The ministry of Emmaus Way was birthed by Arni and Yonit Klein in response to a word from the Lord to Arni in 1986 saying, “I have called you to worship and evangelism and not to church administration. Worship is the response to the Presence of the Lord, and evangelism is the natural outgrowth of a life of worship.” In 1989, in keeping with a word we’d received twelve years earlier, we made our first trip to Israel. Straight away, the Lord told us both (independently) that we were to immigrate within three years.
In the spring of the following year, 1990, at the urging of our pastor David Wilkerson, I (arni) set out for a month in Israel to seek the Lord concerning His plan for out future. The morning after my arrival, while out walking above the Sea of Galilee, the Spirit of the Lord directed me to the parable of the king who gave the banquet to which the invited guests didn’t come. While considering the story, I heard the words, “Don’t you think I want this land filled with people praising me when I return? The people here [meaning the believers in Israel] had better receive whom I send.” At that moment I had no indication that this had anything directly to do with me. However, in seven years, those words would shape the ministry of Emmaus Way.
In the winter of 1997, our fifth year in Israel, after co-producing a music and drama presentation for the streets, recording an album of original Hebrew songs for seekers, publishing my testimony in Hebrew, and helping plant a new congregation, the Lord directed us to leave all of that and prepare a place for His Presence. The vision was of a Tabernacle dedicated to meeting with Him, including accommodations to house worshipers and intercessors from Israel and the nations. After some months of praying and waiting, we received a large contribution and began to search for then right location. Looking to the countryside, we visited over thirty possible locations without finding anything suitable.
In April of 1998, the same donor that gave us the gift purchased a large facility in the center of Tel Aviv to bless the Messianic community and house the Worship Center. Following extensive renovations, the Center opened in the Spring of 2000. To make a long story very short, things developed differently than we expected. By early 2005, after investing all we had into the vision, our time in Tel Aviv came to an end. Though it was unforeseen, we sensed that the Lord was going before us.
Our need was formidable…dwellings for: two couples, a family of four, a single man, a single woman, and an office…all within shouting distance…somewhere in the countryside between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem…immediately.
In response to an ad in the paper, we went to see a house on Moshav Nes Harim (where we have lived since then). That house was not at all what we were looking for. As we got into our vehicles to return to the city a lady came walking up the path. I heard the words, “Get out of the car and go talk with her.” So I asked if she knew of any places for rent. She replied, “Yes, I have two.” As it turned out, between her and her husband and their son, they had four apartments big enough to accommodate all of our needs. As we related our story of our vision and our belief in Yeshua to them, our prospective landlords could not help but acknowledge the hand of the Lord in the whole matter. It was an amazing moment. They asked what assurance we could give that we’d be able to pay for all the places. We told them straight out that we had no money and lived by faith from month to month. But since we God had obviously brought us there, He would certainly pay for it. On the heels of that declaration, this secular unbelieving landlord accepted us as tenants.
A few months after we moved in, the owner decided to finish construction on the two uncompleted levels of the house and asked if we wanted to rent them. In counsel with our Board we sensed the Lord’s leading to go ahead. Amazingly, the owner agreed to turn the additional units into a Tabernacle for worship, a room for prayer, three apartments for guests, and give us a ten-year lease. And for the next six years we continued to welcome guests to this wonderful facility in the beautiful historic hills of Judea.
As time went on, more and more individuals and groups took advantage of what the Lord had put together. It got to the point where it was more than we could handle. But since we were tied to a ten-year contract, we had no choice but to press on. Then, virtually out of nowhere, some ultra orthodox group from a near by community hearing there was a Messianic center in Nes Harim began pressing our landlord to evict us. In the end we were constrained to agreed to discontinue the guest/worship center and just keep our dwelling, the worship space, on one other apartment. Our ten-year lease was cancelled and we remained on a year-to-year basis. Once that was all settled, the persecution disappeared as quickly as it had arisen. God is great at using even satan to do His will.
Since 2000, our ministry has been mainly in the nations or with folks from the nations in the Land. Neither of us ever really wanted to travel…except to Hawaii and Alaska (which we have done). Since 2003 Arni has made about eighty trips to Germany alone. Though without question it has been a blessed and fruitful time, the longing in our heart to directly serve the body in the Land has never gone away.
Then, suddenly, in early July 2013, skyping between Munich and Israel, in a moment, we knew it was time to shift our energies towards the home front and join ourselves to the community of believers living in the Galilee. Having never before spoken of moving from our paradisiacal Judean dwelling, our hearts were simultaneously uprooted and transplanted to the village of Poriya Illit in hills around Tiberias, and connected to the believers at MorningStar Congregation meeting in the heart of the city. (At this writing we anticipate our move by mid June.)
To be continued…..