Oasis Newsletter

Oasis Volume 12, Issue 3

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.

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 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 over one million 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.

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.”

Editor’s note: Johannes Englehardt is a long time  friend  of  the  Tents  of  Mercy network.  In February of this year he invited a delegation from Tents of Mercy and Shavei Tsion congregations to participte in a special conference in his home city of Düsseldorf. Here is his story.
In  1988  Düsseldorf  and  Haifa  joined together  as  “twin  cities”,  agreeing to  cultural exchanges  and  political friendship. This was a positive move towards building  relations  between  Germans  and Israelis  but  God  had  something  even  better planned  for  us.  In  November  2001,  Eitan Shishkoff,  visited  Düsseldorf,    the  state capital  of  NRW (North-Rhine-Westphalia). The  following  spring,  Leon  Mazin  came our  way  to  continue  this  spiritual  “bridge building”.  For  me  and  my  family  these encounters  were  the  beginning  of  a  strong personal connection to Israel. It was the first seed of personal relationship between Yeshua believing  Jews  and  Christians  of  both  cities. It  was  the  impetus  for  the  establishment  of our  ministry,  “Bridge-Haifa  Düsseldorf  eV” in April 2002.

Day of Prayer “NRW for Israel” in Düsseldorf

In  2007,  we  inaugurated  the  annual  “Day  of  Prayer  for  Israel”.  This  event  is held at  different  locations  in  North  Rhine-Westphalia. This year we had the privilege of  hosting the Day of Prayer, “NRW for Israel”,  in our city. We invited eight Messianic Jews,
young pastors and youth leaders from Tents  of  Mercy  and  Shavei  Tsion  to  participate
in  this  day  of  prayer  –  especially  as  bridge builders  towards the young generations.
On  Friday  evening,  we  had  a  Shabbat celebration  together  with  our  Israeli  guests
in a local Christian Highschool. Liliya, from Tents of Mercy lit the Shabbat candles. We
sang  and  prayed  together  and  we  sensed  in our  spirits  that  Yeshua,  the  King  of  Israel, was in our midst.
When  Pastors  Dima  L.  (Shavei  Tsion) and  Avishalom  Tekle  (Tents  of  Mercy),  spoke  the  blessing  over  the  wine  and  the bread,  we  felt  the  love  and  presence  of  our Creator and our Saviour Yeshua. We realized that we are all bound together in expectation of  His  second  coming  as  King  of  Israel.  We had  a  splendid  time  of  fellowship  on  this Shabbat evening – a good start in anticipation of our day of prayer.

On Saturday, Christians and Jews, young and  old,  Israelis,  Germans  and  expats  from other  nations  gathered  to  prayer  for  Israel.  The  aim  of  the  conference  was  that prayer for  the  country  and  the  people  of  Israel would  become  a  priority  in  our  country. This  includes  in  particular,  to  strengthen the  existing  ministries  for  Israel  and  Israel Prayer  groups  in  North  Rhine-Westphalia. Our  expectation    was  to  see  local  believers take  the  initiative,  to  be  “watchmen  on  the walls of Jerusalem”.
Framed in praise and prayer, accompanied by  refreshing  flag  dances,  our  guests  from Israel  were  introduced  to  the  assembly. A  diary  of  a  Survivor  of  the  Holcaust  was recited and we remembered the crimes of our ancestors,  especially  those  committed  in  the city  of  Düsseldorf.  These  included  slander, persecution,  expulsion  and  the  murder  of many  Jews.  Walter  Tholen,  who  grew  up during  that  time,  asked  for  forgiveness  on behalf of us all. Some of us gave testimony of how God has touched and opened our eyes to his beloved nation of Israel. Others presented their  specific  ministries  for  Israel.  I greatly appreciate  that  members  of  many  different Christian  congregations,  denominations  and diverse  nationalities  of  many  parts  of  the country participated in this prayer day.

School Partnership with Haifa

The  Free  Christian  Highschool Düsseldorf  not  only  provided  us  with  a lovely auditorium    for  the  event  but  was also  involved  in  the  activites: “Since  the beginning  of  this  year  there  is  an  official school  partnership  with  Israel,”  said  Dr. Ulrich Marienfeld,  head  of  the  school,  “and we  expect  a  group  of  Ironi  Gimel  School
students  from  Haifa  to  visit  with  us  in March.”  Students  under  the  direction  of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Heinrich took care of the catering of the participants and Herm-Dieter set up a first class cheese counter.

Comments from Participants

Ulrich Freischlad, an active supporter of the prayer day, said: “When we pray together
as  Christians  and  Jews  for  Israel,  then  we trust  that  God  will  act,  even  for  His  people and lead Israel to the conclusion of its God-ordained  history.”  He  also  stressed  that  the organizers  were  committed  to    awaken  an awareness of the Israel mandate among local Christian congregations.
“Interest  in  the  land  and  the  people  of Israel  is  far from  being  alive  in  all  churches and congregations”, noted visitor Elke Sauer. “There  are  so  many  Christians  who  do  not understand how important it is for Israel, but everyone  counts  who  prays  for  Israel. Many are not bold enough to show it. – But Israel is in my heart. As a Christian, it is a duty to pray for Israel and the Jews, that’s why I’m here. ”

Prayer Points

The  highlight  of  the  event  was Avishalom  Tekle’s message  and  the  prayer time  that  followed. Avishalom:  “I  believe that in our relationship, God put a potential of blessing. God still has a common purpose with our nations and we are aware that this is what we are doing today. That is, to build relationship,  to  restore  the  foundations  of our  relationship  back  again.    Our  destiny  is to be connected – not separated.” And in the context of Isaiah 58:12, Avishalom declared: “From  generation  to  generation  God  will build  a  new  foundation.  We  pray  that  God raises  up  a  new  generation  and  that  He shows us how we can serve each other.”

After  Avishalom’s  message  the conference  split  into  seven  well-attended prayer groups in order to interceed for Israel in  the  context  of  Avishalom’s  exhortation. We were  encouraged  to  move  forward  with this  new  relationship  that  the  God  of  Israel is forging between us.

Final Service

The  event  concluded  with  a  worship-service led by Düsseldorf ’s Jewish-Messianic
congregation,    “Beit  Hesed”.  Dima  L.,  from Shavei  Tsion  spoke,  “When  I  received  the invitation  to  visit  Germany,  I  didn’t  know why  I  should  come  to  this  country,  but when  I  came  here  and  I’ve  seen  that  fire in  you,  how  you  pray  for  Israel  and  how
important  it  is  for  you.  When  I  saw  this love,  I  understood  that  we  are  not  alone  in Israel.”  Dima Siroy, pastor of the Düsseldorf Beit-Hesed-Congregation  petitioned  our Heavenly Father: “Bless these young people, and bless us through them!”

God is Building Relationships
We see clearly that the visit of our friends from  Israel  was  a  great  blessing  for  us  here
in  North  Rhine-Westphalia  to  deepen  and enlarge our existing relations – far beyond the day  of  prayer.  The  prayer  day  was  followed by  invitations  to  our  Israeli  guests  from several  congregations  in  the  country.  We believe this is a sign of the expansion of our relationship with one another. The following day, in the city of Cologne, Avishalom spoke to an Ethiopian congregation and Andrey G. gave a testimony.

“NRW for Israel”
The organizer of the prayer day, “NRW for Israel” is an initiative of committed Christians and  Messianic  Jews  from  North  Rhine-Westphalia. In the past six years we have come together  as  a  group  –  working  and  praying. The role of Messianic Jews within this group has advanced. As a result of true partnership, fear and suspicion has been overcome. Rather, Jews and Christians have experienced joy and gratitude  that  the  Messiah  has  removed  the dividing  fence  (Eph.  2:14).  We  can  clearly see  that  theological,  national,  and  cultural differences  are  fading  when  we  unite  in  the name of Yeshua to worship the God of Israel and to pray for His land.”
A  young  man  of  the  Jewish-Messianic congregation in Düsseldorf, commented: “It  was great  …  Next  time  –  and  there must  definitely  be  a  next  time  –  we  should spend  far  more  time  with  our  guests  from Israel. A night of prayer for the youth would be cool, and even more worship and prayer during the morning session. “ May the God of Israel answer this young man’s  request  and  add  His  blessing  to  our “Next Time”.

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