From addiction to new life in Jesus

Group of men enjoying hearty food together

Thanks to our generous supporters, who gave to release people at risk from dangerous temptations and show them new life in Jesus, we raised just over £71,000 for our Lent appeal!

Because of your generous donations, CMS local partner Wilhelm Polikhronidi is able to come alongside men who are struggling with addiction and help them discover new life in Jesus and rewrite their life story.

There are many routes leading to addiction, and each individual’s story is different, but the way to abundant life is always the same: Jesus.

Fortunately, local partner Wilhelm and his colleagues at a Christ-centred rehab centre in Be’er Sheva, Israel, are there to show people a way out. At the Aviv Ministry, people struggling with addiction can find a place to belong and heal.

Men seated around a table and on sofas listening to a leader speaking
The men at the rehab centre enjoy getting together for Bible study. Vladimir (see below) is on the far left.

Wilhelm is a recovering addict himself; he understands how incredibly hard it can be to escape the grip of alcohol and drugs. Having found freedom in Jesus more than a decade ago, he is committed to helping others find the way to abundant life too.

Trained in both counselling and biblical studies, Wilhelm is well placed to help men in the rehab centre find strength, faith and hope in Jesus and overcome their addictions.


The team at the rehab centre received a phone call from a local Christian: “My friend’s husband has become an alcoholic and is living on the streets. Can you help?” The Aviv Ministry outreach workers went out to find this man.

A few months earlier, Vladimir had been living on his own for a while, tying up some loose ends before following his wife to their home country of Russia for a few months. During that time, he started drinking heavily and it wasn’t long before his life was out of control. He missed his flight to Russia, the lease on the flat expired and with nowhere to go, he was forced to start sleeping on the streets of Tel Aviv. This is where the Aviv Ministry team found him and invited him to come and stay at the rehab centre.

Today, Vladimir’s life story has been rewritten. He is sober, eagerly participates in devotions at the rehab centre and is very open to the gospel. He has already started working outside the centre, and may soon be ready to begin a new, independent life.


Alexander is now free to live a fuller life

Another person who has found new life in Jesus through Wilhelm’s ministry is Alexander. Now 54, Alexander was a drug addict for 30 years before coming to the rehab centre in Be’er Sheva. He decided to follow Jesus about 10 years ago, went to a Bible school and even served in a Christian rehab centre for a while, but became disappointed in God and fell away. For the next several years, he returned to faith several times: “Each time I would leave God, I felt an intense inner pain, and I would run to drugs and alcohol to silence it.”

When Alexander came to the rehab centre in Be’er Sheva, God started revealing himself through the Scriptures. What had previously just been theory to Alexander started to become a living reality. He drew nearer to God and realised he needed to be more dependent on him and be faithful to him. He says that now, God has finally become alive and real to him.

Alexander compares his journey to faith to that of Nebuchadnezzar. They both heard a lot about God, saw his miracles and admitted God was great, but only after living like an animal for several years, did Nebuchadnezzar, and likewise Alexander, truly receive God’s revelation.

Sowing seeds

Dov Bikas, head of Aviv Ministry, says, “During the course of the year, many addicts come to us and leave after a short period of time. Some get well and return to normal life, some become true believers, while others may cut the programme short and leave too early – just to fall again into addiction. But still we can say that 100 per cent of our rehabilitants hear the gospel, get to know Christians closely and acquire an experience of living in a Christian home, and we believe that all these seeds have great potential to eventually sprout up and bring fruit in their lives.”

Stories like Vladimir’s, Alexander’s and many more are possible because of the generosity of people like you. Thank you.

Published 1 June 2021
Europe, Middle East and North Africa

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