A Transformation by A. Ray

I was born and raised in an orthodox Jewish home. Every Friday night my mother would light the candles and say some Jewish prayers. We also had three sets of dishes: one for dairy products, one for meat, and one for Passover use. According to the custom in most Jewish homes I received my religious instructions from a rabbi.

My brother suggested my taking up the saxophone while I was attending high school. The instrument seemed to be fitted for me. Often I spent six and seven hours a day in practice-- even on the hottest days. At the end of six months I was playing professionally. I had a strong desire to be a leader in a big dance orchestra.

When I graduated from high school I played with several dance orchestras. In these orchestras were all kinds of nationalities and religions. One had nothing better than the other. We were all in the same boat- blind, hopeless, and lost. I drank, gambled and smoked. I thought of nothing but to have a good time. All the while, however, I felt that something was lacking, but I did not know what it was. I tried philosophy. I read James, Plato and Schopenhauer to seek satisfaction, but found none.

About this time I came to my home in Brooklyn following a New Jersey engagement. One evening, while out walking, I noticed a small crowd on a street corner. I went over to the gathering and saw a man holding a saxophone. Another man was speaking. At first the preaching meant nothing to me but the saxophone did. I wanted to see how well he could play.

I had to stand there fifteen minutes before the man picked up the saxophone. Then he only played a single note to start the singing. I did not particularly enjoy the singing but I wanted to hear the man play a saxophone solo. So I waited still longer. In the meantime I became more and more interested in what the speaker was saying. It was twenty minutes before the man picked up the saxophone again; and this time he only picked it up to pack it up- the meeting was over!

However, by this time I had become really interested. At the close of the meeting one of the singers came to me and asked about my religious belief. I told him I was a Roman Catholic. I gave him this answer because I thought he would not talk to me about Jesus Christ if he knew I was a Jew.

The man invited me to come to the mission the next evening. Then he did something else-- for which I will be grateful for as long as I live--he gave me a New Testament. After we parted I went straight home. That night I began to read and continued to read hour after hour until I had read most of the New Testament before dawn the next morning. Within twenty-four hours after I received that copy of the New Testament on a street corner in Brooklyn-through the simple reading of the Word of God- I saw that I was a sinner and that the Lord Jesus was Israel's true Messiah. Then I did the only reasonable thing that one could do under such circumstances: I believed in my heart that He bore my sins in His own body on the tree.

The following night I went to the mission and publicly confessed my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I also told the man who gave me the New Testament that I was not a Roman Catholic but a Jew.

When Christ came into my life, He made me a new creature! 'Old things have passed away; all things have become new." The wonderful joy and peace that have come into my life far surpass all the so-called pleasures of my former life. Today, I have the blessed hope of being with my Lord throughout all eternity.

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