By Betty Intrater & Tal Ellis
In the late 1970's a young newly married couple immigrated to Israel.
Idealistic, but without any real plan or training, they settled on a
kibbutz (collective agricultural community) and started studying Hebrew.
While on the kibbutz the Lord began to put a vision on their hearts; t
establish a farm with multi-purposes.
"The farm that we hoped to establish would be built on the foundation of
wanting to be a help and aid to brothers who were in need. Not necessarily
as a welfare fund but helping those who are trying to help themselves,
while needing some assistance in any case. We wanted to have a place set
up on the farm for some R & R for people needing to have a short break
from the hustle and bustle of everyday life here in Israel. We wanted to
be an example of a family that would work hard and show others in the
community, that because of our beliefs, we were dedicated to doing what was
good and right, not so much with 'talk,' but by
'deeds.'" And thus began what is known to friends as the
'Ellis Farm' in northern Israel
The Ellis Farm is located in a small lower Galilee community with
picturesque views of fertile hills and valleys. Tal and Adi adapted quickly
to farm life, learning from scratch how to manage the animals and operate
the dairy milking equipment. At its peak, the farm boasted over 800 goats
Eventually Tal set out to learn the meticulous art of cheese production.
This process is highly technical and requires a large amount of dedication
and patience. His studies took him to over 14 countries and 100 operating
dairies. As a result of Tal's dedication, the Ellis farm produces some
of the finest quality goat cheese in Israel. In addition they sell milk and
yogurt products and sometimes-even ice cream! They sell these products at
the small shop on their property and at outdoor markets. The Ellis'
are in process of establishing a delivery business as well.
Unfortunately, as is the case with most small businesses in Israel, it is
impossible to succeed in the competitive market without large amounts of
capital; access to capital has been difficult for the Ellis family to
obtain. As a result, their farm has hit hard times. The equipment is old,
many of the animals had to be sold in order to pay off debts, and the
monies needed to invest in their cheese/coffee shop are unavailable. In
addition, there have been property lawsuits, equipment breakdowns, and
clients that have not paid for services rendered. All these difficulties
have eaten away funds. The herd has shrunk to less than half its size, not
large enough to produce the income to cover operating costs.
Tal recently wrote, "I would like to request to all those who are friends,
brothers and sisters in the Lord, supporters of Adi's and my dream and
our vision, to please with all sincerity, 'go before the throne of
the Almighty' and request mercy and clarity on our behalf concerning
what we should do to proceed forward."
Last month, through an unexpected gift from friends, the Ellis' were
able to purchase new baby female goats (does) to increase their flock. They
are hopeful that these will be the start of a new season for the farm.
In summation Tal adds:
"If we could recruit the funds and the manpower, there are other potential
projects that we could initiate on our farm.
Some of the projects that we would love to make a reality include:
- Build 4-5 new guesthouses
- Develop one of the fields to raise organic vegetables and fruits
for use here and for sale
- Turn the manure produced into compost for our use as well as for
sale to greenhouses
- Open a gift shop that would be a tourist stop for our area
- Utilize the meat that we produce for higher gains
- Develop and become licensed to sell our dairy products abroad
- Become as self sufficient as possible, even to the point of having
solar cells on all the buildings generating electricity and recycling
water for use in our fields and for the animals
- Apply for the licenses needed to take our cheese shop and convert
it into a cheese and coffee shop
- Put up a new security fence to keep out thieves and stray dog
attacks. (This would replace a fence that was put up in 1986 and
today has many breaches in it. One section is even completely gone.)"
At Revive Israel we see successful businesses as crucial for the survival
of the Messianic community in Israel, to provide jobs, training and income
for the Body here as well as to be a testimony to the community.
Through much blood, sweat and tears the Ellis family has survived ups and
downs, trials and tribulations, bumps and bruises, but also many blessings
and successes. They are one of the first businesses and probably the only
of this type started by believers that has endured for this amount of time.
Although far from reaching their potential, they have proved that they can
run a successful business and despite the difficulties they have faced have
maintained a good reputation.
Please join us in fulfilling Tal's request by bringing our fervent
prayers before the throne. Let's pray for the funds needed to run this
business successfully, to fulfill the dreams of this family, for protection
among the flocks, the property, the equipment and the merchandise, and for
the right workers to be joined with this project. Let's believe for
strength, renewal, wisdom and guidance for the Ellis family as they
continue to sow into the vision the Lord put on their hearts so many years