|Alexander is a “pastor-preneur,” and an immigrant from the former USSR. Like over 1 million other Russian-speaking Jews who immigrated to Israel since the late 80’s, he had to work doubly hard to establish himself in his new “ancient” home. As a believer in Yeshua, he is intimately familiar with the challenges of putting down roots in the Holy Land, both spiritually and economically.
Ten years ago, Alexander started a Bible study for new believers that, within two years, blossomed into a congregation of 160 people. In 2011, due to pressure from anti-Messianic organizations, the congregation was evicted from their meeting hall. The Lord miraculously provided for a down-payment on a rundown industrial building. Though most of the congregants were new immigrants and barely making ends-meet, they sacrificially took out personal loans and volunteered to renovate their new congregational home. However, the financial burden of repaying the loans meant that they could no longer support Alexander as pastor.
Since shepherding the congregation was his priority, Alexander sought a way to support both his own family, as well as his extended “faith-family.” In 2012, he started a business importing massage therapy beds. While the business grew and had an excellent reputation, it was not generating sufficient income. The product was great and people were experiencing healing – now he just needed to make the business financially viable.
After three years of struggle, he realized he needed outside help.
In 2015, Alexander heard about Israel Firstfruits and reached out to us to get help. Our team visited both the congregation and his clinic, where Alexander shared his vision and struggles. Over a period of several months the team conducted business analysis, made marketing and pricing recommendations, consulted Alexander on HR and change management issues, and upheld him in prayer. That was almost four years ago.
Last month, Alexander reached out again. But this time it was to say thank you and to share how the business is now succeeding. He told us how he implemented our advice and began using the tools provided. As a result, the business is now profitable! Not only is it generating income, but its proceeds are supporting the congregation.
“We see how this is working and how it is helping the congregation cover expenses we were not able to cover,” Alexander shared.
He desires to help others as well: “I want to help other congregations start businesses that will support their community.”
And, as an expression of thanks and to “pay it forward,” he made a financial gift to Firstfruits to support our programs for others in need.
Alexander’s story is a wonderful example of the work being done in Israel – of believers flourishing, prospering and blessing the nation. Success does not happen overnight, but with hopeful persistence and hard work, Alexander is able to both pastor and support his congregation. He is also now positioned to help and encourage others to do the same.
Your investment makes all this possible. Thank you for being a part of Alexander’s story – and the story of Firstfruits!