Venezuela, located on the northern coast of South America, is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet, even home to the world’s largest waterfall, “Angel Falls,” (featured on the Pixar’s film, “UP”). Blessed by God with the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world, the country consistently ranks among the top ten world crude oil producers. Yet in 1998, a country with endless potential to rise and prosper began into a downward spiral with the election of Hugo Chavez as President. Venezuela had fallen into the hands of socialism. Socialism in Venezuela has deprived people of their freedom and human rights. Poverty has increased, and crime rates are alarming.
Yet I believe what has hurt my country the most was the eviction of all foreign Christian missionaries. Alan Winter, President of Frontline Missions, began conducting trips to Venezuela in 1999 along with many other foreign missionaries.
Although Frontline Missions has not been able to return to Venezuela since 2012, the goal of these missionary teams, and others, was to evangelize and train new Christian leaders. In fact, I myself was impacted by this movement at the age of fifteen. I was still living in Venezuela, and my friend, Alexandra Esis, invited me to a Christian church. This church was filled with people, and the presence of God was so strong that it almost felt overwhelming.
To my surprise, the pastors were American missionaries. I will never forget how that American missionary church impacted my life. My passion for God was ignited in that place. Years later, God brought me to the United States to get a higher education and to get to know Him like never before. Then, after graduating as a dental hygienist in 2012, God called me to be a missionary myself. I am currently receiving first class biblical training at Grace College of Divinity in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Grace College of Divinity was also involved in the missions that once took place in Venezuela. Talk about God’s networking!
The situation in Venezuela only gets worse as time goes on. It is heartbreaking to see the land where you grew up falling apart. I desire for my country to be free from communism. My prayer is that God will give us a president, not according to what we deserve, but according to His love, grace, and mercy (Romans 5:20). However, this will not bring a true change to my country; the political, social, and economical problems that have overtaken Venezuela are only superficial compared to a deeper issue that comes down to the heart of man. This would be like trying to cure a cancer with aspirin.
What Venezuelans really need is for their hearts to be ignited with the Word of God and to come to know the true freedom of Jesus Christ. “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Thus my dream is to take my biblical training, all I have learned with Frontline Missions, and my skills as a dental hygienist to evangelize, train and disciple the people of Venezuela.
My vision is that I would be able to share all of the revelation and biblical knowledge I have gained at Grace College of Divinity, as well as my growing, personal relationship with my Father, with my fellow countrymen. I foresee a time that would bring teams such as Frontline Missions back to the hungry people of my country. Partnering with local churches and pastors, these teams would be anointed to raise up Venezuelan leaders who will stand firm in the Word of God and live God-honoring lives based on biblical principles. Venezuela needs leaders passionate about the advancement of God’s Kingdom, and dedicated to seeing Jesus Christ glorified in every Venezuelan family and community. I want to see leaders rising up to create a virus-like movement of church growth. Jesus Christ is the solution. God promises in Deuteronomy 28:1-2, “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.”