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Three Critical Months at Cornell University
Michelle Beadle's journey to faith in Messiah centers largely around three months--October to December, 1974—during her senior year at Cornell, in Ithaca, New York. A young woman from Malaysia, named Malaer, attending Cornell along with her husband, played a key role in this drama. Though not reared in a Christian home, Malaer had trusted in Jesus at the age of fourteen upon hearing the Good News of redemption in Him from an aunt.
Since she was studying child development, Malaer found that her schedule put her in some of the same courses as Michelle, although the two remained unacquainted for a time. That fall, Malaer had been praying for a friend. Then by chance one evening, Michelle and Malaer met in the library and struck up a conversation. A friendship was born.
Although Michelle was totally unaware of Malaer's faith in Jesus, this new friend began praying for her salvation. During this same three-month period, Michelle made a spiritual search. In her quest, she read books on Hinduism and Zoroastrianism, and she also read The Late Great Planet Earth at the urging of a Jewish friend.
This book somehow "got" to Michelle, impressing her with the truth that Jesus was Jewish, rather than Catholic, as she had previously believed. During these critical weeks, a fellow student cornered Michelle at a frat party and, much to her embarrassment, aggressively presented the plan of salvation to her for a quarter hour.
The Lord Brings Michelle to Himself
Finally, in early December, Michelle and Malaer found themselves attending a conference for social workers not far from the Cornell campus. After attending morning workshops, the pair sat together at the luncheon that followed. In the course of this meal, a woman—a complete stranger—approached them and began sharing her faith in Jesus with Michelle.
As the woman spoke of Jesus, Michelle observed Malaer nodding her head in agreement. The razor sharp realization that Malaer, too, was a "Jesus Freak" cut Michelle's heart. Far from being drawn to her, Michelle felt betrayed by her Malaysian friend, and almost screamed at her in rage. But a still, small voice seemed to be nudging Michelle, "Listen to her. She loves you; she's your best friend."
Michelle regained her composure and listened as Malaer shared her how she came to believe in Jesus for salvation. Then, right there at the table—in full view of any who cared to look—Michelle prayed a prayer, asking Jesus to be her Redeemer.
Back Home in New York City: Family, Synagogue, Moonies, and More
Returning home to Queens after her spring graduation, Michelle informed her Jewish family of her faith in Jesus. Naturally, some family tensions arose, and her concerned parents took her to talk to their rabbi.
Nevertheless, her gracious parents never rejected their daughter who was now a follower of the Jewish Messiah. Michelle continued attending synagogue with her family, and—much to her surprise—she found that familiar old prayers in the Siddur (Jewish prayer book) "came alive" for the first time.
As should be expected, all was not smooth for Michelle in her new pilgrimage. Hungry for fellowship but untaught in doctrine, she fell in for a time with followers of Sung Myung Moon, who took her on a retreat and began indoctrinating her.
A very short time later, Michelle happened to run into a woman who was the first Jewish believer (other than herself) she had ever met. The woman kindly warned Michelle to stay away from the "Moonies," and also thrilled her heart by teaching her the Hebrew name for Jesus the Messiah—Yeshua HaMashiach.
From Graduate School to the Present: A Dynamic Witness to the Jews
Michelle entered Tulane for graduate work the following fall, and during her first few days there she discovered another believer in Jesus at an orientation session. This young man introduced her to the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship group on campus, enabling her to find fellowship and encouragement.
In time, she also met other Jewish believers at the university and had Bible study with them. On her own initiative, Michelle even started a messianic book table at the student center, thereby sharing the Good News with Tulane's other Jewish students.
Following graduation and marriage, Michelle became affiliated first with another Jewish mission board on a volunteer basis, and finally, in 1994, she joined CJF Ministries as a full-time outreach worker in New Orleans, representing CJFM in the southeastern region of the United States. Pray for Michelle—forever changed since that December day in Ithaca—as she labors heartily in the vineyard for Messiah.