In 1943, I married Charles Moore, who had been my next-door neighbor. Not long after we were married, Charles went to China to serve in World War II. When he came back from the war, he started drinking and became an alcoholic.
After some time, we were visiting with friends in Florida when Billy Graham came on television in the hotel room. I glanced at the TV while he was on, but I didn’t take a lot of notice. A couple of years later, back home in New York, I was sitting by myself watching television one night, and who comes on but Billy Graham? During this time, I was looking for purpose. I had success in my business life, but I had an emptiness that needed to be filled. As I watched Billy Graham, I began to realize that what he was saying made sense.
At the end of the program, the announcer said anyone interested in a relationship with Christ could send away for study booklets, so I did. When the booklets came, I started studying and reading the Bible. Finally, after about six months, I came to understand that my salvation was not anything I could do for myself and not anything I could work for. In my room by myself, I prayed to accept Christ as my personal Savior.
The literature I received from Billy Graham said that when you accept Christ you must acknowledge Him publicly. I had already started attending church, but the church I went to did not believe in Christ as Savior. I didn’t know any other Christians to tell, so I started telling people at work. Then one of the girls who worked for me told me that her church was going to rent a bus to go to the Billy Graham Crusade in Madison Square Garden in New York City. She said, “Would you like to come?” I said, “Would I ever!” I knew this would be a great opportunity to walk forward and acknowledge Christ publicly.
When we arrived at Madison Square, all the seats were taken, and I was told to go to the auditorium next door to sit with the overflow crowd. I felt the Lord telling me to make my public profession in Madison Square Garden, so I went upstairs and knocked on a door until someone signaled me to come in. I sat down on the stairs. When the invitation came, I went forward to acknowledge Christ before men.
As part of the Billy Graham organization’s follow-up, they sent a letter to my pastor, informing him of my profession, but he did not acknowledge it. Then they sent a letter to a pastor who was a couple of towns away from me, and that pastor sent my name to a church in Amityville, N.Y., which was a little closer to where I lived on Long Island.
That’s when I began to learn and to grow. A friend from the church took me under her wing, and we went to every seminar she knew about. One day while I was witnessing on my job at Abraham & Strauss, it came to me that I should leave the department store and open a Christian bookstore on Long Island.
My husband had decided he didn’t want a Christian living with him, so we had separated. During the year we were apart, he spent a night in jail. He became so humiliated that he started to think seriously about his life. He accepted Christ alone in the house one night and came to tell me about it. That was the beginning of our long ministry together.
I opened the store in a little mall called Shop Village. The owner of the mall gave me a store across the street from the bookstore, which I used for a coffee shop. Many street children–8-, 10-, and 11-year-olds–would come and hang out at the coffee shop. They seemed to be on their own, so I found a 17-year-old young man who had become a Christian to watch over them for me. I asked two other men who were young preachers to preach to the children and to anyone else who came to the coffee shop on the three nights a week that it was open. Meanwhile, I ran the bookstore, along with the help of my husband and volunteers.
People would come into the bookstore who didn’t believe in God; they would look around and ask us questions. And they started getting saved, right there in the store. We began to realize that these people had nowhere to go to learn more about the Christian faith, so we started a daytime ladies Bible study in one of the women’s homes. We had so many women that we couldn’t take them all in, so we started a nighttime Bible study as well. Of course, all of these women had husbands whom they wanted to know the Lord, so my husband started a men’s Bible study at night.
Home churches were springing up all over Long Island in those days, but we couldn’t call ours a church because we didn’t have a pastor, so we called our Bible studies the Solid Rock Fellowship. The bookstore closed after about a year, but we continued the fellowship, and 11 people went into ministry from our Bible study groups. In one family, the husband was an atheist, and the wife was not a believer, either. Both of them were saved, and their son became a minister.
We moved to North Carolina in 1978. Within two weeks, we had started a new fellowship in the home of a young lady named Kathy. Kathy later married our son, Ron, who is now a Sunday school teacher and an elder in his church. I became a chaplain and a counselor for the PTL Love Center, which helped the needy, and Charlie became a PTL seminar host. We started a nursing home ministry, where we would bring in speakers and organize the music for their services. I taught Sunday school and became church librarian.
After a long struggle with a heart condition, Charlie passed away in 2004 at age 83. We had been married 64 years.
A pastor once told me, “Ordinary people can become extraordinary people through Christ,” and he thought I was one of those ordinary people. To think that Christ could use me–someone who wasn’t brought up as a Christian, who had never even been witnessed to–to bring people to the Lord is awesome. I’m grateful and thankful.