Today…what a day today should have been…a day to celebrate the birth of this amazing man. My Papa. My Dad. My friend. My supporter. My encourager. My praying Father. Husband. Papa. Father-In-Law. Grandpa. Friend.
He would have been 91 today. This June it will be 13 years since he was called home.
The ground is frozen and covered in feet of snow. There is no physical way to get to his his final resting place to leave anything in remembrance of this special day.
But I will always remember him in my heart. This year as much as the first year. Maybe even more so.
27 years ago, Keith and I married on my Dad’s birthday. What a joy is was to stop at our wedding and celebrate with him, his birthday.
20 years ago on nearly this same date, we found out I had breast cancer. Seven years after that, we found out he was sick with a terminal diagnosis. 13 years ago, he left this earth. Little did we know then, that those years would hold SUCH significance.
Now it’s the early morning hours on a bitter cold winter day (-45 with the windchill factor!) and my thoughts go fondly to him with love, my heart still aching with sadness over his loss.
There is so much about him that I wish all of you could have known. There is a book in there somewhere, just waiting to be written.
You that knew him, knew him as a teacher, evangelist, prophet, church lead, author.
I knew him as Dad. My Dad who took care of me, who cared for me, who wept with me when my heart was devastated by the breakup of my first relationship, the proud Papa who rejoiced with me at the marriage to the man who he felt was my perfect match, the heart broken Father who silently wept in the presence of friends when he found out I had cancer, the Pappy who cherished his grandchildren (and especially rejoiced with us at the birth of our only child Sarah), the man who treasured life, who wanted to keep on living but was willing to go in obedience to the will of His maker.
This is the man I wish you all could have known and the one whom I will honor and love.
This is the Daddy who I will celebrate, remember and honor on every February 13th. This is my Papa.
In honor of HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY: The inmates had not understood what was happening during the first 30 minutes or so after we took over Dachau. Now they were beginning to realize that we were the good guys and that they have been liberated. Some of them began yelling and shouting. The cheers of the few soon grew to become a deafening roar throughout the camp. “These are the ones we save,“ I thought as chills ran through my body. They were crowding together, reaching through the fences, laughing, crying, singing, holding their arms high in the air, and embracing each other while looking at us in disbelief, almost unable to grasp that their day of liberation – their exodus – was at hand. Just then, as if on some celestial clue, the sun broke through the clouds, sending shafts of light and color over the entire camp. Darkness of been defeated by light. And the prisoners, squinting into that brilliance, reached out to us and wept tears of joy. Their agony was over. But for us, the liberators, our journey into the deepest part of hell was just beginning. ~ Excerpt from “Where the Birds Never Sing”
Please SHARE and remember to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”
Credit to www.TogetherForIsrael.org, founded by Scott Volk.
We’re publishing this article in hopes of recovering some old content that has been lost. Prior to the distribution of DVDs on the website, the video recordings were distributed via VHS tapes. After the fire there was an unprecedented amount of damage and the ministry had to recover everything from copies that individuals had previously owned or purchased. At that time, people sent in their DVDs which were copied and made available again on the website. There are however, 6 known DVDs that we believe have never been recovered. These exist as DVDs and even possibly as VHS tapes. Because we don’t have copies of these, we have no idea what they are titled as. We do know that they are numbered as follows:
DVD-10 DVD-25 DVD-30 DVD-39 DVD-40 DVD-41
If you happen to have any of these DVDs, please get in touch with us as we would love to make this content available to everyone again.
We are also hoping to recover any foreign translations that have been completed over the years so that they can be added to the site where visitors in other countries can easily find distributors for these translations in their native language. If you have translated a book into a foreign language, please contact Sissie via the “Contact” section of the site so we can link your translation here.
It’s Christmas Day night…the gifts have been opened, the celebrations around tables have been had, the wishes for Merry Christmas and Happy New Year have been said.
And now, the night will soon be silent…just like it was at His birth. A silent night. A holy night. A night that changed your life and mine.
We had the opportunity to attend a candlelight service last night and the Pastor of this congregation shared the history of the song “Silent Night”. What an important message and reminder to us all of what this season is all about.
Though Winter has settled in around us, we have not slowed down and continue with the work that presents itself to us. As a side note, we are with Keith’s brother in Arizona for Christmas and for the remainder of this year. Though emails can be checked, book orders will not able to be processed until the second week of January, when I will be back in the office.
What’s ahead in 2020? We will see changes to the AKM website as our faithful Dustin Samko will be working on updating it. We have also added a Twitter and Instagram account as opportunities to reach others.
We added a new Board Member in December! Jessica Gunning is now serving with us. Her expertise with bookkeeping and financial records will be a huge help.
A new family also joined us on the farm in December. Jewell Pretty Weasel along with her husband Hugh and son David moved here from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Jewell recently retired from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and is going to be working with students and staff at the Mokahum Ministry Center in Cass Lake. This is the campus where Keith is now the Director of Education.
We have a few requests we would appreciate your feedback on. If you have transcribed a book into your native language, would you please contact us and let us know which book it is and how someone could reach you to obtain a copy? I will check with Dustin on making this visible to everyone.
On that same note, if you are interested in transcribing a book into a foreign language, please reach out to us is well. There are only a small handful of books available. I am aware of several being worked on, but it is quite a process. We have a few basic requests that we ask you to follow. We would love to hear from you. You do not have to respond in English! We found an amazing app that translates hundreds of languages. Though it is several steps, it can be done!
Final request from the UK…if you are a home fellowship or group that is looking for other believers who are like minded, there are several requests we receive to find these types of connections. Please send us an email with your information and we will pass that on. This will be a huge blessing to other believers!
Hopefully later this Winter, we will post physical needs on the farm to find out in there are individuals or teams who would like to spend time volunteering here and working on projects this Spring or Summer. Resources and finances will be a factor, but God knows our every need and will provide accordingly.
Until the next update, thank you all again for your prayers, your support and your desire to see with us what God’s plan and purpose for the future of this ministry is.
We want to take this opportunity to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and to pray a blessing over the next year.
Soon it will be that time of year where those you love will gather from far and near to celebrate and be thankful for all that He has blessed you with, encouraged you with, brought you through and is even teaching you. I have attached a photo that is both beautiful and deeply significant to me, one that I am thankful for on a much more personal level. It is a representation of my amazing parents, now in their heavenly homes. The maple tree and the bush also known as the “burning bush” are planted between my parents. Originally, both were planted by my mother at the graveside of dad.
The leaves are now gone. The green has faded to brown. The earth is cold and still as Winter sets in. I look out over what used to be a garden and just sit…remembering…pondering…pausing. So many families and individuals had invested themselves with deep commitment to this ministry. The memories and connections are endless. Those days of the ministry will ALWAYS be a framework for the foundation that was built.
I love to be in dad’s office at his desk when I write, a rare moment as you can tell from the frequency of me be able to sit and share again. I tend to push off the other things that need to get done when I am here. This allows me to more deeply reflect on so many years spent in this old farmhouse, in the living room or a shared meal together around the table. My mother was in her element as she loved having people to feed and what a hostess she was! I am so very thankful that she instilled that in me.
I was asked a while back in several emails to share what is actually happening on the farm now. Hopefully with the website changes, updates will come a little more easily! In between, if you have emailed, I have at tried to keep up with responses in a somewhat timely manner and do enjoy hearing from you.
It seems that three very common threads have been present in almost every email I have received in the past months, some very interesting and challenging to respond to. The common questions I receive are…what is happening with the ministry, can we come spend time at the community and what can I tell them about the network of churches that my father often spoke of to help Jews in flight? The first two questions are more easily answered than the third.
So to clarify…the community that once was here and that so many have read of or heard about, does not exist. The “glue” that held the skeletal framework of the community together has been resting in the arms of His father, his physical work on earth done long ago. It was no longer possible to function in the former community lifestyle and changes had to be made.
Does this mean there is no life here? No, it means that life here is different from the days in decades passed. To answer the question of what is happening….that will take a little more elaborating. Unless you like a lot of details, you can skip this and read the end!
When we first moved here four summers ago, we came because we felt we needed to. We, being my husband Keith of now almost 27 years and our daughter, Sarah who is now 23. The two remaining families were leaving and someone needed to be here. Dad, Mom, my sister Emi, Mama Pearl Rose and one of my step nephews are all buried here. The property needed work. Books had to go out, etc…We didn’t come with any ideas or any pretense of how to change things. We simply came out of obedience and the knowledge that someone needed to be here to take care of the property.
And to this day, that remains our heart. Keith has taken up the responsibility of the physical care of the property. There have been a few work crews and very gracious volunteers who have come to help get as much of the property work done as possible and put to order. 40 year plus of people living here has left much to be taken care of with buildings needing work, the barn to painted, the house to be painted inside and out, needs in individual homes with repairs, etc… Books still go out on a regular basis which is a miracle and a blessing as this sustains the property financially. The lodge at the old Camp Dominion is another update, just by itself!
The other current active piece of the ministry (and one the we implemented) is that anyone who is here and staying long term, needs to have a ministry focus. This doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be with Ben Israel, but they need to be actively involved in ministry locally, internationally or somewhere. We have a Pastor and his wife (Dr Rick and Billie Jean Weinert) living here on the farm. He is involved with Oak Hills Bible College in Bemidji and does a significant amount of work with the local pastors. This month, another family who will be working with the Mokahum Ministry Center will be joining us. We have had bible college students and missionaries stay here as well. We do charge a very small amount of rent and everyone that lives here is responsible for meeting their own day to day expenses…a huge change from years ago.
We are waiting on the Lord for what is ahead and feel that at present, our job is to clean up, maintain and be preparing for what is next. What “that” is, we do not know! We also have on our hearts that this is a place of refuge and rest for missionaries or ministers on sabbatical or furlough. How that all would look is still not clear.
We welcome guests when possible, currently on a limited basis and that is mostly due to our schedule. Winter is also a challenging time of year to visit if you have ever been to Northern Minnesota! Keith is the pastor at a local church that we started ten years ago and he is the Director of Education at Mokahum (the local Native American Bible College). His plate it full with all of this so I tend to all the other details which includes updates on the website! I am also a nurse at the hospital, I run the office and I help with our church along with numerous volunteer opportunities. So, life is busy! Sarah is away currently, doing a six month DTS with YWAM but when she is here, she is also actively involved in the life of what we call “the farm”.
The final question and maybe the hardest to answer is, what do we do know of the network of fellowships that were established world wide for those being persecuted in the last days? My answer…I know of a few from old conversations but only a few, none by name. There were several I had heard of. Dad did not tell me of them or who to contact, quite possibly to protect and preserve what had been started? I wish I had a better answer. If you are part of this network and would like to contact me privately and confidentially, please do so. Others are looking for you!
I know that so much has been covered in this “update”. My prayer is that next time, it won’t be as long in coming or as long to read through. Please continue to hold us in your prayers, reach out to us with questions and know that we have been blessed over the years by those who continue to hold us up, those who are seeking more and those who want to know more about life here.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!
With many blessings and thankfulness for each of you,
Sissie (Katz) Pennel Ben Israel Fellowship Art Katz Ministries