A Changed Life Challenges Jew to Faith in Christ

by Sheree Zippay

Since the very beginning of the Bill Rudge Ministries, Sheree Zippay has been a good friend and faithful supporter. She was our first staff member. Sheree’s testimony is powerful and challenging to both Jews and Gentiles.

My name is Sheree Zippay, and I am a Messianic (believing) Jew. I came to know Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) as my Savior and Lord on December 23, 1973. I was on a search for who God really is.

Karen Rudge, a long-time close friend since seventh grade, told me about the Lord at around age sixteen. I told her I wasn’t disclaiming that Jesus is the son of God, but that was a Gentile thing. As a Jew, I’m not supposed to believe Jesus is God’s Son. That was the way I believed and I wasn’t changing! (Little did I know what God was up to!)

At age seventeen after graduation, I moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the U.S. government. Twice while I lived there I was approached about the Lord: a guy I met in a mall in Maryland, and a few month’s later, a co-worker, talked to me about the Lord. The problem was, I did not understand what Jesus had to do with my people, the Jews. He just sounded so Gentile. Besides, in the last church I went to after being pressed to go by a co-worker, the minister said all Jews were going to hell because they won’t convert and believe in Jesus. I was so enraged I didn’t want to hear anymore about this Jesus.

In 1972 when I moved back to Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, I was not satisfied at all with my life and how things were going, so I started on a search. I went back to visit the local synagogue. The new young Rabbi from Chicago was speaking about the Gentile Christians trying to convert Jews to Christianity. He told us not to listen to them because they were trying to proselytize the Jews.

A few months later Karen Rudge called me from Mt. Vernon, Ohio (where Bill was attending college), to invite me and another friend, Janet, to visit her and Bill. I was so shocked she had married Bill, I was compelled to go. Janet and I went off to Mt. Vernon. I was amazed at what had happened to both of them –– especially Bill. I knew a miracle had taken place. I couldn’t be around Bill for a very long time previously because he could be very mean and cruel. When I saw Karen and Bill in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, I was witnessing totally new people. Bill was completely different! They witnessed to me some more, but I still wasn’t convinced because of my Jewishness. Nevertheless, I was amazed by the change in them.

A few months later I finally decided to ask God myself. I said, “God, if you have a son, show me and I will believe.” The rest is history. God tailor-made the answer for me. A couple days later Karen came into town for the Christmas holiday. Bill was still in college and came a few days later. I told Karen that I believed Jesus is the Son of God and asked her what I needed to do, and she told me. That very evening I knelt in the basement of my home and asked Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord of my life, to forgive me of all my past wrong doings (sins and transgressions). When Karen told Bill, he almost couldn’t believe it.

Bill and Karen told me about a good church in Niles, Ohio. We all went that weekend. I told the praise and worship leader, Charlie, that I became a Christian and I used to be Jewish. Charlie explained to me that I was still a Jew. The Messiah came as a Jew and was for the Jews. Jesus was the promised Jewish Messiah; therefore, I completed my faith by becoming a completed, Messianic Jew. He also told me that the Gentiles (non Jews) are the ones who convert –– becoming Spiritual Jews by receiving the Jewish Messiah. I was overjoyed with the news. I felt double-blessed and that I received back my Jewish roots! That same night I was introduced to Betty Best who had just started the Steel Valley Chapter of MJMI –– Messianic Jewish Movement International. She explained everything to me about Messianic Judaism. I became very involved in the Messianic movement and stayed there for three and a half years.

At that point, Bill had graduated from Mt. Vernon Bible College and he and Karen moved back to Sharon, Pennsylvania. In July of 1977, Karen and Bill told me about their vision and burden to reach youth and help troubled teens. Bill was being led to start a multifaceted ministry. I told them I would like to help and be involved as a volunteer. They were excited to have me become their first staff member. The three of us prayed separately in different areas of a local church one evening. We then came together in agreement that the ministry would be called Bill Rudge Ministries. I became very involved with them and totally supported what they were doing for the Lord.

Throughout the years of Bill Rudge Ministries, I have seen miracle after miracle, too numerous to mention. I saw Karen and Bill struggle with no money and many other things that could have discouraged them. Instead, they grew stronger and so did the ministry. Bill Rudge Ministries has been run with integrity before the Lord. Bill and Karen are always careful to do what is right in God’s eyes, regardless of their circumstances. I have supported them prayerfully and financially since the very beginning. They are not only ‘good’ friends, but good examples for God and always put Him first. They always think of others before themselves and care about lost souls. That’s what it’s all about –– winning the lost.

One Scripture comes to mind that the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13. . .

“But one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and striving toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Shalom! May the peace of God which passes all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.