Lily Isaacs: I’m Jewish by birth. My parents are both full-blooded Jews. My mother and father were both born in Poland and were living in Poland when World War II broke out. Being Jewish, of course, in Europe meant that they were taken to concentration camps along with their families for five years. They lost the majority of their families but my mother and father both survived. When the war was over in 1945 they found themselves in Germany, which is where they were transported from Poland. And they met each other again and got married. Then in 1949 they came to the United States. I was born in 1947, so I came with my parents to the United States when I was just a baby. I grew up in New York City. I was raised in the Jewish faith and didn’t know anything about the Lord or Salvation. When I was a young woman living in New York I met a young man in a nightclub. He was a bluegrass musician from Kentucky. We both had an album with Columbia Records and we both had an act at a nightclub in New York. So that’s how we met. We got married in 1970 and moved to Ohio. About ten months after we were married, his brother was killed in a car accident and because of that tragedy I went to Church with him for the very first time. That night, I found the Lord. I didn’t really know how to pray, but it was the first time I had gotten on my knees and prayed. That was 1971.
Mercy Hope: When did your family begin playing/singing together?
Lily Isaacs: Well, I was in show business and my children’s father was in show business. So we were very musically inclined. We started singing in church in 1971 when we started going to church. So we started the group then with musicians, and our children were born into our ministry. They started singing and picked up the instruments when they were young. Sonya started playing the mandolin when she was seven and wrote her first song when she was seven. Becky and Ben followed in the same way and we’ve been in full-time ministry as a family for the last eighteen years.
Mercy Hope: What is the main thrust of your family’s ministry?
Lily Isaacs: Our vision is to reach as many people as we possibly can with the message of hope and faith and that is through Jesus Christ. I feel like God has spared my life to be able to tell my story of salvation to Jewish people, and to people of different faiths and denominations and just to tell them that God in no respecter of persons.
Mercy Hope: How can we as Christians reach out to the Jewish community and share with them about the Messiah?
Lily Isaacs: My advice would be to live a good life in front of them because Jewish people are very defensive and very headstrong and hard to talk to about Jesus Christ. But in this day and time, it is easier. There are a lot more people – my generation and younger – who are coming to know the Lord and I am thankful for that. In my life, the biggest thing that led me to become a Christian was watching people who were Christians; the life they lived, and their prayer life – their one-on-one talk with the Lord. In Judaism you go to a Rabbi and he prays for you. In Catholicism you go to a priest. So just having that one-on-one connection with the Lord is something that is important and I think when people feel that and know that (you have that) it is a good witness.
Mercy Hope: In more recent years, what has been happening in your life and what is God showing you through it?
Lily Isaacs: I’ve been through a lot in my life. In 1983 I had breast cancer and I had to have surgery for that and I survived. I thank God for that. Then five years ago I went through a divorce with a man I was married to for twenty-eight years and it was very painful. For several years before and after the divorce I had a lot of pain. But I survived, and it was only through the Lord. So my advice to my sisters in the Lord out there is to just hold on, because with God’s help you can do anything you put your mind to. I’ve made it this far, I have my family surrounding me, I’m happy in the Lord, and Jesus is my best friend.
Mercy Hope: In closing, how can your sisters in Christ be praying for you?
Lily Isaacs: I appreciate so much the prayers of the women out there to give me strength to continue being a leader in my family. My husband was always the leader of our family and I have wonderful children who are adults. However, I still fill the position of leader and I would love to have guidance to lead my family into the paths that the Lord would have us walk in.
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