In times like these... 1st Quarter 2021
In spite of the constant stratagems and changes imposed by the authorization of the state for the churches to congregate normally in large groups, the work of God in Venezuela has not stopped advancing, but has reached more people in new and different ways.
Pastor Julio has faithfully sent a devotional every morning in audio format, and a written message published on social networks. The brethren with smart phones receive it and share it with other believers, family or friends, constantly evangelizing those who do not have a telephone or internet access. They meet with another brother and listen to the devotional together, inviting even neighbors to join them. It has been a great surprise for us, but not for God, how these messages are being forwarded to many other Spanish-speaking people around the world. Certainly God has used this medium for the edification of his children in times like these!
It has been 13 years since the founding of the Puerta Abierta (Open Door) Church and God allowed us to have a special anniversary service with the maximum possible capacity of seated people (360) or who was counting? The use of masks was necessary, hand sanitizer was provided, and whenever possible, social distancing maintained. I cannot put into words the joy of hearing everyone singing together, seeing children, youth and adults using their gifts and talents, and at the end, serving a nutritious meal for everyone, even with cake. It would not be a church anniversary without singing Happy Birthday and eating cake!
We count as a privilege the opportunity to serve, in times like these, 4 different churches with national pastors, by training and consolidating biblical ministries to help strengthen marriages. Weekly, we meet with each pastor and wife, study the teaching material and pray together, allowing God to edify each couple. We serve in each of these churches, teaching marriage principles through activities that have allowed non-believing couples to receive Biblical counseling, as well as planning for future couple retreats. The results have been wonderful as we see healthy families being an active part of the local church and consecrating their lives so that the name of Christ is known for His evident restorative work in their lives.
God has allowed us to be a channel of blessing for several pastor families with urgent needs, whether it be bicycles to commute (because the distances they walked were enormous), new tires for their vehicles, renovations for their houses to have greater security, medical exams or medications, among many other needs. I am talking about men and women who serve the Lord with all their strength in really harsh conditions every day; about the reality of a country that still experiences constant electricity failures, weeks without piped water, and a gasoline crisis that affects public and private transportation; about hyperinflation; about insecurity and the uncertainty of what the socialist state will allow us as churches to do in times like this pandemic.
We ask for your prayers for wisdom and guidance from God. In our hearts there is an enormous desire to continue helping these and many other church planters in Venezuela. Pray for our health. Although our bout with COVID was not so severe, the difference of how we felt before and after the virus has been noticed.
In times like these God has chosen to use difficult circumstances to purify his church and His glorious grace is evident. Many homes have been transformed into small churches and believers have been strengthened in the hope of Isaiah 41:10... “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Thankful for your love, your prayers, and your support!