The Ezra Team

Ezra partners with organizations all over the world to help Jewish people living
in regions of the former Soviet Union, South and Central America emigrate to Israel.

Mel Hoelzle

Founder and President

Ezra International’s founder and president, Mel has been part of aliyah—the return of the Jewish people to Israel—since the early 1990s. Mel believes that God’s name is glorified when Christians extend a helping hand to the Jewish people. This vision has led him to pioneer service to Jewish communities in Ukraine, Siberia, Argentina, and many other countries where Ezra’s teams work.

Joanne Hoelzle


Joanne serves as Ezra International’s secretary and treasurer. With Mel, she founded Ezra’s work to help bring the Jewish people home to Israel. She has dedicated her life to the vision of Ezra through hands-on service since 1995, helping the Jewish people through the love of God.

Rev. Barry Wagner

Vice President

Barry began serving with Ezra International in the late 1990s and is Vice President. While serving as a full-time pastor, Barry began to see God’s faithfulness and love to the Jewish people, and he shares this message with Christian communities in the United States. Barry also leads annual “Fishing Trips” to Ukraine, introducing North Americans to Ezra’s work in the former Soviet Union.

Linda Wagner


Linda serves Ezra’s supporters and donor community in the United States. Since the late 1990s, she has been on several trips to Ukraine and to Israel, and she regularly joins her husband Barry as he visits churches in the US.

Janet LeBlanc

Management Analyst

Janet is Ezra International’s management analyst. She gathers and evaluates information within the organization to present solutions and recommendations to management staff and other high-level professionals in Ezra.

Rev. Richard Wagner

Field Support

Richard shares the message about the Jewish people’s return to Israel with congregations in the US. Rev. Wagner has been on several “Fishing Trips” to Ukraine and is committed to the work of bringing the Jewish people back to Israel from around the world.

Rev. Gary Cristofaro

Director of Development

Gary is a passionate advocate for Israel and the Jewish people. In his role as a pastor, he calls on Christians to answer their responsibility to the Jewish people, challenging them to build bridges with the Jewish community and come to a better understanding of Christianity’s Hebraic roots.

Roy Trepanier

Executive Director–Ezra International Canada

As Ezra Canada’s executive director, Roy is a firm supporter of the Jewish people, their right to return to Israel, and God’s unchanging love for them. Roy participated in a “Fishing Trip” to Ukraine in 2008 and starting coordinating the work of Ezra Canada not long after. He regularly speaks at churches and on radio and television to share the message of aliyah wherever he can.

Dr. Fred Wright

National Director–Ezra International UK

Fred serves as Ezra UK’s national director and shares his extensive experience in aliyah work with churches in the United Kingdom. Fred has partnered in projects to bring the Jewish people to Israel from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia. He is a noted scholar, with his works focusing on Christian-Jewish relations.

Pat Frame

Field Operations Manager

Pat has helped Jewish people come home to Israel for more than two decades. She supervised teams in Ukraine for 11 years and currently oversees Ezra’s work in Russia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and other nations of the former USSR. Pat also oversees Ezra’s work in Europe and South America and is Ezra International’s liaison with Ezra UK.

Craig Shrum

Director, Latin America

Craig has worked with Ezra’s teams from Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova.  He also assisted families in Israel who received assistance from Ezra as they made aliyah.  Craig currently oversees our work in Latin America.