Sometimes it just takes one small step of obedience to God to make a big difference for many people. Accordingly, one couple’s obedience – in a situation of which they had little knowledge – has made it possible for more than 1,000 Ethiopian Jews to return to Israel.
In 2013, the Israeli government declared the “end of Ethiopian aliyah,” thereby separating Ethiopian families from relatives who had already immigrated to Israel. Suddenly family members would not be eligible to reunite in the Jewish state.
After many protests and much lobbying, the decision was overruled and in August 2016 the government agreed to bring the remaining 9,000 Falash Mura (Ethiopian Jews who were pressured to convert to Christianity) to Israel over a period of several years. The first group arrived in October.
Aliyah – Jewish immigration to Israel – involves, in many cases, a lengthy and complicated screening process especially from places like Ethiopia where official documentation of one’s Judaism is almost nonexistent.
After being approved for aliyah, immigrants begin the process of traveling to Israel and being settled and absorbed into their new homes.
The entire endeavor is costly and the government depends on financial donations from organizations and private donors to ensure a smooth transition for the nation’s new citizens.
One such generous benefactor is the Seeds Foundation based in Hong Kong and founded by Christian entrepreneurs and philanthropists Roy Chen and Yuk Lynn Chen Woo. Their substantial contributions have brought Ethiopian Jews to Israel to fulfill what they believe is obedience to God’s calling.
Last year the couple visited both Ethiopia and Israel to meet the Falash Mura still waiting to come to Israel, and nearly 1,400 new immigrants in Israel that they had sponsored from 2012 to 2013.
At the time God put it on their hearts to facilitate Ethiopians aliyah, the couple wondered why God would use them as they weren’t even aware of the complications surrounding Ethiopian immigration to Israel. But through a series of revelations, they came to believe that God was using the Torah to prove to the Falash Mura that every word is true and using foreigners to bring the Jews back to Israel, as written in Isaiah 60:11.
It shall come to pass in that day
That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time
To recover the remnant of His people who are left,
From Assyria and Egypt,
From Pathros and Kush (Ethiopia),
Chen explained that the journey included revelation through scripture and divine appointments plus much prayer. They were impressed by Isaiah 11:11 and Psalm 68. Isaiah talks about God bringing back his children from the four corners of the world including from Kush, or Ethiopia. At the time, the Chens had no idea what or where that was. It is the psalm that David sang when he brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem – verse 31 specifies Kush with some Bible translations saying Ethiopia.
Envoys will come out of Egypt;
Kush (Ethiopia) will quickly stretch out her hands to God.
This was confirmed at a meeting in Hong Kong with a few Israeli businessmen. Chen happened to sit next to Yair Shamir, son of Yitzhak Shamir, the prime minister who had authorized Operation Solomon – a covert project that airlifted 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1991.
Another divine appointment came when Chen’s cousin invited them to a meeting where they met Moodi Sandberg, the world chairman of KH-UIA, and leaders of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus.
Now recognized benefactors of the Jewish state, the Chens however didn’t always have Israel on their theological radar.
“It was only after listening to teachings about Israel through the likes of Asher Intrater that we even became aware of the significance of Israel in God’s end-time plans,” Chen told KNI. “Even then, we needed to really pray for a personal revelation of the Father’s affections towards Israel.”
Their support of Israel got more specific through prayer and many “downloads” regarding the Ethiopian Jews.
“We didn’t even know there were Jews in Ethiopia” at the time, Chen said.
“We were asked by the Lord if we would agree to give 51 percent of our income in 2006 to which we responded affirmatively,” he said.
The couple established the Seeds Foundation in order for them to give “in a more deliberate and systematic fashion.”
“The Foundation was set up in 2009 but we were giving before then – just not very well,” Chen said.
The Seeds Foundation has provided scholarships for higher education to a number of promising youth from the existing Ethiopian community in Israel.
Despite having no prior knowledge of Ethiopia or the Jewish community there, the Chens are now living out what God showed them in Isaiah 60 about God using foreigners to bring the Jews back to Israel. They are a living confirmation of God’s word to these people.
“Can you imagine the affirmation we gave these people?” Chen asked. “Whatever man says is not important. It’s what God is saying and He is telling them that ‘I’m going to do what I promised, and you are my children,’ and I’m going to do it through these foreigners, who didn’t even know you existed.”
Foreigners will build up your walls,
And their kings will minister to you;
For in My wrath I struck you,
And in My favor I have had compassion on you.
Your gates will be open continually;
They will not be closed day or night,
So that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations,
With their kings led in procession.
About 9000 Ethiopian Jews are still patiently waiting to make aliyah, living in squalid conditions in Ethiopia. Many of them have waited for 20 years. About 4000 died at the camp in Gondar while waiting. The Israeli Government is trying to bring these remaining remnants back over the next five years at a cost of over USD 1 million each year. Please pray to see if the Lord is moving you to help with this effort and the fulfillment of biblical prophecies.