“Sing to Hashem a new song, sing to Hashem, all the earth.” Psalms 96:1 (The Israel Bible™)
In a burst of creative inspiration, Canada-based Return Ministries is uniting a Christian children’s choir from Africa, Israeli Jews and an existing project that hosts mass public singing events with Jews and Christians together, to create a new source of support for Israel.
Return Ministries focuses its efforts on mobilizing Christians to assist Jews to return to Israel. The vision for their current work in Africa, which is 51% Christian, is based on a question first posed in 2018.
The year 2019 marks the 400th year since the first African slaves were brought to American soil. On this significant anniversary, Return Ministries wanted to know, “Could singing and dancing African children amongst Christians and Jews in North America work toward helping six million Jews returning home to Israel?”
Inspired by the Israeli mass singing initiative known as Koolulam and by Biblical prophecy that the Nations will ultimately join together with Israel to sing praises to God, Return Ministries established the Sing Together campaign in May 2018. Since then, they have hosted multiple mass singing events around the world.
The most recent one, held last month in Africa, featured hundreds of people in Uganda singing together and waving Israeli flags at the source of the Nile River in Jinja. Breaking Israel News spoke with Daniel Yehuda, who visited Uganda from his home in Israel last month and can be seen in the video leading the singing.
“Sing Together is the first step of three steps towards working together for Israel,” Yehuda outlined. “Sing Together is for people who love Israel and want to learn about Israel.”
He emphasized that the target audience for the campaign is people of faith. They are encouraged, “to go back to the Scriptures and read the prophecies and how they relate to the Jewish people. After Sing Together, we’re hoping to create a conversation of learning,” he said. Ultimately, the goal is to encourage people of faith to work together on behalf of Israel.
Although Sing Together is a worldwide effort, the African initiative has a unique Biblical twist. “The story with Africa is an amazing story. If you ask Africans today where they come from, they believe they are the ancient Egyptians who enslaved Israel. [This is true of Africans from] Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and more,” Yehuda said.
“They believe that they are cursed and Africa is cursed [as a result of] what they’ve done to the Israelites. [They believe that] the ten plagues stayed in Africa. They have a need to support Israel and are repenting. That’s in the background of the story.”
What does this support from Africa towards Israel look like? On a political level, things are already beginning to change, as relations between Israel and a number of African countries are warming. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made multiple trips to Africa to strengthen ties. President Idriss Deby of the north central African country of Chad recently visited Israel to garner support for their fight against ISIS.
Yehuda envisions something more grass roots. Africans are crucial for, “supporting us on the world stage. This changes the way the world looks at Israel.”
According to Yehuda, various African countries send “groups all the time to Israel to learn and to experience. They visit Christian sites. They come to share their love. They visit Judea and Samaria. Business people are coming to gain from our tech and water experience.”
Yehuda is a freelance musician, working to strengthen the Sing Together project in general and ties to Africa in particular. Dean Bye, the head of Return Ministries, has connections with some African ministries in Uganda. Through those connections, he “is trying to use the power of song to help raise money to work together,” according to Yehuda.
The Sawuti Children’s Choir, comprised of Christian children from East Africa, is currently touring Canada. Yehuda worked with them to teach them some Hebrew songs of faith that they could perform along with English songs of faith. One of the goals of the children’s choir tour is “to call the children of Israel home” and to raise funds for them to settle in the Galilee.
The Return Ministries Africa Team includes representatives from Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda. Sing Together is only one of Return Ministries Africa initiatives.
Other initiatives include plans to recruit Christian leaders from Africa to serve at the Return Ministries Aliyah Return Center in the Galilee region of Israel. In addition, there are plans to have African Christians dedicate an Israeli Memorial in Entebbe, Uganda in October of 2019.
In partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel, Return Ministries Africa is also working to establish a Prayer Valley in the Jordan Valley, based on the Prayer Mountain in Kampala Uganda. Bye said the goal of the Prayer Valley is that, “The nations, led by Africa, can come and pray and worship at many different natural sites on the east and west banks of the Jordan River.”
All of these efforts spring from Bye’s original vision for the Sing Together campaign, which he explained in 2018. “The Sing Together campaign is being birthed with the vision to teach Christians and Jews their respective parts in a meaningful Israeli song and then come together to sing!
“We believe this will lead to working together for Israel’s return and restoration. The Jewish people have the covenant and prophetic right to live in Israel and the nations are called to help them return home, just as it is written by their prophets. Jews and Christians each have a chosen part in God’s great plan of redemption.
“There is Biblical precedent that nations need to sing together with Israel,” Bye taught.
Praise Hashem, all you nations; extol Him, all you peoples, Psalms 117:1
Yehuda concluded by saying, “We’re in a new time, where we can bridge through faith over the love of Israel and it’s creating tikkun olam – a better world.”