Venezuela Appeal - April 2019 Update

Land of Grace

Tradition has it that upon making landfall on his third voyage, Christopher Columbus pronounced the words, "Land of Grace." Taken by such an exuberant landscape, he had no alternative but to let himself be overcome by the need to contemplate the beauty that opened before his eyes. Columbus and his sailors had arrived in Venezuela.

Grace has surely been present in these lands tucked between the Caribbean Sea, the northern tip of the Andes mountains and the Amazon rainforest. Long before Columbus arrived, God’s grace was present. Despite the severe economic crisis the country is experiencing now, the Presbyterian Church of Venezuela (IPV) has been demonstrating grace by inviting neighbors to enjoy warm meals and thoughtful conversations. In spite of frequent shortages of groceries and supplies, the twenty-two churches and three schools of the IPV have been able to find and distribute the basics such as rice, beans, flour, oil, sugar and vegetables. Encouraged by the gifts, some congregations have expanded their efforts to include hospitals and senior care centers.

Power and water shortages as well as looting are becoming increasingly common. The coordinating committee of the Synod of the IPV is seeking to address the country’s very daunting need for medications for high blood pressure, heart conditions and diabetes. The monthly supply of medicines for those conditions costs three or four times the average salary and are typically very difficult to find.

Regardless of overwhelmingly challenging conditions, the people of the Presbyterian Church of Venezuela remain a people of grace in the midst of very disturbing circumstances. Rev. Zulema Garcia, outgoing moderator of the Synod, states: “Thank you for your prayers for our beautiful country. May God’s splendor continue to shine in us more than ever.”

Thank you for your generous response to help God’s people in Venezuela. We will keep you informed as we in the leadership of The Outreach Foundation discern future possibilities for deepening our relationship and joint efforts with our sisters and brothers in Venezuela.

With appreciation in Christ,
Juan Sarmiento, Associate Director for Mission