We’ve had the chance to share some extraordinary stories together On the Road, but our latest trek is one of the unlikeliest yet.
Jack Barsky worked undercover for over a decade in Cold War America. On the outside, he became a success in business and a family man; just another example of the American dream. But in reality, he was a KGB sleeper agent. A Soviet spy – transmitting information to Moscow on a regular basis.
But Jack found so much he did not expect in the United States. He couldn’t hate the people he had come to help defeat. And eventually he found love – and a family. Faced with an impossible choice, he left the KGB. But his journey wasn’t done yet.
Raised to care little about anything of a religious nature, it wasn’t until Jack hired a new secretary that his thinking was turned on its head. She was a Christian. And she was quite vocal about it.
“The turning point was really when I asked her one time – I knew she was in Bible School – and I asked her to share with me an essay she wrote. So she printed out an essay on the book of Ruth. So I read it, and I looked at it.
I said, ‘You know, it’s pretty well written, but I don’t know if it does the original justice.’ So she literally took about five seconds and she had a Bible on my desk. ‘There! Read it!
So I read it. And this slowly evolved to a point where I actually showed some interest in visiting her church.”
But even before Jack made it to church, he started listening to something life changing on his radio.
“She told me to listen to this radio program called ‘Let My People Think’ – the Ravi Zacharias program. Ravi disabused me very quickly of my notion that Christianity is only for the feeble minded. This is what we were taught back in East Germany. But Ravi was so incredibly intelligent, and he made a really, really strong argument.”
Then came the long-awaited visit to church. And a sermon that Jack’s heart was ready to hear.
“And the pastor’s message was about the love of God. And I had become rather a love sick puppy. My marriage had fallen apart. My kids were about to move out. And I had nothing left in life. So this man starts talking about the love of God, and I actually went up to him after the service was over and I spoke to him. He gave me a couple more books to read.”
So the groundwork was laid, and it was almost time for the former spy to surrender to a higher power.
“This is the moment I describe in the book. It’s an odd moment to choose, but God picks His moments. I knew that He was real. I knew that Jesus was real. It just hit me at one point when I was waiting for my playing partner at a golf course. At that point, I felt the need, the urge, to give my life to Jesus, which I did a couple of weeks after in a service in the very same church.”
Jack Barsky is the remarkable man behind the stunning story of Cold War intrigue and redemption detailed in the new book Deep Undercover: My Secret Life and Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America.On the Road with Jack Barsky