Nobuko Cobi Narita's baptism: 2/13/2017. DOB: 3/3/1926.
This past summer at Reach2016, the North American Discipleship Summit in St. Louis, thousands were guided through another incredible rendition of Upside Down by an old bearded man named Luke. Many remember Rob Narita, the man behind the beard, for his performances as Jesus and Simon the Sorcerer in the 1994 production. Sitting in the audience watching her son was Rob’s mother Cobi Narita, who Rob has been praying for since he became a disciple over 20 years ago.
Cobi, who turned 91 this year, moved to New York City in 1969 from Long Beach, California, to pursue work opportunities. Her off-work hours included being a DJ with NY Jazz Radio, working with jazz musicians and artists, and jazz event production and promotions.
Cobi was head of the Black Artists Collective. She then founded the Universal Jazz Coalition, later renamed the Jazz Center of New York, an organization for the production and promotion of jazz events where top-name artists performed and new artists were presented. She has helped thousands of singers, musicians, and dancers over the last 50 years, and is dearly loved by the NY jazz community.
In 1988, after being engaged for 16 years, she married Paul Ash, president of Sam Ash Music Stores, also a jazz lover and aficionado. Paul passed away on February 5, 2014.
In 1994, during the Upside Down run, Cobi was not interested in studying the Bible; however, she loved the show and saw it several times with her husband, Paul.
Cobi, now handicapped and in a wheelchair, lives in Long Island, New York. She has had five of her seven children come stay with her at different times to help with her in home care after her husband passed away: Jude, Rob, Susan, Lisa, and Pia.
Her son Rob, a member of the Turning Point Church in Los Angeles, retired in 2016 to free his schedule. He began visiting New York for three to four weeks at a time and served his mom gratefully with the love of Jesus. They began reading scriptures together, and Cobi bought a Bible. She remembered having a Bible in her youth, but losing it, and her faith.
In 2016, Cobi went with Rob to the Long Island Region of the NYC Church of Christ. She enjoyed the worship and fellowship, and began to study the Bible. Cobi's faith in God began to deepen as she witnessed everyone's love and sacrifice for her.
On February 9, 2017, Cobi decided to make Jesus her Lord. She thanks Rob and her daughter Lisa for watching over her and helping her make her decision. She is also grateful to God and to Linda, Tiffany, Judy, and Gladys, who studied the Bible with her. Four days later, on February 13, she was baptized at her home in Oyster Bay, New York, by her son, Rob! She is currently continuing her Bible studies and walking with God.
This is the Almighty God's faithful answer to 22 years of prayer for Cobi to become a disciple! Our God is an awesome God, always loving, always forgiving, full of mercy, and ready to answer our prayers!