"I was 11-years-old, and I walked into fifth grade and walked past this little boy.
I remember him saying to me, 'I like your bobby socks.' And he looked at me, and I looked at him. That was the moment I truly fell in love with my best friend," recalls Susan Mintz.
Growing up in a small, Jewish community, Susan and Jeffrey were inseparable. Even when they went off to different colleges and dated other people, they remained best friends.
"Jeffrey understood me from the minute we met. I understood him, he understood me. We always got along," she says.
One night in 1968, things got out of hand.
"We were drunk, and we woke up in the morning naked on the floor. I couldn’t remember anything we did, nothing. Six weeks later, I was pregnant."
The two decided there was only one thing to do.
"Well, it was Troy, New York in 1968, a nice Jewish community. His parents knew my parents. There was no abortion, nor would I have. You got married, you did the right thing."
Just one week after the wedding, Susan miscarried. And that’s how their marriage started out. Susan and Jeffrey saw no reason to end their marriage. They made a commitment before God, 'Until death do us part.' They loved each other and got along well, but Jeffrey put up a wall – one that was impossible for Susan to get around. A few months later, during a huge fight, Susan discovered that Jeffrey had a secret.
"He proceeds to tell me that he thinks he’s gay, because he’s had a couple of homosexual relationships while in college. The argument was vicious. What does this mean? What do we do? I mean we were crying, we were fighting, and it was a horrible night," she remembers.
Susan tried to live with Jeffrey’s homosexual lifestyle and attempted to convince herself it wasn’t so bad.
"I had an incredible lifestyle. We traveled, we were eating out, ballet tickets, and I loved my lifestyle. I had more to lose than gain. I was worse without him than with him. I had justified everything. So he was a homosexual, we would never have left each other, it had to be by death. I made a commitment, til death do me part. I would never had not fulfilled God’s word, when I said, 'I do,' I would," she believed.
In 1981, while watching the evening news, Susan learned about AIDS and how it was killing homosexual men.
"I froze in front of the television, and then I went in the bathroom and threw up. It was at that moment when I was wrenching over the toilet that God said to me, 'Stay with him now and love him more now than ever. Because one day he’s going to need you like he’s never needed you before, and that’s the first time God truly spoke to me."
Susan asked Jeffrey to get tested for AIDS, but he declined. So she did what was necessary – abstain from intimacy with Jeffrey and be by his side through his illness.
"Then in about 1990, I asked him again if he’d get a test because I was beginning to see the changes, and I knew there was no way he could avoid it," she says.
In 1991, Jeffrey became ill. Susan knew it was AIDS. In a year, her husband was dead. In the wake of her sorrow, Susan started asking questions about her purpose in life, and she asked those questions for a decade.
"Why was I on the outside looking in, why?" she asked herself.
That "why" was soon to be answered. In 2003, while weight lifting, Susan’s neck gave out. Her fifth cervical vertebrae had collapsed. During her recovery after surgery, Susan was given a book that spoke of God’s son, Jesus.
"Slowly the more I learned about Jesus Christ, the more I realized that that’s what was keeping me going."
In 2006, after finding a church where she learned about the saving grace of Jesus, Susan committed her life to Christ. The "why's" were now answered.
"How does a Jewish girl, an orthodox, Jewish girl from Troy, New York, end up getting pregnant by her best friend, stay married to him, he’s a homosexual, he passes away from HIV, and we were married 25 years? I’d do it all over again. Thirteen years later, I’m a reborn Christian living in Boca Raton."
Today, she’s a crusader for abstinence and AIDS testing. She wants everyone to know what God’s son, Jesus Christ can do for them.
"I’m a living testimony to the testimony of Jesus Christ. And I’m very proud to be a messianic Jewish woman, a reborn Christian Jewish woman, and to state that I think you should try it. You might like it."
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