What is on my heart at this moment? My heart is full of compassion for our brothers and sisters in Venezuela!
The American media has hardly touched what is truly going on there. As a result, we have been relying on other international resources, whether professional or amateur.
For those of you not following the news, Venezuela is on the brink of massive change. For the first time in decades, an advocate for change by the name of Juan Guaidó has arisen to challenge Venezuela’s long history of dictatorship. And he has the vast majority of Western governments and media on his side. Their hope is to see free and fair elections and a peaceful society emerge from the ashes of Maduro’s destructive policies.
While this is great news, there has been a lot of resistance to this change and the rule of law is absent in most of the country. Everyone in Venezuela has been impacted in some way. Some of the people suffering are the very ones we have ministered to over the last decade. Murder, theft, and arson of homes are especially rampant in the southern part of the nation where our Indigenous brethren live.
Some of our Venezuelan sources have sent me videos, audio recordings, and numerous pictures of the shocking events. Two weeks ago, I was told of Indigenous children being kidnapped out of their classrooms and forced to fight on behalf of Maduro’s army. Men and women of all ages are coming out to fight against this atrocity. It has gotten so bad that I saw a picture of a grandma in a wheelchair, holding a rifle, ready to defend her family.
I saw the airport in Santa Elena (southern border with Brazil) burning in an attempt to drive out the police, who had not only supported but also endorsed these recent brutalities. Last night, we were told the government released prisoners from jail in order to strengthen Maduro’s army. Most of these prisoners had simply stolen bread to feed their families and have been held in overcrowded jails without any upcoming trial. The only food they were receiving was brought by their families. I would think these very prisoners would turn on the people who forced these inhumane conditions upon them.
On the northern ocean front, a ship coming from Puerto Rico with six US citizens on board, full of humanitarian aid, was told to not go any closer to the nation and remain in international waters or it would be burned.
I don’t say all this to inflict fear or anger. The suffering citizens are very close to my heart, and the Bible says when one suffers, we all suffer. We feel their pain and run to the Lord on their behalf. We also pray for the leadership. The ones trying to bring change, and the ones inflicting it alike!
The good news is that there is hope. There are many people praying for God to move and deliver His people, and we trust in Him completely. President Trump and Vice President Pence completely support a peaceful transition of power, but have said that all options are on the table. We pray for peace to reign in Venezuela, and we dare to believe in hope as such a time as this. We will not stop believing.
In response to the daily flood of texts I have received from our struggling friends and church leaders, immense compassion and love well up from within me to pray and to use every available resource to lessen their suffering. In obedience to the Father’s leading, because of His great love, and because He has linked us with our Venezuelan and Indigenous brethren, we will continue to come alongside them with prayer, knowing our God ordains when leaders rise and fall. But we want to enable them to continue to share the light of Christ into the darkness where their neighbors are literally dying of starvation. If hope can be brought through a meal that will postpone starvation another few days so that unbelieving ears can hear of the Hope of Christ, we want to use every means possible to expand His Kingdom through the relationships He has formed. The darkness and hopelessness are so intense that the hope of Christ shines even brighter.