BY KATHY KANE
The 30th Annual Downriver Prayer Breakfast was welcomed by Deacon Bob Bovitz from St. Pius Catholic Church, along with scripture readings from Pastor Joy Zieglar from North Weseyan Church, Brother Everette Thomas from YMCA Downriver and Rev. Jason Cashmer.
A group of 19 volunteers met the past few months to coordinate the speakers, music and program and ticket sales were led by Crystal Gardens staff and Florence Lienhardt, which attracted over 900 guests this year.
Music was performed by Billy H. Walker and Calvary Baptist Church and Mrs. Kaylie Croft before the ever enthusiastic Pastor Billy C. Walker from the Billy Walker Evangalistic Association gave a sounding rendition of “You Know You’re Getting Older” jokes followed by the introduction of the guest speaker Jack Barsky.
When Jack Barsky came to the United States with a false identity in 1978, he didn’t realize the American spirit and the holy spirit would change his life forever, only 10 years later. At the Downriver Prayer Breakfast in December, the ex-KGB agent told his poignant story about when he decided to quit the lifestyle of a Soviet Union agent, because he couldn’t bear to leave the daughter he loved so dearly. He had to fake an illness that could only be considered fatal, so he could stay to live out his illness here.
Barsky did quite well in a corporate American career despite the fact that the FBI now knew of his whereabouts and were keeping an eye on his dealings. His personal life however fell apart with a bout with alcoholism and loneliness. That was until he started working with a new administrative assistant at his office, who he learned about God from and eventually fell in love with.
Being an atheist, Jack researched and read and ultimately came to peace with many things in his life, though they were not all smooth and not all happy. But with Christ in his life and through his Baptism he is now sharing his story all over the United States. His favorite verse in the Bible is “Be Still and Know I am God.”