Eli & Fern Fauth

From Apple to Cotton Picking – The Fauths

Fern and Eli met while picking apples in Washington State, in the northwest of the United States. They were working together with other teenagers from different congregations of their denomination, the Church of God (Seventh-Day). Theirs was one of the two marriages that resulted from the apple picking.

The Church of God (Seventh-Day) is a small denomination of Bible-based Christians that was founded in Michigan and Iowa in the late 1850's. Their distinctive features are that they anticipated the return of the Jews to Israel (and actively supported it after 1948), and also they keep Shabbat instead of Sunday as the day of rest. Eli is at pains to stress that the Church of God (Seventh-Day) is to be distinguished from any of the other Sabbatarian churches.

Fern was born in Minnesota but grew up in Oregon, where as Eli was born in North Dakota. Eli's heritage is Russian-German, which means he comes from many generations of farmers, and also that his mother tongue, although born in the United States, is German. This has come in useful during his life, not least since their move to Ebenezer.

Eli and Fern share a strong faith and an anticipation of the working out of prophecy, especially as regards to Israel. They wanted to be part of it, and so in 1964 they came to Israel as tourists on a ship. After having renewed their temporary residence permit for five years, they received a permanent residence permit. They have remained in Israel ever since, Eli mostly working in agriculture or gardening, and Fern looking after the home and family.

Eli acquired work on a moshav and remained there for many years. Working hours could be from four in the morning till ten in the evening. Work in the cotton field was especially hard. They lived on the same moshav for more than twenty years.

For Fern, looking back, it is hard to understand how she managed. The family, which had grown to six children, suffered economically. Fern received overripe fruit from the moshav, so she was able to make jam and other things. Fern says:

"For some reason, we brought a freezer from the States with us full of empty glass jars, and they became really useful."

Tragedy and Faith

But when the children grew older and moved out, the couple encountered even harder issues. Over a period of a few years, three of their six children died, each from a different cause. It is not how it is supposed to be, Eli and Fern say; they ask why they could not have gone before their children.

One of the sons who died left a wife and four daughters. His name was Joel, and he had lived in Israel. Fern and Eli are so happy that they are able to see their grandchildren here. They sometimes come to visit, and the grandparents try to follow them as much as possible. Both of the other two, who died, a son and a daughter, live in the USA. And for the couple, it is no longer possible for them to travel there due to their age.

 

What has carried them through all these experience? Eli says that a verse from Job (1:21b) has been very meaningful:

 

"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised!"

For many, it seems impossible to continue in life after such losses; it seems so incredibly unfair. But the Fauth couple witness that God remains the same through every experience.

Now they live in the Ebenezer Home. Eli says:

"We don't have words to describe how good it is to live here. We start the day with a walk in the surrounding streets, and we have devotion every morning together with the other residents. There is a special fellowship here at Ebenezer."

They are faithful and active members of nearby congregation and Fern's apple pie is now justly famous with everyone. It is always uplifting to meet and talk to Eli and Fern. These verses are very applicable to their lives and service:

For this is what the Lord says:

 

"To {those} who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant-to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever." 

(Isaiah 56:4-5)

Eli earned the same amount in eight hours as he did in one hour in the USA, but they did not come to Israel to earn money. God has provided for them; even though it was hard at times, Fern's motto was psalms 46:1 (NIV):

 

"God is our refuge and strength, an everpresent help in trouble."

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