Israel Work History (Worldwide Church of God)
I first met Elder Mordakhai Joseph in Jerusalem during my first
Feast of Tabernacles in 1980. Later, when I attended
Sukkot/Tabernacles again with the Worldwide Church of God
in 1982 in Jerusalem, I stayed on as a volunteer at Kibbutz
Ramat Yohanan near Haifa for five more months. Right next
door in Kiryat Ata was where our only member in Israel, Simcha
Gombo lived with her deaf daughter, Michal.
During my initial search for Simcha's home on Hannah Senesh
Street, I "just happened" to ask directions from a young Israeli
reporter who helped me to find her place. Once there he started
talking with her and revealed he was a reporter and wanted to
write an article about her, since he found our beliefs
fascinating, since sitting and listening to us talk. He was
graciously waiting to help me find my way back to the kibbutz.
She told him to write about me.
Ilan Itzhayek wrote a full length article that was published in
the entire Galilee region. It was about my former drug
addiction, wandering in different religions looking for the
truth, and how by a series of miracles God brought me
into the Worldwide Church of God, mentioning some of our beliefs
about Europe, and how we considered Herbert W.
Armstrong in the spirit of Elijah. I was later
interviewed by the local high school principal and Bible teacher
about our beliefs, especially why we keep the Jewish holy days
and believe we are Israel.
That same article was posted at the kibbutz in the communal
dining room for all to see and read and led to an invitation for
me to speak against drugs. I resisted, feeling most people have
to learn for themselves, but when Ofrah, the volunteer leader,
persisted saying perhaps it could help someone, I relented on
the condition I could give God the glory and mention Him as the
reason for my deliverance. She agreed and I spoke to over twenty
young people from all over the world and mentioned how we're all
missing something and try to fill it with this and that and only
God and His Holy Spirit are the answer.
When Richard Frankel, a minister who used to live in Israel and
served as the regular Feast coordinator for the Middle East,
found out that this little ol' "shepherd boy" in the field was
"making waves," he basically demanded that I return to America
since he "trusts that God will get His message to the Jews
through His apostle..." and how Mr. Armstrong had carefully
built bridges with Israel over the years. (Acts 7:25, 35 flashed
through my mind). He said in no way was Ilan (the reporter) to
consider himself a spokesman for the Church or me a
representative of it! (The Worldwide Church of God always
taught we are representatives of God's Church and Kingdom).
I wondered why Mr. Frankel didn't trust God to see that nothing
could be done to undermine those bridges that God
through Mr. Armstrong had built, besides Mr.
Armstrong NEVER went to the average Israeli but only
addressed leaders in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, I complied.
However, another article had been sent out by Ilan for possible
publication that I did receive permission from Mr.
Armstrong through Aaron Dean to go ahead with it. Obviously,
Mr. Armstrong didn't feel threatened! Mr. Richard Paige,
then in charge of the Ambassador College digs in Jerusalem, met
Ilan and I in Haifa for a pleasant visit, during his trip to
make arrangements for the next archaeological dig. I humbly
presented him with some grapefruits I had picked from our
kibbutz orchard. He said he loves grapefruit and later reported
they were the best!
I wanted to return to Israel to live, fulfilling a goal I had to
live all over Israel, study Hebrew, learn the culture, etc.,
(which I've since done) but Mr. Frankel's influence
required that I wait until I could have a minister over
there to "supervise" my activities. (God had supervised them
very well, thank you!).
When Raymond Clore, a Consul General for the US was assigned by
our government to work over there for four years (and with whom
I briefly corresponded), I appealed to Headquarters again
to move over there and was denied permission because they hadn't
sent Mr. Clore - the US government had! So I encountered petty
politics from ministers I permitted to have power over my
personal life. A local elder questioned whether they were
setting an unusual precedent with me in deciding where a member
During that time, Mr. George Kackos (Toledo, Ohio's wonderful
minister, who was on the refresher program at Ambassador
College) and Mordakhai Joseph both encountered the
attitude that "we don't need him, we have plenty of AC
students to send if we want." In fact, a female Ambassador
College graduate from Oregon, Sylvia Owens (top of her class Mr.
Paige informed me), was permitted to stay and live in Jerusalem
(whom Ilan and I had arranged to meet and visited the biblical
Mr. Joseph encouraged me that Jesus' disciples also tried to
stop someone from casting out demons in Jesus' name because he
wasn't of their clique. He was later basically told to stay out
of this situation! I still remember him fondly and what
correspondence we've shared and wish him all the best with his