On January 13th Bat-El “Betty” Tegen held a launch event for her debut book. It is the first book ever that is written in Hebrew by a Messianic believer for Messianic teenagers in Israel.
The book is called “Believe… that there is another way.” On the backside of the book, it says that this book will “show you how the Scriptures can directly influence your daily life and lead you to healthy relationships with God, yourself, your parents and your friends.”
Tegen is 24 years old and has worked with children and youth for many years. The book has grown out of her own struggles as a teenager, but also based on what she has seen among the youth of today. It is a short book of only 120 pages with short to-the-point chapters. Each chapter ends with a summary and some questions for self-reflection.
There are two unique features of the book, making it more relevant for the younger generation. One of them is that the text incorporates emojis. The other is that the text includes references to YouTube videos through QR-codes.
During the book launch event, after having signed hundreds of copies, she took to the stage and thanked everyone who came. She said that she hopes that the book will be a blessing. It is intended for teenagers, youth, soldiers as well as grown-ups. The book includes chapters on several relevant subjects. How to deal with failures, how to accept the faith despite evil in the world, how to manage fights among friends, relationships with parents and family, and more. She also said that the book deals with what to do when you feel that “I don’t receive answers to my prayers,” and “I don’t feel God’s presence in my life.” At the end of the book there is a QR-code to a feedback form.
“Please don’t laugh,” she said. “I just want to know how the book is accepted, and which parts work and which don’t. It will be important for me to know for my next book.”
After her talk, her pastor, Tal Shiferaw, took to the stage and gave a speech in Amharic. Tegen was visibly embarrassed when she had to translate his flattering words to Hebrew. “This woman is a great blessing,” he said. “She is a great asset to the Ethiopian congregations and for the Messianic Body in Israel as a whole. On the Sabbaths in the congregation she would often stay longer to pray, and there were even days when she did full night-prayer sessions. I am sure she will reach far, with God’s help.”
The evening ended with a worship service in both Amharic and Hebrew.
Tegen was three years old when she came to Israel from Ethiopia in 1998. In an article, published in a local Jerusalem newspaper in December 2019, she recounts how other kids would pick at her in school. “It was horrible. For the first two years I was the only black person in the school, except the cleaners,” she says. “The other kids would spit at me and lock me in the bathroom.”
After finishing high school she went to a combined military-academic path that combines law school with practical work in the army. Today she is an officer and a military prosecutor. In addition, she often visits Israeli schools and teaches about the Ethiopian-Jewish holiday Sigd and Ethiopian heritage. In 2016, when she was a law-student in the Hebrew University, she petitioned the government about the inequality that makes it harder for Ethiopians to attend higher studies. Through her work in the army and academics she has had the opportunity to share the gospel many times and has done so boldly. Many people who have heard her speak have said that the sky is the limit for her, and she just might end up in the Israeli government.
For more information and to order the book contact Betty Tegen at [email protected].