Barb read Isaiah 53. That passage convinced me that Jesus was the Messiah. I read that passage. My parents always taught me when Jan talked to them that the Isaiah 53 passage was talking about Israel as the suffering servant. One time Jan asked my mom to get a Bible and she said, "We dont have a Bible." That was Jans introduction to Judaism in Indianapolis! "We have the Torah," my parents said. Jan said, " How can you say that you believe in God and you dont even have or study Gods Word in the home?"
My mother later goes to Rabbi Steinman with some questions
My parents looked at each other with this surprised expression and Jan proceeded to open up the Bible to Isaiah 53. They had gone to Rabbi Steinman and after talking to him my mother came back to me and said that that passage means nothing more than the nation of Israel. I then knew that I needed to study my Jewish Bible more because the rabbis had not shared the whole truth with we young Jewish kids.
Well the next day, by the time we got through breakfast, 1500 people had heard the story of how the little Jewish girl from Indianapolis had been on her knees and came up speaking in another language. And everybody was praising the Lord. It had been a long weekend and I was now ready to get home.
I started talking to the bus driver because I thought I could have a non-religious conversation with him. He then turned around at a red light and said to me, "I got saved this weekend how about you?" Jan looked at me and said, "Number 4." How many more do you need?" I said, "I guess I believe, but I dont know for sure if I believe." She said, "You will by the time we get home."
Soon after going down the highway I heard the bus go "thump, thump." We had a flat tire. We pulled over to the side. All the men surrounded the bus and started praying. And the tire re-inflated! Jan, said, "Number 5." How many more signs do you need before you stop doubting. I said, "I think that one will pretty well did it for me!"
No doubts any more about my Messiah, Yeshua
By the time I got home 18 hours later I was absolutely sure, beyond a doubt, that Jesus was my Lord and Savior. So then I thought, now what shall I do? I had to tell mom and dad. Im all excited to tell mom about all these miracles and I even started speaking in tongues. Mom said to me, "Its all hysteria."
I called Jan and said, "Mom doesnt believe me." She said, "Barb, would you have believed if I had told you all of that?" I said, "No!" She said, "Dont worry, in time they will come around."
Jan begins to share the Messiah with my parents
Everything was status quo for a while. Jan kept coming over and would share the Bible with my parents. This was the first time mom and dad had ever been witnessed to before. They had never heard of Jews for Jesus. They just thought that Jan was a sweet little Jewish lady and that was how we all were to treat her. So my father said to me, "You can believe anyway you want, but I dont want to ever hear the name, Jesus, come out of your mouth and Number two, I don't ever what to see a cross in your room. This is my house and you will abide by it."
The next day Jan and I were going to a local Christian bookstore and I saw the prettiest poster with these gorgeous trees and as the sun shone through the trees it appeared like a shining cross. I wondered how I could put this up since my father said I couldnt have any pictures with crosses on them. I mentioned this to Jan. She said, "Thats ok, all we have to do is pray over it. Just trust me." We went back to the house and hung it up and all you could see was this big cross. She said, "Oh, Lord God, when Barbs dad sees this picture, dont let him see the cross, but only the beauty and feel what it is supposed to be about." I said, "Amen" thinking, yeah, sure, Im the one who has to live with my dad."
As she left the home she turned to my dad and said, "Al, go look in Barbs room and see her new pretty posters." My parents walked in and looked at the picture and said that is was the most beautiful thing they had ever seen. Look how the sun is shining through the trees. Thats pretty enough to frame and hang. My mouth just dropped open!
Jan was the most giving person I had ever witnessed in my life. On Sundays she would drive 25 miles from Greenwood south of Indianapolis to pick me up at my north side home. Then we would drive back to the church on the southside. After the service she drove me back home and then drove back to her home in Greenwood! One night in the middle of winter her heater and defroster went out and the whole window froze up. We couldnt see at all. We were freezing. I said, "Jan, what do we do?" She said, "Pray." "We need to be realistic," I said. Jan started praying in tongues. The more she is praying, the more I saw this little dot growing on the window until finally the window was cleared. Nothing still worked but there was this perfect circle. When we arrived at the Church they all gathered around the car and prayed. Everything then worked properly.
We didnt always see dramatic answers to prayer but Jan taught me how to believe God for the impossible. This went on for several years. We were absolutely inseparable.
Jan even helped to lead, Ray, my future husband, to the Lord. She was almost like a mom to me. She told Ray that he was not to marry Barb until he got saved and accepted Jesus as Lord and get baptized. He was catholic.
Jan and I get baptized together, New Years Eve
Jan and I even got baptized together News Year Eve in 1981. Ray had started coming to Church and the next Christmas Eve, December 1983, he was baptized. I was married in October of 1984.
I had met Jan in 1978. For the next few years I knew of no other Jewish believers. Later that year I would meet Jon Lieberman. Jon was one of the first Messianic Jews in Indianapolis who grew up in the 60's and was a "seeker."
Jan's cancer returns. I am about to lose the most dear friend in the world.
In 1985 Jans cancer came back and it metastasized up her spine and into her brain. I was sure God would work a miracle. Hadnt he done it so many times before?
I got angry with God immediately. She had had one breast removed at this time. The doctor had to remove the other breast. She came out of the radical mastectomy surgery. In that surgery they have to take all of the muscles out of your chest and arm and it is almost impossible to use that arm until you are healed. Jan remarkably had her arms above her head praising God! I was crying for her and she had her arms up in the air. The love of God was evident in her life.
Soon after the surgery, one day, I get a call from her 17 year old daughter, Tammy, and she told me that her mom had taken a turn for the worse and is in hospice at St. Vincent Hospital and that she was asking for me.
I have never see anyone die with such grace and peace in my life. Jan was truly an angel sent from God.
I went there right away and walked in the door. She had this beautiful smile and the first words out of her mouth were "Hi there!" Im thinking that this woman is absolutely incredible. Im crying hysterically. Im losing my best friend. I hugged her. She said, "dont cry, Im going to be sitting at the right hand of Jesus soon." I wondered how God could let this woman die and yet I thought how could you not take her home. Why not a miracle now?
Jan is comforting me and said, "Dont you understand that Im happy?" "No, "I dont understand. Im angry with God that He is taking you away from me." She said, "Barb, youre being selfish. This is something you want. God doesnt want me here. You have to face reality. It is my time to go home. My work on this earth is done."
I couldnt understand this. There are so many people that you can touch and bring to the Lord. She said, "My testimony will live on long after Im gone." Well I never understood what she meant. But I later would understand.
I left her and came back the next day. She looked again and said, "Hi there." She said, "Im not feeling too good but I would feel better if you would bring me some chicken soup." She wanted my moms matzah bowl soup, not mine, because my mom was famous for it. The next day she took a few bites and that was all she could eat.
Jan actually sees the Lord as she is dying and says, "He's coming to take me home."
I knew her time was ready. She opened up her eyes and said, "Im about ready to go home to be with the Lord and you will have to carry on my work." I said, "I cant Jan, I cant live without you." All of a sudden her eyes got real big and she said, "Oh, look, there he is!" She then pointed to the corner of the room. I asked her what she was pointing at and she said, "There he is. Its Jesus and tears were rolling down her face." She said, "Hes coming to take me home. Oh Im so happy." She then laid down and closed her eyes and went into a coma. She died later that night.
I was so angry with God for this loss I experienced. She was in a way Jesus to me an extension of his life. At her funeral, people were celebrating. That was very unusual for me because Jewish funerals are so sad. They played my favorite song, Sandy Pattis "We Shall Behold Him." The service at Lakeview Temple was so packed that speakers had to be set up in the parking lot because of all the peoples lives that she had touched. She had been going to Lakeview about one year at that time. Even though Jan had left her body, she left this incredible glowing smile on her face. Tommy Paino did the funeral.
Tammy, her daughter, walked over to me and handed me her Bible and she told me that Jan wanted me to have it. There isnt a page of that Bible that isnt covered with her handwriting with notes of praise to Jesus or someone she was praying for. She had all of our doctors name there.
She had written a note to me before she died. "Dont give up. I am still with you."
It was hard to go on without Jan. I struggled with my faith, but knew that God would see me through this crisis.
I was mad at God but with Jans encouraging word, I knew that my life had to go on. One night in the middle of the night I suddenly woke up and something told me that I had to pray.
During that prayer that night I got down on my knees and asked forgiveness because I was not a good witness for Him. I remember saying, "Lord, let me be more like Jan." After I prayed that prayer, people were coming to me from everywhere. I would soon meet many Jewish believers.
I meet Messianic Jews in Indianapolis
Tammy told me about the Messianic Jewish congregation in town, Simchat Yeshua. She explained to me that it was a fellowship of Jews who believed in Jesus. I wasnt sure if I wanted to go. I then tried it one Friday night. This is what Judaism was meant to be, I thought. I realized that I had never learned about true Judaism at Beth El. (explain more).
I lost a lot of my friends in fact all of my Jewish friends. They all rejected me. I have some friends form elementary school that I am close to. But Bonnie is my best friend. We pray together, study the Bible together and talk all of the time. One day I had an allergic reaction to some medication and fell on the floor feeling myself drift into unconsciousness. Something told Bonnie at her hair salon to call me. When I picked up the phone, I was babbling and all that I could get out was "blood reaction." Bonnie left her office and showed up at my house in 10 minutes. She literally saved my life that day. She prayed and talked about Jesus.
Today, now some 15 years later, The Lord has gone with me through the valleys of health related problems, but I have seen him change many lives over the years. Im so thankful for that mysterious phone call I received January 3, 1978, from Jan, and that she never gave up on me. Jan was a true friend.
One footnote to this story- Jan and I spent many, many days and nights trying to find that man who gave her my phone number. He was never found or seen again! She had no idea how he had gotten her name or phone number, let alone knowing my name and phone number. No one will ever convince me different that he was not an angel sent from God to bring the two of us together. We searched high and low, asked everyone we knew, and it was as if he just disappeared into thin air. Jan used to say that was no coincidence, it was a "Lord-incidence"! No matter how it came to be, whether he was an angel of God or man, I thank him with my whole heart for preparing the way for me to find Eternal Life, and Eternal Love with our Lord.
If you have further questions about anything written in the testimony, please send me an email, write, or call me. I will also provide Barb with your email address if you would like to talk to her directly. - - - Jon Lieberman