Venezuela is a nation swiftly plummeting to collapse. Hyperinflation continues to keep the cost of food out of reach of the majority of the population; very little medical care is available in the country; schools are closed, and violent crimes are more prevalent each day. Our IMB team continues to use the gifts from generous Southern Baptists to provide for those caught in the maelstrom of this humanitarian crisis.
We support projects that train people to grow high-yield gardens to raise their own food at a local level.
- We provide food through 11 distribution centers throughout the country. Venezuelan churches receive the food and, in turn, provide meals through church feeding centers in the communities. We purchase the food in Venezuela and then distribute it in the regions around the distribution centers. Food is available in-country, but the prices are above what any Venezuelan can afford to purchase.
- We provide basic medicines that we distribute through a network of trusted medical clinics in Venezuela. This ministry will be more difficult with the closing of the Colombian border due to COVID-19.
- We offer care for Venezuelan refugees as they enter Colombia. They have an opportunity to receive basic medical care, take a shower to restore human dignity, and wash their clothes. For some who have no shoes or shoes that are not suitable for walking the mountain pass as they set out across Colombia, we provide sturdy walking shoes and socks.
- We provide meals for pastors and their wives at pastor-and-missionary conferences once a year, so pastors who are continually giving to their congregations and the people they are trying to reach have a couple of days of retreat at the Baptist camp. They receive basic medical and dental care, eat a few good meals, gain encouragement through times of worship and teaching from God’s Word. The training they receive helps them return, refreshed, to their churches and ministry to people in the country.
- We offer trauma-healing training to pastors and lay leaders so they can lead small groups enabling people to work through the trauma they are experiencing as their country declines.
The refuge center at the border town of Cucuta, Colombia, is currently closed due to the border closing by the Colombian government as well as rules against gathering groups. The entire country of Colombia is sequestered in home-quarantine for 30 days, which affects our ministry to displaced people in Colombia. That important ministry is temporarily on hold until the quarantine is lifted.
Experts predict that there will be another significant wave of refugees fleeing Venezuela on the backside of this pandemic when the Venezuelan government fails to take care of its people. Through your generosity, we will respond with the ongoing provision of food, shelter and medicines for those choosing to stay in the country. We will continue to support local Baptist churches in Venezuela and their ministries, as well as reaching out to the refugees who are fleeing the country.
Amid the chaos and heartbreak, we know that God is still enthroned above economic collapse and global pandemics. His timing is perfect, as he showed some American who volunteered with us recently. Read their story of God’s provision for Venezuelan refugees and here: https://www.imb.org/2019/10/25/hope-for-weary-souls/
All of these ministries are platforms to share the gospel. Those who receive food, medical care, or help for their trauma also hear a gospel message about the hope we have in Jesus. Many Venezuelans have come to know the Lord this past year through these ministries, and new churches have been planted. The gospel continues to bring healing and hope to the people of Venezuela as we demonstrate the love of Jesus in a practical way. Thank you for your prayers and generous support of these critical ministries. You are the hands and feet of Christ, offering a lifeline to an overwhelmed and traumatized people who desperately need hope.