The story of Lev Y’shua Congregation is the story of a people seeking to follow the heart of their Savior. Thus, the translation of our name from Hebrew; Heart of our Savior. Ours has been a journey of patience, desiring a place to call home.
In 2002, Marci Hughes (of blessed memory), envisioned a Hebrew Roots Congregation of sojourners who walk the path of faith in a different fashion. Working to form a congregation in Central Pennsylvania, she drew together individuals and families who work out their faith in the Messiah of Israel by observing His Feast Days, holding weekly Sabbaths on Saturday and adhering to a Biblically Clean diet.
The Congregation wandered for the better part of ten plus years. From house to house, Sabbath to Sabbath, sojourning, never continuing in one place for very long. We spent time at three different public locations, including a grammar school library where members sat on children’s chairs. No Place really satisfied. Additionally, gathering to celebrate the Feast Days was always challenging as arrangements needed to be made to find ancillary locations such as parks. We had no home. Even our belongings were co-mingled in storage along with the host institution’s belongings at these various locations.
In 2013, we began to utilize a pole building in Belleville, PA, just south of Centre County and the Penn State Area. This structure was available for our exclusive use commencing with that year’s Feast of Tabernacles. Here, we found a pastoral setting and room enough to do all we wanted, as well as to be able to gather as often as we wanted. While this building didn’t have central heat, or running water, we made it work by renting a porta john and wash station, and installing a wood stove. However, we called off meetings when the weather became too cold for the stove, or met, once again, at a residence.
While we made this work for us, we sensed the time was upon us to improve our meeting location. As additional people are drawn to our Congregation, the need for updated, handicapped accessible facilities became critical to our efforts to accommodate larger gatherings. Two events brought this need to the forefront of our minds. We hosted an indigenous missionary from the Democratic Republic of Congo. This sweet sister escaped the genocide in Rwanda. As she and her clan were pushed out by armed forces in pursuit of them, porta johns were often available for their use as they walked for weeks seeking refuge. While bringing a testimony to us of her work in Congo, the memory of that trauma resurfaced as she made use of our facilities. In another situation, two energetic toddlers locked themselves in the porta john giggling the entire time their mom stood outside the door, calmly entreating them to unlock it before they got too inquisitive as to the inner workings of a porta john.
So, indeed, the time had arrived to add facilities for men and women that include showers to accommodate our ingathering’s, particularly during the week-long feast of Tabernacles. We added central heat and AC to accommodate growth and to allow for year-round use of our facility, for we recognized the time had come to properly meet our community’s needs.
So, as the autumn of 2017 settled in, we undertook adding a 912-square foot addition to our current facility (including a covered porch), to house handicapped accessible restrooms with showers, a storage/utility room and a kitchen which also serves as an all-purpose room. Additionally, we upgraded our current space of 1520-square feet. We studded out and finished the pole building walls, properly ran electric and lighting throughout, along with adding a new handicapped entrance adjacent to appropriate parking. It is our desire to be accessible to all who hear this call and seek to sojourn with us. And, for such a time as this, we set our face toward this most important and exciting project.
As we approach springtime, 2018, the entire renovation is winding down, and what an amazing work The Almighty has fashioned in our midst! Through the efforts of many volunteers and paid labor, the project is a testimony to our great King to whom we are eternally grateful!
As we concluded our ground breaking on September 2, 2017, we did so with the following thoughts, with which we close here as well, looking forward to dedicating the building at the start of the Biblical New year, mid to late March 2018:
At Beth-El Kibbutz in Israel, it is customary to select a scripture verse when dedicating a new work to YHWH. We do well to emulate their commitment to the Elohim of Avraham, Yitzhak and Yaakov. The verse we have selected comes from Hosea. Appropriately, he was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He admonishes us to:
Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness,
Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to Seek Yahweh
Until He comes to Rain righteousness on you.
This verse will be placed on a parchment for us to sign as a tribute and reminder of the commitment we undertake this day to further the Restoration of The Kingdom of Elohim.
Let us now come before the Almighty in prayer;
Oh, great God of our Fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we esteem your Name and your Kingdom and give you thanks for allowing us the privilege of this opportunity. We commit this work, the addition and all upgrades to you, Father, and ask that your presence, by the power of your Ruach, abide herein. For without you, this work is for naught. We take great hope in the promise that if we break up our fallow ground and seek you, that you will rain righteousness on upon us. Help us, Yah, to break up our fallow ground that you may reign righteously in and through us, in this location, where you have placed us, in the mighty name of Messiah Y’shua, we pray. Amen.