Has it already been nine months since the Second B’ney Yosef North America Summit? Indeed it has! We came away from Mesa, Arizona with a renewed sense of purpose, a deeper commitment to one another, and profound gratitude and awe at our Creator for moving so mightily upon us. We are embarked on a holy endeavor, and as Elder Frank Houtz has said, it is perilous to touch a holy thing.
This is no idle talk. BYNA’s leaders and affiliates understand that when YHVH says He will restore all of Israel, His holy nation, He means it. That is why the Apostle Peter admonished his readers:
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (1 Peter 1:14-16, referring to Leviticus 11:44, 47, 19:2, and 20:7)
It is also why the Apostle Paul quoted Hosea, saying,
What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea,
“I WILL CALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, ‘MY PEOPLE,’ AND HER WHO WAS NOT BELOVED, ‘BELOVED.'”
“AND IT SHALL BE THAT IN THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS SAID TO THEM, ‘YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE,’ THERE THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF THE LIVING GOD.” (Romans 9:22-27, quoting Hosea 2:23 and 1:10)
It is no light or easy thing to assert our Hebrew identity, yet is that not the identity the scriptures ascribe to us? The core of the nation of Israel is Jewish, yet Israel remains incomplete until the other tribes come in – and none of them are Jewish. And as long as Israel remains incomplete, the covenant promises of the Almighty remain unfulfilled, His Name is not fully glorified, and creation continues to question His ability to come through on His prophesied work of redemption. Considering those very high stakes, we dare not do otherwise than proclaim that Ephraim is alive and well, and do all that we can to awaken and connect that portion of the Ephraimite people here in North America.
What, then, have we done in this holy calling for the last nine months? Quite a bit! Here is a list of the most prominent actions:
− Core Values, Mission, Vision, and Strategies. In May, we published the
statements explaining our purpose, the ways we expect to achieve it, and the
standards we follow. These statements are posted on our website in a special edition of our newsletter called “Watching the Baby Grow.”
− Weekly Prayer Call. Each Thursday, a group of intercessors meets by telephone to learn about and pray for BYNA’s needs. The hour-long call includes praise and worship, discussion of selected passages of scripture, and an update on BYNA’s activities. To find out more, send an email email@example.com.
− Reunion Roadmap – BYNA’s Radio Program. At the invitation of Eddie
Chumney, we developed the concept for a radio program to air on Hebraic
Heritage Radio. Reunion Roadmap features interviews with “ordinary folks” – people who have answered the call to pursue Torah as followers of Messiah Yeshua. All of our guests have unique stories that bring inspiration and encouragement, and illustrate the common threads in this Torah Awakening coordinated by the Ruach Hakodesh. In addition, the show presents original music by gifted Hebraic musicians, as well as midrash segments in which our Elders share their insights on a variety of topics. Reunion Roadmap airs on Hebraic Heritage Radio at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on Saturday and Sunday nights, and on Hebrew Nation Radio at 9:00 p.m. Pacific. Podcasts of past shows are available on the BYNA website.
− Social Media Presence. BYNA has a Facebook page! There you can find posts of upcoming events, links to our newsletter and podcasts, and more. We have plans to expand to other social media platforms as we have volunteers to manage them.
− National Shabbat. Our flagship initiative remains the National Shabbat. The family gatherings, which began in North Georgia in 2015, are now regular events at many places. Visit the National Shabbat website to register for a login and find out more!
*− 40 Days of Repentance: “The Progression of a Repentant Heart.”* For the second year in a row, BYNA offered a series of daily meditations on teshuva (repentance) during the 40 days leading up to Yom Kippur. This year the meditations featured personal observations and testimonies by our Elders and Administrators. Visit our website to see these daily meditations, and to receive our newsletter!
− Restructuring and Expansion of the Governing Body. Our Governing Body are our Elders and the Administrative Council (previously called the Executive Council). Early this summer, Dr. David Sloss resigned his position as Elder as he and his wife, Marian, accepted a call to a new Kingdom assignment. At about the same time, BYNA welcomed Dr. Iglahliq Suuqiina as our newest Elder. Suuqiina and his wife, Qaumaniq, have labored many years in their ministry, Indigenous Messengers International.
The Administrative Council is also undergoing some changes. Strategic Prayer Directors Tommy and Dorothy Wilson are preparing to step down after having coordinated prayer for BYNA since before we came into existence as an organization. The Prayer Directors bear the burdens of our entire community, and therefore fill what is likely the most difficult leadership position. In recognition of this, we have collectively decided that the Prayer Directors should serve a term of two years, rotating out to take a much-needed rest and allow others to carry the burden. The selection process of the Wilsons’ successors is ongoing, and we hope to have the new Directors in place before the end of 2017.
In addition, we are adding a new leadership position: a Community Development Director who will oversee and coordinate a number of activities, including commerce, marketing, business development, and community enrichment. This is an integrative position that will add a new dynamic to the Administrative Council and, we believe, greatly enhance BYNA’s abilities to serve our people. We also hope to have this position filled before the end of this year.
− Bylaws and Affiliation Procedures. Every organization needs Bylaws to govern its functions. A committee of Elders and Administrators has drafted Bylaws for BYNA, and now they are under review by the Governing Body. We anticipate approval before the end of Sukkot. After that, we will draft procedures to enable congregations, fellowships, ministries and other organizations, and individuals to affiliate with BYNA and join with us in this exciting work!
− Financial Policy. The experience of the Second Summit taught us many valuable lessons. Most Messianic conferences do not produce operating expenses, but leave the sponsor with a debt rather than a surplus. The Summit was no exception. We took up an offering at the Summit which drastically reduced the debt and we were blessed by your generosity, but sadly it did not fully cover all expenses. To avoid such a consequence in the future, we established a financial policy which says BYNA will not plan major events like a Summit unless we have the finances to pay the costs. As you may imagine, this places a strict limit on the activities we can do, but it is a wise policy based in Torah which will bring greater benefits in the long run.
As we look back over the developments of the last nine months, we are in awe of what our Father has enabled us to do. Most of it is done by our small family of 16 Elders and Administrators, along with our spouses and a handful of volunteers. We have no regular income other than donations, and resources other than our computers and smartphones. Are we having an impact for the Kingdom? That is what we rely on you to tell us.
We also rely on you for help. Please prayerfully consider giving to BYNA. We can receive donations online through our Donations Page. We can also receive checks mailed to:
B’ney Yosef North America
PO Box 298
Newberry, SC 29108
Eventually we hope to be generating income through business ventures, but for now donations are our only source of financing. In addition, we are always looking for volunteers to help with a number of tasks. If you would like to help, or if you have ideas to share, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Above all, please pray for B’ney Yosef North America! We covet your prayers to ensure we remain on the path the Almighty has placed before us, and to overcome the trials we face each day on this journey. It is a labor of love, and the calling of a lifetime which we invite you to enter into alongside us!