My wife and I are part of the Russian-speaking Messianic congregation in Tel Aviv, which is growing tremendously. About 150 people attend the worship services, which meet at the Center; many of them volunteer in maintaining the Center and participate in the soup kitchen ministry. I am also working with Jason R. to lead the Hebrew-speaking congregation, which began late last year and is slowly growing.
We are busy at the Center practically every day with worship services, the soup kitchen and the Center Café. We are doing a lot of practical outreach and have developed a network of volunteers. So far, we have distributed $10,000 worth of food in Tel Aviv, Sderot and Jerusalem. We have also begun an additional outreach in Ashkelon, where we have a small group of three families that we are hoping to develop into a congregation.
We have several different soup kitchen ministries. The one sponsored directly by Chosen People Ministries hosts about fifty families—almost 100 people all together. I go from table to table, meeting people and befriending them. I also work with the congregational food outreach, in which we go to the streets twice a week and bring food directly to the homeless. This soup kitchen that we take to the streets is the first step in inviting addicts to our rehab centers—one in Jaffa and another in Netanya, where Brian S. ministers. We invite them to stay for free in rehab, and slowly but surely they learn about the Lord. So far we have ten young believers being discipled and planning to be baptized.—Neriyah A.
Patience and Friendship
I direct and manage the Tel Aviv Messianic Center, run the Center Café outreach, and am also helping to plant a Hebrew-speaking congregation at the Center. This building that we have dedicated to the Lord’s use actually used to be a casino. Sometimes people come in looking for an opportunity to gamble, and are confused when they enter the building. But when they see what we are doing, some of them keep coming back—they are curious about all we do for others. They ask, “Why are you doing this?” This is really a friendship evangelism ministry, and it can only develop through love and patience.
The Center Café is really taking off. Each week, we have a high-caliber program, mostly music. We open our doors at 7:30 pm and sometimes don’t close until 2:00 am. Volunteers from various Messianic congregations circulate, getting to know visitors. Our worship services meet in the same building the next day, and we have had success inviting people from the Center Café to visit our services as well.
My own sense of calling is to make disciples, nurturing people from unbelief to maturity in the Lord. Service is a great way for believers to grow and also to demonstrate the love of the Lord to those who are hurting and in need, whether they are believers or not.—Jason R.
What It’s All About
I am the managing director of the soup kitchen and humanitarian aid department of the Tel Aviv Messianic Center. I also now devote considerable time working with a rehabilitation center in the suburb of Netanya, where we have weekly Bible studies, drug and alcohol counseling and distribution of food and clothing. The soup kitchen we host at the Messianic Center started a few months ago and by the third week, we were maxed out, with a crowd of about 20 waiting to get in as table space opened up.
On the same day as the soup kitchen, we distribute new clothes and dry food products, about $15 per bag. My vision is to share the love of God with “the least of these”—the poor, the needy, Holocaust survivors, widows, single mothers, addicts and prostitutes—and to see people come to the Lord. I also want to see our work expand and multiply, as we have seen some wonderfully encouraging fruits in our labors.
For example, a homeless alcoholic, a Russian Jewish man, recently came to faith through the ministry of our rehab center. Another man received the Lord through our witness at the distribution center. Just recently, I had the pleasure of seeing both of them volunteering at the Messianic Center on the same day. Seeing them serving side by side, being discipled in service, made me very emotional and excited. Knowing Yeshua (Jesus) and serving others—this is what it is all about!—Brian S.