An Empty Refrigerator

Editor’s note: IMB missionaries Paul and Robin Tinley have been ministering to Venezuelans affected by the economic crisis both in and out of the country. Robin reminds us that each refugee and each person struggling to survive in Venezuela has a story and is made in the image of God.

Oscar, a Venezuelan Baptist pastor, opened the refrigerator. It was empty. In a country where his monthly $4 wage will only buy a few eggs, where runaway inflation means he has no savings, where a partially filled tank of gas costs five month’s salary, this was no surprise. This has become the norm in Venezuela. This Christian man, his wife and their young son have nowhere to turn.

Venezuelan Refugees

Venezuelans cross a bridge that connects Venezuela and Colombia. Some are looking for a new home; others are crossing to buy much-needed supplies no longer available in their homeland. (IMB photo by Chris Carter)

“The situation we are living in has generated severe scarcity,” says Pastor Oscar. “To be honest, one is terrified. You stand there and think, ‘What are we going to eat?’”

At that moment a knock sounded on the door of the family’s small home. A delivery of basic food items had just arrived.

“The impact [of this gift] brings immediate benefits to me, to my family,” continues the young pastor, “not just this month but every month.  Receiving this help is gratifying and we know we can count on you. This is extremely beneficial. Punctually this box of food arrives each time the refrigerator is empty—literally empty, no exaggeration.”

The RaVenz Project, funded by Southern Baptists through Send Relief, delivers more than food.

“It has been the answer to our prayers and our hopeful faith, all to the glory to God. Sometimes we don’t even have enough to buy one bar of soap. Imagine that—a bar of soap!” Or toothpaste or any similar item of basic need, Pastor Oscar explains.

“At the moment of hunger, at the moment of critical need, this help arrives. Seeing how God supplies our needs through this [project] is a testimony. It is a testimony every month.”

Through the RaVenz Project, Venezuelan pastors, ministers and their families receive a monthly box of food staples and basic household items they cannot possibly buy. The most vulnerable in their congregations and communities also receive help through the project, along with a gospel message. A $20 donation will purchase the basic food and household needs of a Venezuelan family for one month. Venezuelan believers recognize the pandemic has thrown many economies into chaos but continue to pray and trust God that this desperately needed aid will continue at that punctual moment.


Find out how you can be a part of the RaVenz Project and join in the work to care for refugees and those left behind in the crisis. Visit today.