The Passing of Ken Crowell
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THE PASSING OF KEN CROWELL

Who is Kenneth Eugene Crowell? I say, "is" even though he recently went on to be with the Lord, because he IS even now, with his Heavenly Father. I say it also because Ken is a man who left a legacy that lives on in the minds and hearts of millions of people.

Almost every believer in Israel knows the name Ken Crowell, but many don't know what the Lord did through this man. Many people abroad have not heard of Ken, so I want to honor this great man of God and share his story with the readers of Oasis Magazine.

I am the founding elder of Kehilat Poriya, part of the Tents of Mercy network of congregations since 2005. But long before that, I was a partner, employee and friend of Ken Crowell. Ken was called by the Lord to come to Israel in 1979 and start a Christian-owned company to do three things:

  Bless the nation and people of Israel with exports and jobs.
  Provide jobs for Messianic believers in the Land.
  Help launch Messianic congregations.

His first company was called Galtronics and it made antennas for Motorola's walkie-talkies. There were no Christian-owned companies in Israel at that time and there was much religious opposition to this idea. Ken was not Jewish and could not get citizenship - on top of that he had no money. It was a HUGE challenge he was taking on.

The company was called "GAL-tronics" after Psalm 37:5, which in English is usually translated "Commit your ways unto the Lord, trust in Him, and He will accomplish it." In Hebrew, the first word is "Gol..." which literally means, "Roll" as in, "Roll your ways onto the Lord." Ken knew that if he did not learn to roll his ways (and problems) onto the Lord and trust Him, he would never succeed.

Ken 1991
In 1983, when my wife Terri and I made Aliyah from the USA, Galtronics had around thirty employees and an annual turnover of about $500,000. In 1984 I went into a partnership with Ken to start a new company called Galadon, which exported communion products. In 1985 Ken asked me to join the Galtronics team and in 1986 I became the Business Manager and later, CFO.

Early on in his years in Tiberias (The Israeli home of Galtronics), Ken started a small congregation. It was called "Peniel," after the place where Jacob wrestled with the Angel. This congregation has continued to grow; today it is the largest Messianic congregation in Israel, with Ken's protégé, Daniel Yahav serving as the pastor. Peniel has since started three more Messianic congregations in the Tiberias area.

Ken eventually founded or helped found six companies, each of which had a ministry purpose and which together have influenced, literally tens of millions of people. Galtronics became a supplier to the global cellular telephone industry and today has over 1,000 workers and markets tens of millions of dollars worth of products worldwide. It is estimated that over 2,000 Israelis have had employment at Galtronics over the years. In 1991, Galtronics received the Knesset's prestigious Kaplan Prize for being a blessing to the nation and people of Israel.

Galadon still produces communion products and is currently operated by a fine Arab believer in Nazareth. Another of Ken's start-ups, Galcom, produces solar-powered fix-tuned radios, which are given away in remote areas of the world. They receive only one station - the Christian station in that area. At least eight million people have been benefited by these radios.

Still another of Ken's start-ups, Megavoice, produces audio Bibles in hundreds of languages, for the billions of people in the world who cannot easily access a print Bible. Over six hundred thousand audio-Bibles have been distributed, at no charge. Over six million people have had an opportunity to hear the Word of God through these sophisticated, rugged and simple devices.

Ken receiving national award
Ken helped found "The Galilee Experience" on the Sea of Galilee waterfront in Tiberias. This enterprise helps Christians around the world connect with Israel and the Jewish roots of their faith and has served over 400,000 tourists to get more from their visit to Israel. Not only that, "The Galilee Experience" has presented the Gospel in a powerful way to over 25,000 Jewish Israelis. This was actually a vision the Lord gave me. Ken backed me up in every way until the vision was brought into reality.

To add to all these accomplishments, Ken founded "Galilee of the Nations Music". This record company has distributed overmillion inspirational CDs, many of them with worship music from the Land of Israel. I was involved in the startup of all six of these companies as well as a member of Peniel for 15 years. I know personally the struggles entailed in each, and the wonderful work each one does. All of these enterprises still exist and are carrying on the work and ministry the Lord intended when He called Ken to start them.

In spite of his outstanding accomplishments, Ken never took credit for himself; he ALWAYS gave credit to the Lord for everything. He also never did things for his own personal gain. Whenever possible he gave the ownership of his companies to the Lord (via non-profit organizations), or to others who helped establish or finance them. When he died, Ken owned his modest home in Tiberias, but almost nothing more. Ken was a very humble person, probably the most humble, and thankful man I have ever had the privilege to get to know. Ken was a man of great faith, great character and great obedience. His humble, faithful and selfless obedience to the Lord bore great fruit.

In the formative, rapid growth years of Galtronics, even though he was the owner and president of the company, as a true "Servant Leader" Ken shared the authority and responsibility of running the company with a team of four men who operated by consensus. I had the privilege and challenge of being one of those four men. In recent years, Ken and I became even closer and we considered each other as best friends. We had lunch together every week. During the last six months of his life I was with him almost every day.

Eric and Ken
Ken had a blood disease called Mylofibrosis, which attacks the ability of the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. This caused a progressive weakness and anemia - over the last few years Ken was visibly slowing down. Six months ago he became so weakened that he was bedridden in the local hospital and then in a nursing home. He was not in terrible pain most of the time, but he could do nothing and had no control over his life. It was his desire to be taken home, and the Lord answered that prayer. On Wednesday, January 25, 2012, between 1:00 and 1:30 AM, Ken Crowell went on to be with the Lord.

I had the privilege of being with Margie, Ken's wonderful wife when she heard the news at 3:00 AM that morning. Behind the sorrow and tears, she experienced relief and joy that Ken is free at last, and in a much better place. She too, has great faith and great dependence on the Lord, but she needs our prayers now as she passes through the mourning period for her life partner of 57 years. It was always "Ken and Margie."

In addition to his business and ministry accomplishments and exemplary marriage, Ken leaves behind a wonderful family legacy - 3 children and 10 grandchildren, all of whom are serving the Lord - as well as 3 great-grandchildren. Those of us who knew him personally will miss him greatly. Those whose lives have been impacted by Ken and Margie are surely numbered in the tens of millions. Even now Ken Crowell must be hearing the words we all long to hear: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

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