The Bnei Menashe and the Lord of the Harvest

By Benjamin Levitt,
Jewish Voice Lead International Logistics Manager

DATELINE: Churachandpur, Manipur, India
Saturday, November 5, 2011

Silence . . .

Silence is all we hear as we take ten minutes to stop speaking and look out over the broad valley of Churachandpur from Prayer Mountain where we commissioned the clinic week in prayer only six days ago. It seems like a month…

As we cease from our work this past week, enter into Shabbat, and rest in what the Lord has done during this year’s Manipur clinic, we hear only the birds chirping and the occasional wisp of wind. We are all “spent” but content at the same time; exhausted, yet somehow joyful and full of the Lord.

As we worship together and then sit in silence, several team members agree that they sense, if not clearly hear, the Lord’s pleasure and satisfaction in our labor of love these past five days. This is not the kind of empty exhaustion that comes from spinning our wheels, attending to our own devices, pursuing our own pleasures and comforts for personal gain. This is the pregnant exhaustion of having partnered with the living God of Israel according to His heart and His purposes, having spent ourselves on behalf of the poor and needy, and having proclaimed good news and release to the captives and the hopeless—having comforted His People, as Isaiah commanded, knowing the seeds that were sown will bear much fruit—in Churachandpur, in Israel, and in eternity.

At the hospital below the mountain, where only 24 hours before 180 volunteers served more than 1,000 needy patients, all is quiet as well. The tents stand empty. The clinician rooms are vacant. The waiting lines made of rope and bamboo, where hundreds queued up yesterday hoping to be seen by “an American doctor,” are empty as well. It’s a vestige of the week’s wonderful campaign and a reminder for the townspeople.

We rejoiced together as we shared the final results of the clinic: 6,430 patients were seen and treated; 3,583 of those patients agreed to visit the prayer room where they were prayed for and ministered to for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, and where the Good News of Yeshua the Jewish Messiah was shared with them in their own language; 316 of those visitors received Yeshua, and 57 of those identified themselves to us as “Bnei Menashe”—part of the “Lost” tribe of Manasseh. Hallelujah! These numbers are wonderful and are a reflection of the selfless dedication of a wonderful team of staff and volunteers from the United States, Africa, and India.

But they don’t tell the whole story. Some of the most important “results” of this year’s Manipur outreach cannot be quantified in numbers or statistics. How many people sensed their value for the first time in years as they were cared for individually by trained medical professionals and prayed for by those whom they had never met? How many families were restored as they received healing prayer? How much suffering was relieved as infections and chronic pain were treated by our doctors? How many pregnancies were saved as women beheld their unborn baby on the screen of the ultrasound machine at the clinic? How many Bnei Menashe learned that they were, in fact, not “forgotten” or “lost” but that the Lord knew exactly where they have been and sent Jewish Voice as a bearer of glad tidings and a comforter, to seek them out and find them—to return them to the Lord and prophetically prepare the way for their return to the Land of Israel as the prophets foretold? These are “results” we may never know in full until we meet Yeshua, that Great Shepherd of the Sheep, in glory.

Isaac*, our key contact and a leader in the Bnei Menashe community, came to the clinic on Thursday. He and his mother received much-needed medical treatment. And under the banyan tree in the hospital parking lot, in the low afternoon sun, Rabbi Jack Zimmerman shared with them both about Yeshua our Jewish Messiah. Isaac prayed with Rabbi Jack to receive Yeshua. Hooray and Hallelujah for this incredible spiritual victory. The Lord removed the veil—something only He could do. Pray for Isaac, as he needs discipleship and boldness to grow in His newfound faith and to stand against pressures from without and within to deny the One He has embraced. Pray also for his mother, who prayed as well.

On Thursday night, we were treated to a presentation few, if any, North Americans have ever seen. Twenty Bnei Menashe made their way up dark roads to the guest house where we were staying and, under the moonlight and several flood lights fastened to pine trees, they performed for us. They sang and danced the songs and dances they have known for hundreds of years (or more). Even our local hosts had never seen these particular dances nor heard these songs before, as they are unique to this “peculiar people”—the Manmasi. They wore tribal warrior outfits common to the tribes of Northeast India, but something was different. Stitched into their tribal sashes were large light blue stars of David! As they beat their drum solemnly and danced slowly, one of the elders—a cantar of sorts—sang their story. While I did not understand the words, as I watched I could not help but feel that the pages of the history of the Lost Tribe of Manasseh—hidden to the world for centuries—were being unsealed and read aloud to us. It was never more clear to me that these were indeed some of the scattered sheep of the House of Israel, and that the Lord had divinely directed us to them for such a time as this, opening a door normally shut to Believers and to the world. Wow!  The relationship formed this week was a direct answer to months of prayer.

Today, as we drive down the pothole-laden, one-and-a-half lane road from Churachandpur back to the Manipuri capital of Imphal to begin our multi-day journey to the other side of the earth, we look again at the rice and wheat fields we beheld ready for the harvest only ten days ago. Most of them are now reaped. At the corners of empty fields, weary but content harvesters sit on top of piles of harvested rice and grain, identifying it as their own, rejoicing in the bounty, and protecting it from theft, guarding what has been reaped so no enemy may steal it away.

I can’t help but identify with them. The fields have, in large part, been reaped in Churachandpur. Many souls have been won for Yeshua. And He will be faithful to protect this harvest, losing none of those the Father has given Him. Ours is only to pray for fruit that will remain, and to pray the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers into the harvest fields of Churachandpur between now and next October to continue the good work. Amen.

Pray for the Bnei Menashe and their neighbors. Pray that the seeds of the Gospel would continue to fall on good soil. Pray for speedy aliyah for the Bnei Menashe to Israel and that this would not be coupled with rabbinical pressure from Israel to deny the Messiah Yeshua. Pray that the Lord would continue to open and close doors for Jewish Voice in this critical hour—that He would shoot us as an arrow into the heart of His work in the world among the Jewish People.

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1 Comment

  1. manohar

     /  November 10, 2011

    i love jews..i also wanna be helpful to jews of my country

    Reply

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