Tents of Mercy Network
"This model had God's approval."
"... the Kingdom of God is extended through deep, committed
friendship and the bonds that come from walking through
persecution, apathy, and inexperience - yet overcoming these
By Eitan Shishkoff
In 2001, six years after we opened
the Tents of Mercy congregation in a Kiryat Yam warehouse, we sent out our
top young leader to establish a daughter congregation in Haifa, 30 minutes
away. It was not easy. Leon, the young Russian-speaking planter, was
dynamic. His vital connection with our largely Soviet background members,
had a lot to do with our growth.
Eitan & Avishalom
Prior to commissioning Leon, I had been excited to see our numbers
increasing. We began multiplying house groups. I thought:
"Hey, why shouldn't we have 100 groups of 10 each! That would be 1000
people - a mega-congregation for Israel."
But I noticed two things. First, our group leaders were inexperienced.
They were struggling to develop healthy small groups. Secondly, I
perceived a pioneering drive within the strongest young leaders. They were
looking beyond the confines of the "mama" congregation to other population
centers nearby. Was I to hold them back? Or was there something to the
book of Acts model? In the first century, the apostles prayed and sent out
evangelizing congregation planters to begin new works in unreached areas.
This model had God's approval. He had already done it this way here,
A Small, but Bold Step
We sent Leon, together with 30 people, to Haifa. We dedicated the work
during Hanukkah (the Feast of Dedication) in 2001. It had the full
blessing, continued financial support, and active oversight of the Tents of
Mercy leadership. This first daughter congregation was called Shavei
Tzion (those returning to Zion). It is thoroughly rewarding to see the
fruit of this faith step. Today, Shavei Tzion owns its own building
in an extremely accessible area of Haifa, Israel's third largest city.
It sports a part-time Bible college, music school, food distribution, guest
facilities, and a television studio. A mere three years after its
dedication, Shavei Tzion launched another congregation - this one in
Nazareth. That work continues, providing humanitarian assistance and
pastoral care in Yeshua's hometown. Uniquely, it is led by Vakif, a
brother from the Muslim culture of Tatarstan.
Eitan & Guy
That was only the beginning of the "sending out" of congregation-planting
teams. Several years later in early 2005 another promising young leader
asked to be relieved as our general administrator, in order to found a
congregation in Akko, Katzir Asher. Guy and Tali Cohen have poured out
their lives, not only into their congregation, but into the city itself.
As a native of Akko, Guy's relationships go far beyond the body of
believers. His testimony as a local-born Israeli is compelling.
Each Congregation is a Sending Base
Former town councilman and business entrepreneur, Eric Morey, opened our
fifth congregation in his Poriya home near Tiberias. His heart beats for
new territory. In fact, each new "outpost" of believers creates another
sending base from which to launch fresh communities of faith.
The Tents of Mercy Network of congregations is now spread across the
Galilee. Back home at the "mama" congregation in Kiryat Yam, the last few
years have brought Avishalom to the fore as my protégé,
courageously taking on both the pastoral and humanitarian ministries of our
center, Ohalei Rachamim.
Eitan & Leon
Why have we emphasized the planting of new congregations? It's because
our predecessors did it this way. In the Book of Acts we find a clear
pattern of exploratory teams being "sent out" (the original meaning of
apostle, apostolic). These teams remained in strong relationship with
those who sent them, including periodic visits for encouragement and
oversight, as well as councils that brought together those who'd been
The classic example happened at Antioch, resulting in many new disciples
(14:21) and the appointment of qualified elders (14:33).
"Now in the congregation that was at Antioch there were certain prophets
and teachers ... As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy
Spirit said 'Now separate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work to
which I have called them.' Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid
hands on them, they sent them away." (Acts 13:1-3)
I fully believe that we are seeing apostolic life restored in Israel. The
way of life exemplified by the 1st century
Messianic Jewish apostles was one of bringing Yeshua's redemption to
unreached population hubs. Then, communities of believers were formed in
order to strengthen their faith, celebrate their salvation, and draw their
friends and neighbors into the kingdom.
An Intimacy of Brotherhood
The group that prayed, fasted and sent out Barnabas and Shaul in Acts 13
did not leave behind a YouTube clip of the fellowship enjoyed that day. I
wish they had. They'd been given an historic mission. We can sense
their expectant camaraderie.
Another passage which demonstrates the intimacy of brotherhood experienced
by the first century apostles is Shaul's farewell to the Ephesian
elders in Acts 20:17-38. We aspire to this level of affection. Our
council of congregation/ministry leaders is a welcome opportunity to open
our hearts to each other. We listen, laugh, eat, joke, counsel, pray, and
speak into one another's lives. As papa/coordinator, I am submitted
to these men and they to me. It is a rare gift to develop relationships
over decades - pioneering together in our old/new land.
Quality time together
By the grace of God, new Messianic communities have been formed in
21st century Israel. Through the Tents of Mercy
Network, the rugged founders of a handful of these congregations have
chosen to walk in covenant brotherhood. The next step will be linking with
other similar networks in Israel. After more than 30 years of
trust-building with my longtime partner, Asher Intrater, the network he
leads, Revive Israel, is the ideal candidate.
I believe that the Kingdom of God is extended through deep, committed
friendship and the bonds that come from walking through persecution,
apathy, and inexperience - yet overcoming these obstacles. Our apostolic
team represents a wide range of origins. We hail from Belarus, Ethiopia,
America, Tatarstan, and Israel. It is the privilege of a lifetime to
participate in the restoration of apostolic life here, where Yeshua first
called his disciples together and commissioned them to go to Jerusalem,
Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
By Eitan Shishkoff
to the work of Ohalei Rachamim.
Let us know what you think - why not comment to this
The authors of these articles are often involved
in intense ministry and are thus unable to respond to most
comments. As is normal with print and online magazines,
Tikkun reserves the right to publish only those comments we
feel are edifying in tone and content.
17:48 29May14 Jean Singh -
THANK YOU for allowing me & my friend, Jan Doyle, to volunteer
for a few days in your warehouse in November, 2012. It was there
in your kitchen, where I met the amazing Marc Chopinski, who gave
me 2 copies of his CD - YES and AMEN /ISRAEL'S HOPE.
18:44 29May14 Erik Ronneberg -
Amen! This works. Recently I married in Kerala, India. My wife
came with me to Alaska, USA. We worked and ministered to people
here from many nations who work here - Nigeria, Thailand, Mexico,
Phillipines, etc. Then we helped build a church for my
wife's father, a pastor in Kerala. My daughter was in the
womb in Alaska, born in India, and will come back to the USA
soon. I see the blessings of the nations in my life, to all
young men I say GO with Jesus, even if you don't have an
apostolic father from Israel, the blessings will reach you.
Wherever you are, take a team, blessing the nations, go by faith.
This is abundant life. My own life says AMEN to this testimony
happening in Israel, it works all over the earth. Rural or
urban, it works all over the earth. Give your best, sow your
best, the harvest will amaze you!
22:31 29May14 Beverly Schneider -
What a great article. I cant wait to go to visit these different
15:58 03Jun14 Ruth Hartman -
Praise Adonai. For the past few years Ive been praying for
Isreal; to include naming the few persons I have personally met
that are living there. One of the names has been: "Eitan
Shishkoff and all who minister with him." Therefore
-- Eitan Shishkoff replies: This is a very touching response to the recent article we
published. May you know that you share in the "spoils" of
spiritual warfare, even as David made it clear that those who
remained with the supplies shared fully in the fruit of the
army's efforts. Please don't stop praying
14:37 05May14 Ken Ladley -
Seeing this article, reminded me of our visit to Tents of Mercy
with New Haven House of Prayer in March this year. We gathered
with Pastor Eitan and Pastor Avishalom and prayed over them and I
had a word for them: I saw the Tents that were now filled with
foods and stuff to go to the people being transformed. And I saw
the Tents being filled with people instead of stuff, and these
people were coming there to be trained and refreshed (oasis) and
then they were being sent out all over Israel and the world. The
Tents of Mercy have a much larger calling than filling peoples
food supplies. You are called to provide people in the ministry
-- Eitan Shishkoff replies: I am touched and strengthened by your reminder of the prophetic
prayer you made over us. Thanks so much for caring and for
standing with us in an enduring way. We cannot do this without
you --- really!
16:07 05Jun14 Esther Matos -
I love the heart of the Father! Thank you for this article, it is
an encouragement. I saw Pastor Eitan Shiskoff on web streaming
in an IHOP conference some years back. I said to myself: "he has
the heart of a father". It's good to see the work going
forward. Hope on my next trip to Israel I get to visit the
congregation; again thank you.
-- Eitan Shishkoff replies: Thanks for taking the time to write these words. They humble me
and challenge me to continue bringing the Father's love to
the people of Israel. Please continue interceding that we will
see more and more Israelis discovering Yeshua in the days to
come. Please visit us on your next journey to the land.
Also in this issue of the newsletter:
Daniel Juster: Choosing Community and Leadership
Daniel Juster's article in French: Choisir Quelle Communaute & Quels Leaders?
David: ISAIAH Zionist Prophet Interceding for the Nations
Shavei Tzion: Counting the Omer - Lifting up our Youth
Asher Intrater: Exile and Redemption
Cody and Liat: Media Development at Revive Israel