Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Waller Family's Messianic "Ephraimite" History

Tommy and Sherri Waller’s participation in "Ephraimite" and "Two House" circles of the Christian Messianic movement goes back over twenty years. It was through those very circles that the Waller family was introduced to the Har Bracha community in Israel, where they launched their Christian Missionary ministry Hayovel.

christian messianic missionary Myles Weiss (left) with Tommy Waller (right) in Israel

According to a summer 1997 article by their then eleven-year-old son Brayden Waller for Messianic Home magazine, the Waller family had “started living Messianic” about two years earlier. By mid-1997, the Waller family belonged to a Christian Messianic home fellowship that was meeting “once a week at our house or the Diffenderfer’s” [1].
"About two years ago we started living Messianic... Our fellowship meets once a week at our house or the Diffenderfer's. Usually 4 or 5 families are there."  
(Brayden Waller, MessianicHome.org, Summer 1997, archived February 13, 2002)
Scott and Jane Diffenderfer helped found the Christian Messianic home fellowship Lighthouse Assembly of Messianic Believers (LAMB) in 1994 [2], and took over publishing Messianic Home magazine in the fall of 1996 [3]. It was in Lebanon, TN that the Diffenderfer family first met and attended the home fellowship of the Waller family [4].
"YHWH began to reveal many things to us in Scripture, and we began to have questions. I don’t believe it was coincidence that a family - with the last name Diffenderfer - moved to Lebanon from Florida and joined us in our home fellowship. I’ll never forget the first meeting they attended - we served pork hotdogs. I didn’t realize until later why they weren’t very hungry that evening." 
(Thomas Waller, MessianicHome.org, 2003, archived May 12, 2003)
Tommy, Sherri, and Brayden Waller wrote at least a dozen articles for Messianic Home magazine between the fall of 1996 and the fall of 1998, until the Waller family moved a couple hours from Lebanon, TN, to a Mennonite area in Russell Creek, TN [5] .
“To add to this our good friends, the Wallers, were feeling led to move a different direction than we were. The idea of a community was going to have to be put on hold. As the summer progressed it became clear that our families would be living over 2 hours apart... Sherri Waller had already moved 2 hours away so he figured he would call them and let them know we were in labor so they could pray for us, but he didn’t get the chance to make another phone call because every time he tried I was calling, “Scott, come here!”” 
(Jane Diffenderfer, MessianicHome.org, Winter 1999, archived January 20, 2003)
The Waller family's move to Russell Creek, TN appears to have been motivated in part by the "Y2K panic." Tommy and Sherri Waller explained their belief that God was "preparing His people" and "a bride." They expressed their belief that they and their family are "lost sheep of Israel," and their longing "for the day when we all will be gathered to Israel" [6].
“During the Spanish Inquisition and the Holocaust precious few were willing to attach themselves to the nation of Israel. Many Jews denied their own faith for fear of persecution. How much greater would the exodus of new Messianic believers be when the price is so high? Consider the cost…” 
“Now we face the challenges of a non-electric world. Yes, YHWH has sold our house and is moving us to a non-electric community. For months we have struggled with what direction to take and by continuing to study his Torah and waiting on Him, He has directed our path. YHWH in His loving kindness has given us our jubilee! He has released us from the shackles of debt and given us a wonderful homestead in the country. What YHWH put in our hearts, He is bringing about.” 
“Does that sound like “Y2K Panic”? Is YHWH worrying about “the crash”? No, He is methodically preparing His people. Will everyone’s preparation be the same? Absolutely not. YHWH is preparing a bride, not a paranoid survivalist. That is why it is imperative for you and I to get on our faces and seek YHWH’s will for our individual families. There is no longer a place for the masses to be instructed by a man. Your instruction must come from YHWH. As Moses encouraged Joshua, in this day and hour we must be bold, be strong, for YHWH our Elohim is with us. 
We look to the future with sobriety. YHWH’s Word says, The steps of a good man are ordered by YHWH. Ps. 37:23 We are placing all our trust in that. This direction has taken us to an unknown place away from things comfortable and familiar to us. It is with great heartache and tears that we realize weekly fellowship here in Lebanon will be impossible. The ties that bind are strong, the fruit of our time together is that we, lost sheep of Israel, have been added to the flock for which we are forever grateful. We must go to a foreign pasture to share what we know while continuing to learn from others whose hearts are being turned towards Him. We long for the day when we all will be gathered to Israel. May you and your house be guided by His unseen hand.” 
(Thomas and Sherri Waller, MessianicHome.org, Fall 1998, archived February 13, 2002)
By October 20, 2002, Scott Diffenderfer had started a ministry called The Joseph Project, which used Christian Messianic "Ephraimites" living in Israel named Ephraim and Rimona Frank to deliver donations to terror attack victims in Israel, with notes claiming the donors to be "Ephraimites" from the tribes of Joseph [7]
"Our friends Ephraim and Rimona Frank will personally deliver these funds to the victims, so there will be no administration costs for this project, and all donated funds will be placed in the hands of those who are in need. We greatly thank Ephraim and Rimona for this and ask that you keep them in your prayers. 
L.A.M.B. Fellowship has recently sent $3000 to two families in Israel. Click Here for an example of the correspondence we have had with Ephraim to give you a flavor of what YHWH is doing with the Joseph Project
Dear friends of Messianic Home, if you are led to participate in The Joseph Project you may send your check to our mailing address. Make the check out to L.A.M.B. Fellowship and please include a note indicating that the gift is to go to The Joseph Project. May you be blessed for your generosity toward Judah. We include a note with each gift that reads in part, “this gift is from your brother Joseph who loves you very much”. Our prayer is that these funds would be a blessing to those in need who are holding the land. Furthermore, that these gifts would show the love of Messiah to our brothers and sisters of Judah. May they come to see His true nature through The Joseph Project as their brother Joseph is revealed to them once again."
(MessianicHome.org, archived October 20, 2002)
By December 8, 2002, the Messianic Home site had posted messages between Scott Diffenderfer and Ephraim Frank . The letters referenced the Frank family's contact in Har Bracha, the Frank family's friends Shira and Nir in Har Bracha, and that the donations were coming from "Torah observant Ephraimites" [8].
"Anyway, when I got home I received a call from our contact on the settlement of Bracha, with the name of a very needy family... I will take the check to her upon its arrival. She wept when she heard the news of the gift. The community sees it as a great mitzvah, and it will also be communicated to them and the community that it is from Torah observant Ephraimites. 
Please pass on their deep appreciation for this help. 
In His mercies, Ephraim
"Praise Abba! We informed our friends Shira and Nir from the settlement of Bracha about the gift and we are all very excited about your participation. We really feel that these contacts are all divinely arranged. There are more exciting things happening but we are waiting on YHVH to work on a few hearts before proceeding. Thanks again to all, for your loving support. 
By His grace go we, Ephraim and Rimona
(MessianicHome.org, archived December 8, 2002)
On November 1-2, 2002, Tommy and Sherri Waller participated in the first ever Messianic Home conference in Mt. Juliet, TN, and even spoke on a few topics, as did the Diffenderfers, and other Christian Messianics [9][10].

In 2003, the Waller Family Singers presented a segment on "Music Class" at the Messianic Israel Alliance (MIA) 2003 AMI Conference [11]. At the time, Scott Diffenderfer was part of MIA's "Shepherd's Council." The MIA site explained that Scott and Jane Diffenderfer had "been working to reunite Israel's two houses for many years" [12].
Scott Diffenderfer leads LAMB Fellowship (Lighthouse Assembly of Messianic Believers) in Lebanon, Tennessee. He was formerly a Regional Vice President with Cracker Barrel Restaurants. He is currently developing Integrity Enterprises which is dedicated to creating economic activity for Messianic Israelites. 
He and his wife, Jane, have nine children. They are dedicated to building up strong, biblically-based families, and since the mid-1990's they have faithfully published the Messianic Home magazine. They have a website at: www.messianichome.org. 
These two are proven friends of the Alliance. They have been working to reunite Israel's two houses for many years. Scott is blessed with an understanding of organization that is coupled with a true father's heart. 
(MIM.net, archived January 11, 2003)
Tommy Waller wrote again for Messianic Home magazine in 2003, explaining how he and his family became involved in the Christian Messianic movement, and how they "acted and sometimes looked Jewish but [they] believed in the Messiah." He recounted his father's relief when he realized Tommy "still believed in the deity of Yeshua" and that "only through Him could [he] be saved" [13].
“Let me begin by saying it is a privilege to write again for Messianic Home. My family has experienced so much of YHWH’s grace over the last four years. At times it has been difficult for us to know the direction He was leading us and we still seek to know His will. I am very thankful for the grace and patience Scott, Jane, their family, and all of our friends at Lamb Fellowship have extended to us. You have blessed us more than you will ever know. 
I am also very thankful for the patience shown to me by my father and mother. They have struggled from the beginning with this “Messianic” direction we have taken and looking back it is no wonder…” 
“After many years away, we were able to move back to Lebanon and live on a small farm next to my parents. We now had 6 children and we wanted a church where we could all worship and study together. After searching awhile we finally began a home fellowship with another family. Again it was not what my parents would have chosen. They would have liked us to fellowship with them, but they got used to the idea and supported us.” 
“YHWH began to reveal many things to us in Scripture, and we began to have questions. I don’t believe it was coincidence that a family - with the last name Diffenderfer - moved to Lebanon from Florida and joined us in our home fellowship. I’ll never forget the first meeting they attended - we served pork hotdogs. I didn’t realize until later why they weren’t very hungry that evening. 
A spiritual earthquake was about to take place in our lives and the aftershock would be felt for miles – well at least over the hill. 
Needless to say my parents were concerned. Within a short period of time we embraced what was to them a very strange, foreign doctrine. Sacred titles and names were changed. Christmas and Easter were gone. Pesach, Shavuot, Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, and Succoth were the new holidays. No more pepperoni pizza, pork barbeque, shrimp, catfish, or crab legs. In Tennessee the question is, can you eat breakfast without sausage, bacon, or country ham? To them the prohibited food list was endless. I can still see the look on my mother’s face when she tried to serve the children jello... 
“Cult” – that was the word used many times to describe our small group. Our belief was so radically different. We acted and sometimes looked Jewish, but we believed in the Messiah. A very odd combination looking through the eyes of my parents steeped in a rich southern Baptist tradition. 
Through all this my parents still loved me. They have shown me time and time again what love is. All through Scripture I see things we can argue about and disagree on but we cannot disagree on the subject of love. I confess that in my zeal to walk this walk I have been guilty of not loving others as I should and sometimes that included my parents. One of my greatest times was when I was able to sit down with my dad and share with Him what I believed. He was so relieved that in all the changes we had made that I had not abandoned the fundamentals of the faith. I still believed in the deity of Yeshua, and only through Him could I be saved.” 
(Thomas Waller, MessianicHome.org, 2003, archived May 12, 2003)
By January 4, 2004, Tommy and Sherri Waller were part of LAMB Fellowships's Advisory Council, and by March 20, 2004, Tommy and Sherri Waller were leading a new home fellowship in Lobelville, TN . The Waller family was still leading that home fellowship for LAMB as late as September 28, 2004, right as Tommy Waller was preparing to make his first trip to Israel [14][15][16].

Tommy Waller and his family had been involved in "Ephraimite" circles of the Christian Messianic movement for almost a decade by the time he took his first trip to Israel in late 2004. And it was Christian Messianic "Ephraimite" Ephraim Frank that brought Tommy Waller to Har Bracha and introduced Tommy Waller to Nir Lavie, as was explained by the two in a 2016 interview for Christian Messianic Hebrew Nations Radio.

EPHRAIM FRANK: "I'll give you an example that we'll probably be talking about with Tommy [Waller], because when I first met Nir [Lavie], and he is a farmer on Har Bracha, Mount of Blessing, that Tommy knows very intimately, he's been working with him now for many many years. But in the beginning of our time together with Nir, when he told us he had this vision of a vineyard, and that he was going to go and really start pursuing that vision, I was bringing some Ephraimite groups up to the Mount of Blessing, Har Bracha. And we would be standing there looking at these rocky fields, and I would, and he would be telling them about the vision, and periodically he would, Nir would actually stand there, and he would start saying, and looking around and up in the air, and he would say, 'I feel the Mashiach, I feel the Mashiach, I feel the spirit of Mashiach.' And so these Ephraimites that were coming up there would seed money into the first plants that were going to be planted up there..." 
INTERVIEWER TO TOMMY WALLER: "How did you meet Nir Lavie, and how did you end up at Har Bracha, working year after year with his family?" 
TOMMY WALLER: "Well, and that's the beauty of this show, because Ephraim and Rimona were the instruments in introducing us. I can tell you, and Ephraim can jump in here, but neither Ephraim or myself had any idea at the moment when we met what was going to materialize out of that. There were certainly some other things going on that looked far more promising... Ephraim was the one who brought me for the first time to Mount Gerizim."
There is no shortage of statements by Tommy Waller and Sherri Waller attesting to their true beliefs about their identity, the land of Israel as their inheritance, and their desire to see Jews accept jesus (by whatever name) [17][18][19][20][21][22][23].
"As we study the scripture many have discovered our roots in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We have learned about our ancestry in Ephraim and Judah. We learned from Saul of our grafting into the Olive Tree which represents the nation of Israel. How exciting it is to be counted as one of YHWH's children... As partakers of Abraham's covenant and joint-heirs with the Messiah, the land promised to Abraham and his descendants is ours to inherit. A LITERAL, PHYSICAL LAND... Because our Father has given us an inheritance I believe it would only be fitting for us to have a knowledge of this inheritance. Is it spiritual or physical or both? We know that he created the whole world so why does YHWH hold such a passionate love for Israel? We are starting a new section of the magazine just for this teaching. Our goal is to bring insight and revelation about "the land" and what significance it has for Messianic believers. As with all the articles we want to provoke thought and action. There are many mysteries in the word of YHWH and I believe as He reveals to us who, what, and where concerning Israel we will gain a greater knowledge of the end times in which we live." 
(Thomas Waller, MessianicHome.org, 1997, archived December 26, 2011) 
"It is with great heartache and tears that we realize weekly fellowship here in Lebanon will be impossible. The ties that bind are strong, the fruit of our time together is that we, lost sheep of Israel, have been added to the flock for which we are forever grateful. We must go to a foreign pasture to share what we know while continuing to learn from others whose hearts are being turned towards Him. We long for the day when we all will be gathered to Israel. May you and your house be guided by His unseen hand." 
(Thomas and Sherri Waller, MessianicHome.org, 1998, archived February 13, 2002) 
"Yahshua said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Mt 5:17). Many in the Messianic movement have held on to this verse to validate our understanding of the need to be obedient to YHWH's Torah. Our Messiah also established in this verse the importance of the Prophets. The key to understanding the Messiah lies in the words of the Torah and the Prophets. The Prophets and Yahshua were sent to provoke us to love His ways through repentance (Ez 4:16, Acts 3:19), to establish YHWH's Holy precepts in our hearts (Jer 31:33, Mk 4:14), to redeem us from a "perverse and crooked generation" (Deut 32:5, Lk 12:45), and to bring us back to the Holy land of Israel (Zec 14:17, Mt 10:6)." 
(Thomas Waller, MessianicHome.org, 1998, archived February 13, 2002) 
"Once there was a little girl born in a far and distant land. Her parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were all born in this faraway place. As far back as her people could remember their ancestors lived in this land.
On the other side of the world, there was a city called Zion. This beautiful land was the chosen dwelling place for the King of all the earth. He longed for all His children to join Him there, however there was one problem. Because of their father's wrong doings they had been banished from the kingdom and scattered throughout the earth. In order to be brought back to Zion, they had to choose to serve the King. Most had proven to be too rebellious and selfish. These people inter-married with the inhabitants of foreign lands. Generations past and eventually their identity was lost. They had no knowledge of their royal bloodline... 
The little girl (now a young woman) began to long for Zion, the land of the King, a place she had never been. She didn't understand what had taken place in her heart but she had been transformed. And as she grew the inward change had visible reflections. She no longer lived like everyone else in the distant land. She looked different and acted different. It was a difficult transition for her, but she loved her King more than she cared for the approval of the people around her. She began to realize that her life would be one of choices, that her faithfulness to the King would be tested time after time. The privilege and honor of pleasing the King far out-weighed the light afflictions she experienced.
Everyday, she gratefully gathered her little children around her and taught them the King's ways. Isolated from the kingdom, and separated from the people of the distant land, they held onto the hope and belief that one day the King would bring them to Zion." 
(Sherri Waller, MessianicHome.org, 1997, archived February 13, 2002) 
That night we read Ex. 28.  The section about the highpriest’s garment, verses 12, 21 and 29 in particular grabbed me.  My heart understood the gravity of the names engraved on those stones.  This was a description of what Moses had seen in the heavenly tabernacle. 
This garment stands now and forever. Yeshua is clothed in it NOW. He bears the names of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulon, Joseph, and Benjamin on his shoulders and breastplate. Their names are engraved forever in stone. He will never forsake or abandon His people Israel. That revelation gave me greater confidence of my standing with my God. I too am carried about on the shoulders of my Savior. I have been grafted into the nation of Israel, a child of Abraham by faith! 
If the Hebrew people were/are that important to YHWH, I can make a small (on the eternal scale) sacrifice to serve them.  I was profoundly impacted.
I am grateful for the progression of this calling.  It is ever so sweet and gentle as the Lord makes our path straight.  We have been able to process the phases of change because they have come so gently.  These short trips to Israel make the way clearer each time.  It is helping all of us adjust, all the while building our anticipation of the work YHWH is preparing us to do. 
I have great hope for tomorrow.  Hope that I will not waste one minute on valueless things.  Hope that we will see prophecy fulfilled on the mountains of Samaria.  Hope that our Jewish brothers and sisters will see Yeshua in us. 
(Sherri Waller, Hayovel.com, March 15, 2005, archived January 10, 2007) 
"Three parts: (1) He will give them up. The previous verse reveals Yeshua’s birth place, so there is the He. Yeshua will give them up. Who? The thousands of Judah? The Jewish people? The nation of Israel? 
(2) Until the time that she which travails has delivered. Or until she that is giving birth has the baby! Who is she? The church? The body of Yeshua? 
(3) Then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel! Who is the remnant of His brethren? The Jewish people? Yeshua was Jewish, his brethren would be. The remnant would be a very small part of the whole. 
The revelation is that Yeshua has given up the Jewish people until the body, His bride, travails and gives birth to the revelation of the Messiah to His people! All the ideas about church planting and evangelism will have to give way to our Father’s way and plan. Intercession is the key! Our responsibility, our calling is massive. 
We will enquire of Him, ask of Him and travail before Him. There’s a lot more to do than we have recognized. 
I have been in labor many times. I never look forward to it, but I’m always eternally thankful when it’s all said and done. We have the greatest birth the world has ever seen on the horizon. It will take the entire body focused on Jerusalem to see it happen. 24 hours/7 days a week prayer houses are popping up all over the world. The prayer movement will anchor the bride through the days ahead. Intimacy is the key. We have to know Him to stand in Him."
(Sherri Waller, Hayovel.com, June 2006, archived January 10, 2007) 
"“For us it’s a spiritual deal – a faith deal,” said Sherri Waller. “The battle is over the land because God gave it to the descendents of Abraham – that includes us.”" 
(Sherri Waller, WilliamsonHerald.com, January 8, 2009, archived February 15, 2009)
"Pray for a full unveiling of Yeshua to His people. That they would behold their God!"
(Prayer Needs, Hayovel.com, archived January 10, 2007)
In February 2017, Tommy Waller reaffirmed in private among his fellow Christians the same beliefs he has held since he started Hayovel thirteen years ago, and the same beliefs he had already held for a decade before he started Hayovel.
"Father, your face is steadfast towards Jerusalem right now as Yeshua is about to return, and make himself known again to your people" 
(Tommy Waller, February 2017)

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"Hayovel" and the Wallers