USED BY GOD TO BLESS ISRAEL # 2
For our visit on Monday, we followed Ken and Margie Crowell as God intervened in their lives to give them the skills they needed so Israel could receive God’s blessings.
During the next three years there were many opportunities in normal day-to-day activities for them to tell others about Jesus and witness about their faith. Though Ken was the only Christian working in the company, he was totally accepted and was known as “our Baptist engineer”. He had Bibles in his office and even held Bible Studies in the evening. Anyone was welcome to come. He still had a vision brewing in the background to find a way to use his skills to bless the nation of Israel through an ownership of a Christian business.
When the three-year commitment for the job ended, Ken felt he had three choices: (1) Stay with Motorola in Israel (2) Seek employment with Motorola in the United States, or (3) Accept a teaching job at Multnomah School of the Bible.
He and Margie were convinced that they had been called to Israel because of the many ministry opportunities that had opened up to them during their time there. Ken felt they would be able to do a whole lot more as Christian owners of a company that would employ local Israelis. He was just not sure how to get that company up and running in that country. They had promised their son that he could begin dating when he was sixteen. That time was approaching and they felt concern about the dating opportunities he would have with someone of his own faith. In addition, they had adopted an Israeli girl. She could gain US citizenship only if they returned to the States.
Though they still felt they were called to serve in Israel, they decided to take a hiatus and return temporarily to the United States. Motorola Corporation had an opening for an engineering manager at its plant in Fort Lauderdale, and Ken accepted that job.
During this time in Florida they joined a local church and began a ministry in the church especially for Jews. All the while they prayed for direction and asked for guidance to show them how to accomplish the vision that the Lord had given Ken—to own a Christian business in Israel.
Ken noted that antennas made for Motorola’s hand-held radios might offer a niche for a business since development of these antennas was not getting much attention. He also noticed that expertise in radio frequency (RF) antennas was not being taught in engineering schools, with the result that this skill had to be taught on the job.
Trusting God, Ken left Motorola on good terms and started his own company. Ken and Margie felt the new company actually belonged to the Lord; they were to be its good stewards.
The new Florida-based company began by developing and producing UHF-VHF antennas. Ken’s intent was to get the new company started and thriving and then move it to Israel. He still had no idea how the reality of such a move/transfer to Israel could be accomplished, but trusting in the Lord, he pressed on.
Ken approached the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta about the possibility of relocating the company to Israel. During the presentation Ken told Israeli officials that he would like to hire employees that had faith in Jesus as Messiah. He stressed his desire to bless and help the emerging nation by providing employment and creating a product that could be exported.
Two hours into the presentation, just like the Major had said to him when they were in Oregon, the consulate director told them he was not so concerned about their Christian involvement as he was about the need to strengthen Israel’s economy by establishing new businesses within the country. He assured Ken his business was welcome and that he would receive assistance for the venture.
The Crowell family returned to Israel in November of 1977 and settled in Tiberias, a city on the Sea of Galilee that needed industrial development. The government appointed an officer from the Investment Authority to help establish the new company, which was named GALTRONICS. He introduced Ken to key people in each government office in order to cut the usual red tape that new ventures routinely encountered in the process of obtaining approval status. Within eight months, GALTRONICS became a “Government Approved Enterprise,” a feat that normally took three years!
The Crowell’s fully understood from the beginning that the business had to be self-supporting and profitable. They knew the government expected GALTRONICS to provide employment and export products that would bring money into the country.
The new venture was not without its stumbling blocks. Before Ken returned to Israel, his partner in Florida absconded with the manufacturing equipment Ken had purchased to set-up test production. The money he was planning on to help finance the new company in Israel did not now exist. He and Margie depended on the Lord to bring them through the “valley” to accomplish the vision that He had given them.
Since they did not have the money they had planned on, they began the new Israel-based company on a shoestring. Ken’s first factory in Israel was in Margie’s kitchen! His workbench was an x-ray table that had been discarded. It was there had he assembled antennas for Motorola’s walkie-talkies. To cure the black, sticky PVC plastic used to make the antennas, he baked them in Margie’s oven. This regularly smelled and smoked-up the house. Finally Margie gave an ultimatum: Ken could have antennas or cookies, but not both! Fortunately the mayor of Tiberias helped them secure a suitable manufacturing building.
The Lord had groomed Ken for five decades for the work that He had for him. In what seemed like rapid fire order, the 1980s were a time for the harvest and the blessing of Israel.
On Monday we’ll look at the time of “Harvest”, for which God had spent decades preparing Ken Crowell and his family.