He is risen, He is risen indeed!

Hello everyone from THE FARM!

Yes, we are back on the property after living in town for 15 months! We are not in the farmhouse yet, but are at present staying in the small cabin which is located right next to the farmhouse. It has been a long time since I have paused and written an update, and it felt like today was the right time to start again!

Though moving back into an even smaller space has come with it’s own challenges, we know that this is temporary and only for a short season. We are HOPING the house will be done by the first of June. With the weather getting “warmer”, we felt it was wisdom for us to return to the property and be able to spend time on the house while attending to other needs on the farm.

Many know how Minnesota Winter’s can be, so having multiple snow storms after moving into the cabin really should not have come as any surprise and you just go with it, day by day.

It’s good to be home. Good to be back on the property. Good to breathe in the air and have the cabin flooded with light, even on cloudy days. It’s good to sit up in the office and look out the same window Dad would have, when he was reading or writing or just listening to what the Lord wanted him to do next.

It’s the goodness of God, in all that He does for us. His sacrifice on the cross gave us all that we could ever want or need in life that will be everlasting, where there will be no more sorrow, no more pain, no more loss, no more tears.

I have a new friend who’s ministry is to care for those who have experienced deep loss and are mourning as she understands deep loss due to what she has personally experienced. It has caused me on more that one occasion to stop and reflect on the losses that we have walked through. And here we are, pressing on…life, hope, everlasting mercy, seeking the joy He gives that comes in the mourning.

I wanted to share something that was really an eye opener from my brother David, my older brother for those that my not know David. I sent him a message this morning to wish him a happy Easter. We had been able to spend a few short moments together yesterday and were just catching up.

His response back at first stopped me in my thoughts and then then it all became clear. Here is what he wrote…

“Blessed morning, according to the hebraic calendar today they would be preparing the lamb after having it in the house for four days we’re all to lay their hands on it and impart their sins to it. I was thinking about your statement that you guys are just caretakers… dad told me he was handing you the reins, not the lead rope. Reins are used to steer and set directions. The lead rope would be given to take the horse to the stall for caretaking. He gave you the reins.”

I never knew that Dad had that conversation with David, It meant a lot coming from him. I know how my father felt about certain things and I was gong to do my part to help in any way possible.

And as I read his words again, it made sense in my heart what he was trying to convey. He handed us the reins to steer and get direction.

Please keep your prayers going for us, for wisdom and for guidance. This past year has been challenging, but we know to stand strong and fight any feeling of defeat….because He lives, we CAN face tomorrow, and all we have and do is because of Him.

In His love and grace,

Keith and Sissie (Katz) Pennel

In memory…

I Kings 17:5

It has been a sad and long 14 years since my Dad was called home….June 28th, 2007 at 7:03pm…his hands stretched out towards heaven, and then he was gone.

Though we had been expecting it and, it was incredibly hard to live through…in that very moment it seemed like the rug had been pulled from beneath my feet.

Time stood still and it felt as if all the air had been pulled from my body. I could not stop or change anything!

What a honor and humbling experience it was though, even in the depths of the immense loss and sorrow, to be present at his bedside as he passed.

Dad did not want to remain on this earth if it meant his body was going to have to keep fighting against the illness that was literally pulling away life from him. If that was the choice he had, then he was ready to choose to go…healing or heaven.

I remember so clearly sitting with him the week before he passed, to talk about his last wishes. I could see and feel the depth of sadness that he would no longer be able to continue the work he had started and that he had been called to do.

But once the decision was made, the peace that surrounded him and filled the home was tangible.

There is no easy way to say goodbye to your dad. There is no easy way for friends and family to come and pay their final respects and even have some tough conversations!

Dad walked in utter and total obedience. His life was not his own and he did his masters bidding.

My precious Abba, my Papa, my Dad…Your legacy will be that you did indeed rise and go according to the word of the Lord.

Rest in glory Dad…you are so missed!

Your daughter,


PS: I am including some very personal and precious photos of my father and our family. Thank goodness for technology that sees pictures to your phone as we lost everything in the fire that took place in December.

I am also including with permission the Memorial that June Volk wrote and posted in the Facebook group.

Shelly and June Volk were very dear and special friends to my parents and founding elders of the community.

“Monday June 28 2021 🔥🔥🔥 Today we remember Arthur Katz passing into Glory June 28 2007 💜 We remember him every day and miss him more today than ever 💜 He lived for the days we are facing in America, Israel and the world 💜 We honor him today as a father in the faith to Shelly and Scott and countless Jewish believers world wide 🤔 We thank the L_RD for the Great Cloud of Witnesses that preceded us to The World To Come cheering us on …

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counsellor? Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things: To Whom be Glory Forever.” Amen
Romans 11:33-36

Arthur Katz passed on into Glory on June 28, 2007 and the earth lost a great prophetic voice and a father in the faith to countless numbers of Jewish believers. A privilege the Lord afforded Shelly and Scott was to be fathered by Arthur into the kingdom of God, and in the foundations of the faith. Arthur was a man jealous for authenticity, truth in the inward parts, and was passionate to see the purposes of God fulfilled in the lives of those who called upon the Name of the Lord.

I have personally experienced Arthur weeping in deep travail over the condition of his own life, as well as the condition of the people Israel, and the condition of the Church.

In the last years of Arthur’s life he suffered in his physical body. Several months before his departure, Inger took some time apart to be refreshed and strengthened in the Lord while Shelly and I tended to him. Arthur amazed us with his stamina displayed in his diligence in the Word, prayer, meeting with the community of believers living on the property of Ben Israel, as well as his communication by phone with saints from all over the world. Shelly was scheduled to speak to students attending a discipleship school in Canada one of the Saturday mornings we were caring for him. Arthur was well enough to join with us for the meeting, and we realized that neither Shelly nor I should speak to the students.

The car ride to Canada was long and grueling, but Arthur did well. When we arrived the students graciously welcomed us. The presence of the Lord filled the house, and there was a deep sense of expectancy before the formal meeting began.

Arthur shared his deepest love and burden, the mystery of Jesus, Israel and the Church. He spoke about the weakness of the Church today because of its failure to reach out to the Jews all over the world, taking heed to Apostle Paul’s writings to bring the Gospel to the Jew first and also to the Greek. He explained with clarity the tension that keeps a human body healthy and why that tension was missing from the Church today. The conflicts the Church would be forced to face by fulfilling their call to Israel and to the Jews would conclude in strengthening the body of Christ. Israel in her hardness against Jesus being Messiah and Lord —if not being confronted by the Church today—the Church would remain in her weakened condition.

The call of the Lord, according to the Scriptures to the Church, is being circumvented. The power and authority of Romans 9-11, as well as the writings of the prophets, was expounded by Arthur. There was a hope deep within his heart for the students to ‘catch’ this vision. It caused a stirring within Shelly and within me to see the Biblical Roots of the faith restored to the Church once again.

The passion of Arthur’s heart was for the apostolic vision of the first century Church to be restored in the lives of God’s people. His message to the Church was for it to be utterly different— utterly the Lord’s—to cry out to know Him—to know His heart— His mind—His desires—to seek after His purposes—not our own. This was the purpose for which Arthur lived. We will miss him; the Church will miss the voice in the wilderness that Arthur represented. He was whole- heartedly dedicated to see the purposes of God fulfilled in his own life, and in the lives of the saints. His passion for the Church and for the people Israel still cries out in both his vocal messages and in his books as well as in the lives of the ones who knew him and loved him.

The message Arthur spoke in Canada was his last public speaking.”

Taken from: The God Who Answers by Fire; A Jewish Saga
by June Volk

Behold, I Will Do a New Thing – Post Fire Update

Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

It’s been just over ten weeks…ten intense, often emotional, challenging, sad weeks. But it has also been ten weeks of blessings beyond what we ever imagined, relationships strengthening, faith building, hope giving, humbling weeks.

Ten weeks ago, early in the morning hours, our home and all that was in it was lost to a devastating fire. In the process of recouping from the fire, Keith’s 103- year-old grandmother had a change in her health and her journey on this earth ended. We buried her two weeks after her death, next to her beloved husband in Missouri.

Fire, death, tragic loss. This has taken an emotional toll as so many “treasures” are gone, though we do know in our hearts that our treasures are in heaven.

So, what is our current status and what’s next? How do we even proceed from here? I shared photos in a previous update…you can see that there truly was a total loss.

Before I continue, I do want to just take a moment to pause and THANK everyone from the depth of our hearts for the massive outpouring of love and support that has been given to us. Within a few hours of the fire, every single immediate need was met. It was truly astonishing and humbling to see this all happen.

What next? Though we had insurance on our personal belongings, the house itself was not insured. This home was not “ours”; it was a home on the farm and became our home. All of this is part of the ministry that my father founded over forty years ago. We came back over five years ago to steward the property and maintain it and, we feel that we are to continue to do so.

With that being said, we do feel that we should rebuild on the same site where the house was. The cement slab is intact, the plumbing is still in place, the well and electrical are all present. The ministry has remained debt free and our heart is that it stays that way. We will not be taking out any loans to rebuild. We truly believe that the Lord will provide all that is needed to rebuild!

COVID 19 has deeply impacted the cost of building materials. With volunteer labor to do the actual construction, we are looking at around $100,000 to build the house. The cost for building materials has skyrocketed as you can well imagine!

How can you help? First and foremost, pray. Pray for wisdom and guidance. Pray for healing and peace. Pray for His provision to accomplish this task that is before us. It is not ours, but His to do according to His will and purpose.

Due to many who have already generously given financially, we already have $30,000 in the building fund. We will build as we can, as the funds come in, and trust that we can complete this project quickly so we can return to the farm. We have been so blessed with temporary housing and are thankful for this provision from Mount Zion Church, here in Bemidji.

Along with the building supply costs, we will also need of physical help from carpenters, electricians, painters, plumbers and so forth. To keep costs down, it will take those who have these gifts and talents to help us.

Again, we are so thankful to those that have already given financial gifts! If you are able to make a financial contribution towards the rebuild, donations can be made via PayPal (benisrael.org/donate) and please indicate that it is for the fire fund or, sent it directly to the farm and mark for the FIRE FUND.

All donations can be sent to:

Ben Israel Fellowship
c/o Fire Fund
43237 Cass Line Road
Laporte, MN 56461

If you can help with the building construction, please send an email to bifellowship [at] gmail [dot] com and please put FIRE REBUILD in the subject line. This will be passed on to Keith and others who will be organizing the team(s). You can also send us a letter with your availability and how you could help at the above address.

I will continue to place updates here and on Facebook page. Please feel free to contact us with any questions!

We know that from the ashes, beauty will rise.

In His love and grace,

Keith and Sissie
Ben Israel Fellowship

Beauty From Ashes

We REALLY needed a handicapped house/home to take care of Keith’s grandmother and, we have been provided the most beautiful apartment that we were given the keys to today! It’s absolutely amazing and leaving me in tears. Which happens a lot…several times a day!

Relationships are being restored. Broken hearts are being healed through all this that we have experience personally. The community has gathered around us to take care of us and it’s just been unimaginable to fathom all that has taken place.

Our neighbors and family here on the farm took grandma into their homes and cared for her for the first two days, providing the love and support and attention she needed. She has been traumatized by this and we are seeing effects of this now in some symptoms of significant dementia which we are hoping will clear once we get her settled into a better environment for her.

We could not do this without the army that has been risen up to surround us and care for us!! I tagged some of the people who have been key in all this!

I wish I had the time to sit and acknowledge and thank every single person who is reached out to us with food, gifts, clothing, financial donations, prayers, texts, visits, hugs, shared tears…but it’s just not possible so my hope is that you know how loved and appreciated each of you are!

Tomorrow will be moving day for us. My mind is having a difficult time settling tonight as it’s racing and going through things, just like it’s done every single day since the fire. This is not the first battle we have faced as a family and we will get through this!

This is far from over…BUT out of the ashes, life and beauty will rise!

Isaiah 61…

He will provide for those who grieve
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair

Urgent Prayer Needed

Saints, we are requesting urgent prayer. I just received a call from Sissie that their home burned down. Everybody got out and is safe but 28 years of memories are gone. We need to all lift up the Pennel family in this hour. They are so good to so many people and have been faithful to the ministry that God has called them to. More updates will be posted here and on the website at a later time. Until then, please be in prayer.