The refrain carried throughout all our gatherings: This is the year of new beginnings; this is a new season, a new hour. Prepare to move forward, to do what you have only dreamt about. Let God renew your mind and heal your heart.

The echo of our beloved Messiah's voice whispered through every speaker:

Rise up my love, my fair one,
And come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is gone,
And flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come ...
Rise up my love, my fair one
And come away!
Song of Songs 2:10-13

These strong words of hope were the theme of the Tents of Mercy Network Sukkot conference with Drs. Chuck Pierce and Alemu Biftu. God had spoken to these two servants to come to Israel to celebrate Sukkot, but our Heavenly Father had more in store than even these two prophetic voices had anticipated.

Hope In Uncertain Times

Avishalom, Alemu, Eitan, Chuck and Enawa
While events around us in Israel pushed against our hope, stirring the political scene with uncertainty, God sent His word of hope to us - an anchor for our souls in the depths of turbulent waters. God had spoken to Chuck Pierce to come and celebrate Sukkot in Israel. In order to strengthen ties between his ministry and Tents of Mercy, Chuck decided to bring a team of prophetic intercessors to join us for our celebration of the eighth and final day of Sukkot. Dr Alemu Biftu, an Ethiopian living in the States with an apostolic ministry to Ethiopia and nations around the world, heard the Spirit telling him to join up with Chuck on his Mid East tour. He had no idea this would also mean joining us at Tents of Mercy or just how divinely appointed this connection was to be.

Sukkot is the end of the fall feast celebration cycle that begins with the Day of Trumpets/ Rosh Hashanah, the day we traditionally reckon the start of the Jewish year. As of the first of Tishrei (The evening of September 12th) we entered into the year 5768. Our forefathers of course only used Hebrew characters and signified numbers by their corresponding Hebrew letters. The year 5768 is traditionally written as (Nun-Zayin-Samech-Chet) in short this year is (Samech-Chet).

The eighth and last day of Sukkot is also Simchat Torah, the day we read through the end of the Torah Scroll and wind it back to start at Genesis chapter one for a new year. So with the fall feasts we have the circle of the Torah liturgy and the progression of the new year merging together much like the circle of the Samech and the "new beginning" symbolized by the Chet (Eight is the biblical number of new beginnings). Chuck Pierce used this as the backdrop of his exhortation to us; then God confirmed the message by demonstrating this new reality in our ministry and relationships at Tents of Mercy.

Our mandate has been to reach out to the poor and needy, the outcasts and those who have struggled through their transition here in Israel. It is not surprising then that most of the folks in our congregations are from the former Soviet Union. There is another large group in Israel that has struggled to fit in, to be accepted and to integrate into the mainstream of Israeli society, the Jews who made the huge cultural leap from Ethiopia. We are blessed to have an increasing number of Ethiopians as part of our congregation and privileged to have as our associate congregational leader, Avishalom Teklehaimanot, a Jewish native of Addis Ababa.

Enawa leading us in worship
Avishalom made aliyah in 1991. This year he returned to Ethiopia for the first time in fourteen years. He left as a teenager and returned as a married father of two! While there Avishalom met up with an old childhood friend, Enawa Hawaz. Enawa is now a well known worship leader and recording artist in Ethiopia. Avishalom and Eitan were inspired to invite Enawa to join us for our Sukkot conference and to set aside one day as a special Ethiopian ministry day.

Invitations went out and Ethiopian believers from all over the country enthusiastically responded - not because Dr. Chuck Pierce was going to be there (most folks hadn't heard of him), but because Enawa Hawaz was the promised worship leader!

Ethiopian Celebration at Tents of Mercy

On October 5th, the day after Simchat Torah the joyful sounds of Ethiopian music filled Tents of Mercy's sanctuary. Over 150 Ethiopian believers and most of the leaders in the land were there to celebrate together with us. Enawa led us all in anointed worship. Even those of us who do not speak Amharic easily entered into the joyful celebration through Enawa's ministry.

Dr. Alemu Biftu
And who had God arranged to be the guest speaker? None other than Dr. Alemu Biftu! Dr. Biftu knew he had to come to Israel, but he had no idea God had sent him here to deliver a key message to the Ethiopian community. Speaking from John 4, Dr. Biftu likened the Ethiopian community in Israel to the woman at the well in Samaria. An outcast with low status - her encounter with the Messiah transformed her into the herald of salvation for her whole community. God reminded our Ethiopian brothers and sisters that He had sent them to Israel for divine purpose - they were not outcasts but divinely commissioned heralds. The key to their release is an encounter with the Messiah.

It is hard to convey in words just how powerfully the Holy Spirit was moving among us - the Spirit's presence was almost palpable; a heavy weight of glory confirming Dr. Biftu's message. As he finished speaking he declared freedom for the Ethiopian Israeli community to enter into their redemptive destiny. Eitan responded to this word by welcoming our Ethiopian family as equal partners and co-laborers together with the rest of the Messianic community. In kind, the Ethiopian leaders embraced Eitan as a father in the land.

Eitan and Avishalom together under
the Ethiopian banner
In further demonstration of this new day of friendship, Eitan and Avishalom knelt together in prayer while Chuck Pierce and Alemu Biftu prayed for them. One of Chuck's team had recently been in Ethiopia and had brought back a scarf commemorating the Ethiopian millennium (2008). Chuck draped this over Avishalom symbolizing his mantle of leadership for Ethiopian ministry. As Eitan held Avi's hand someone placed the scarf over their shoulders signifying that both streams of the Messianic community were bound together in purpose and love.

This was not just a message but a day of liberation, healing, commitment and unity. Our hearts and souls were melded together as partners in the Messiah. A new beginning had truly dawned for Tents of Mercy and for the Ethiopian Messianic believers in Israel.

 

By Martin Shoub

 


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Comments
Comments:
01:40 07Dec07 Allen Hemmerling -
Wow, I just love your article on "New Beginnings". I have a sense in my spirit Yeshua wants us to always have a new beginnings, so that things in our walk with HIM, do not go stale. Chuck Pierce is a wonderful man of God, I heard him speak at a Eyes and Wings conference at Kelowna, BC. Thanks Marty this is a very interesting article.

Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Dan Juster: Building a Fence Around the Torah
Leon Mazin: Turning our Hearts to the Fathers
Asher Intrater: Strategic Alliance