2009 Letter from Bonnie
I am convinced that this Sukkot is the result of Father’s direct command, yet, offer the following factual foundation in order to allow you to draw your own conclusions. Be blessed.
Every year more and more believers come into the understanding of watching for the aviv and new moons as they hear more, understand more, and desire more to walk in rhythm with our Creator. For ourselves, we are just a home Sabbath group yodeling in a small town. When we are convinced of a truth, we just tell people to show up for Passover on Wednesday instead of Tuesday and most have no idea that we have just switched calendars on them.
It’s no so easy when it comes to Sukkot. Multiple times, I have attended wonderful Sukkot gatherings – wonderful, but, all on the Hillel calendar. Large Sukkot gatherings afford the sense of fellowship, oneness, and praise that is unparalleled throughout the remaining cycle of the year. We have twice tried locally to meet at each other’s homes a few evenings throughout Sukkot week, but, the blessing of meeting in a larger unified group just isn’t there. As I became convicted of the restoration of all things, including the calendar, I found myself in the frustrating position of having a great desire to enjoy a large Sukkot gathering offset by an equally great desire to avoid the manmade calendar.
(I’ll interject right here that I do not offer up the calendar issue as a point of division. Yes, we are convinced of the merits of the restoration of all truth; we walk the calendar, we recommend the calendar, and we want to offer a Sukkot where similarly convicted sojourners, among others, can celebrate Sukkot. Man can share, but, only the Ruach can convict. Many people came to the Canby Grove Sukkot last year and had not an inkling that it was on the restored calendar. To others, the dates were very important. Everyone is welcome. No one is gainsaid. This is merely the personal story of why and how this Sukkot came into being.)
The last chink of evidence for me fell into place when I learned that Michael Rood had figured out that the establishment of Israel came about on the Friday before Shavuot on the aviv/new moon calendar. That meant that YHWH fulfilled the prophecy of establishing a nation in one day on His calendar, even though NO ONE in the entire world knew the timing. For almost 60 years, all thought that May 14, 1948, was just a random date. I mulled, “God has shown no randomness in anything He’s done. What if the second outpouring of the Ruach is on Shemini Atzeret and everyone is celebrating on the Hillel calendar? Would the Ruach fall on a manmade date? Is there any historical evidence that He acts on manmade dates?” The more I thought of it, the more frustrated I became.
On two separate years, I drove home the day after the close of Sukkot. On both years, the day happened to be Shemini Atzeret on the restored calendar. As I zoomed mile after mile through a desert someplace between the midwest and Oregon, I thought, “If the Holy Spirit fell today, He wouldn’t fall on me.” The second year I thought, “When will there be a Sukkot on the restored calendar? The end is almost upon us. Will YHWH’s restored people go into the final week on a manmade calendar?” I then came to a decision. I would not gather again on the Hillel calendar. Regarding Sukkot, I vowed audibly, “Father, if you will give me Michael Rood as a kick off speaker, I will organize a Sukkot on the restored calendar.” Scaring myself with the brazenness, I wondered how I would do that. I have no contacts, no experience, no site, no plans, nothing. I concluded, “Father will do it.”
Why Michael? I deemed it appropriate that the leader who brought us the understanding of the restored calendar be present at the first major regional Sukkot. Plus, I had understood, perhaps erroneously, that Michael did not want to spend Sukkot in the states, so it appeared to be an adequate throwing down of the sheepskin.
The next spring, I emailed the ministry that I would host a restored calendar Sukkot if Michael would come. No word. I sent the same email the next year, and the next. For three years, I lived under the impending obligation of having to do something I had never done, knowing it would be a very stressful road. Every time I opened my email, I thought, “Is this the day I read, ‘Tag. You’re it?’” I prayed and fasted. I told Father that I would neither change my vow nor go on without my sheepskin being dry. My vow was my vow and I was sticking to it. I told Him that I NEEDED TO KNOW THAT HE WAS WITH ME and that I would not do this alone.
When I received no word for three years, I began to second guess myself. Did Father not want a Sukkot on the restored calendar? How could that be? Did He not want us to do it? Well, that was a possibility. I started to pray that if He had not planted the gnawing desire for a restored calendar Sukkot in my brain, would He please be so kind as to remove it since I mulled the issue constantly and it was driving me crazy?
I’ll interject here that Michael’s ministry had been under considerable stress during those years and it’s quite feasible that my emails never even reached the intended recipient.
Finally, the Friday following Shavuot, 2009, my husband received a cheery call from Michael saying he was in, yes, fine idea, full speed ahead. When I returned home and heard the news, I was speechless. “I have only 4 months!!” Plus, we had tickets for an international conference in 6 weeks.
First, a site. I asked Father where we were going to hold His camp. Fortunately, someone who had just happened to come to our home for Passover had mentioned that, if the idea actually ever materialized, I should consider a Christian camp. With that thought in the back of my head, I contacted a camp that I thought was perfect. I visited the camp and blithely envisioned 1,000 campers. The manager made certain I saw the zip lines, the swimming pool, the lodges, everything. But, he also mentioned a point that I had not known, “If you want us to reserve a week for you, someone will have to sign a contract guaranteeing us $100,000 because that’s how much money we’d be losing if not everyone comes.” I thought, “Father, what are You going to do about that?” and proceeded to cheerily view the gym.
If any leader wants to reserve a week at a large facility, the facility wants a big contract guaranteeing them the profit in the event the function would fail and the facility be vacant or minimally occupied for the week. Sticky, sticky point.
Then, he asked who the speakers would be. I gave him what I had. The next thing I heard from him was, “We’re sorry, but we cannot serve your group. Your ministry and our ministry are not compatible.”
It was at this point that I fell back on the evidence of the dry sheepskin. Father was with me and no one could defeat us. Being backed by The Ruler of the Universe trumps all.
In the next two days, I contacted every Christian campground in Oregon that could hold 250 people or more. ALL were full for the dates we needed, save one: Canby Grove. I had ONE choice. “Father, is this the place You have reserved for your faithful?” When I called the camp, the manager asked, “Is this for a feast?” How would he know that? “Yes, it is,” I said, surprised, and proceeded to explain the feast in Christian terms. We made an appointment to view the camp. It’s a 2 ½ hour drive from my home to Canby. I prayed the whole way.
When I got out of my car at Canby Grove, I was approached by the manager, “Matt,” a fellow with a long beard. I knew instantly that he was Messianic and that’s how he knew it was a feast. Father had sent me to the only Christian Camp headed by a Messianic manager in who knows how many states! Maybe the only one in the entire country! I felt like raising my hands to Father’s heavens and dancing in a circle. Hosannah to the Most High!! Our counter-culture little scorned group was home and The Pillar was leading.
Next issue, will anyone even attend? I told Father, “It’s Your party. You call whom you will.” Three weeks before Sukkot, thirty people had registered.
That called for another three days of fasting and prayer. I prayed, “This isn’t about me or money. This is about glorifying Your Name. I personally feel it’s going to be pretty difficult if 30 people see that they and only 29 others have responded to the restored calendar calling. I’ve attended meetings where hundreds of people have raised their shofars, where a horde bonds into one over the week, where the energy level is just charged with excitement. Father, I don’t see how 30 people are going to do that. How many would it take? I don’t know. More than 30. Please, bring enough to glorify Your Name. Please don’t have the camp personnel think that Messianics are nothing, that there is no call for restoration, that there is nothing special happening in these last days, that if we request to use the camp again next year they’ll laugh at us. I mean, with 30 people, they won’t even know they have a ‘group’ here. Well, there is one thing I’d like to get straight. I made the vow and You did Your part in providing Michael and I thought I had done my part in organizing this. Is this so, or, have I failed in some manner? Am I at fault? Is this not working out because of me? If so, please tell me what it is so I can set it straight.” Tears. Wailing. Falling on my face on the floor in front of my magic marker written prayer requests.
For a split second, I contemplated calling off the Sukkot. I don’t recall that Torah says regarding what happens to those who don’t fulfill vows, I just knew that, if I didn’t carry through, the next time I cried out, “Here I am, Father! I’m an end time warrior! Send me!” Father would roll His eyes.
Well, you know the rest of the story for Sukkot, 2009. Three weeks later, over 400 people filled the Tent of Meeting. In fact, we barely had adequate room. I felt like the widow who helped Elijah. If I provided a bigger facility, would we have received more people? This next year, the camp promises a Tent of Meeting that can hold 1,000.
Canby called sometime in January, 2010, and wanted to know what week I wanted them to block out for our group.
“Ahh….well, I don’t know….would you like to know how YHWH recons time?”
“No, we just want dates.”
“I don’t have a date. I won’t know a date until almost Passover.”
“Well, that depends.”
“We’ll just block out a week for you.”
What week did they block out for us? The week of September 27 through October 1 with weekends on either side. Our exact dates!! The interesting thing about this is that they blocked out TWO weekends. They can sell weekends. Weekends mean money. A Sukkot that covers only one weekend would be a better money maker for the camp. But, Father told them we needed TWO weekends.
“Father, praise your name for providing a site for your people. Please bless Canby Grove, whose leaders have been so hospitable, kind, and generous to your people, a struggling group that is out of sync with the world and whom many would regard with distain. Praise your graciousness for sending Your Spirit to lead us this last year through a wonderful week. We pray that You, once again, lead both your people and your leaders into another week of celebration of Your truth, Your presence, and Your name. In the name of Yeshua.”
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