It was early in 2002 as we passed through El Vigía on our way to Merida, that we noticed a large area of vacant land had been taken over by squatters. This area on the outskirts of El Vigía became known as Monte Verde, and over the years the dwellings have changed from bamboo, timber, and tin huts to block houses. The Lord put a burden on our hearts to bring the gospel to these people, so in July 2002 we purchased one of the allotments with two bamboo huts, on which to build a house and have a place to reach out from with the gospel.
For three years we travelled most weeks from San Cristobal where we were living at the time, but realized that to see a local assembly of believers gathered to the name of the Lord Jesus, we would have to live in El Vigía. On our return from furlough in Australia in 2005, we made our residence in the one bedroom house in Monte Verde, and during the next three years added a second floor with three bedrooms and a study. During that time we commenced a work with the children of the area, teaching them the Word of God. This also gave us the opportunity to make contact with their parents, as our desire is to see them trust Christ as their Savior.
El Vigía is the major town in the area of Venezuela, known as Sur del Lago, or South of the Lake, and situated on a crossroads that leads to four states. Besides the children’s and gospel meetings in Monte Verde, we visited several other towns in the area, including Caño Zancudo, La Burra Mocha, and Santa Barbara with similar outreaches. On several occasions a group of believers from assemblies in Valencia and Merida have come to help evangelize the different towns in the area. On these occasions the Seed Sower texts and other literature have been delivered to every house, followed by an open air gospel meeting in the street. When possible, we have continued with nightly gospel meetings in the home or patio of a believer, or someone who is willing to let us use their property for this purpose. I had a 6x3m canopy made to use for these meetings, as it often rains in this tropical area near the lake. When there have been enough believers to help we have also held children’s meetings each afternoon.
All these activities have the purpose of sowing the good seed of the Word of God in the hearts of the people, with the desire that they will trust Christ for salvation. We were also looking to the Lord to direct us as to the place where we should purchase an allotment for the construction of a hall where the believers could gather for prayer and Bible teaching, etc.
In May of 2008, we commenced prayer and Bible study meetings in our house, as we saw the need to teach and unite the new believers in the truth of gathering to the Lord’s Name. Although the garage area of our house had served as a meeting place since the work began, we now felt the need to have a building in which the believers could gather. The meetings presently being held are a devotional meeting, children’s meeting and gospel meeting on Sunday, prayer and ministry on Tuesday, and Bible study on Thursday.
In July of 2011 we commenced looking for a suitable block of ground in the vicinity of Monte Verde and the neighboring suburb of La Lucha where a series of gospel meetings had been held, resulting in some professing faith in Christ. The Lord’s will was made clear to us in several ways, as He directed us to an allotment in La Lucha, and provided the necessary funds for its purchase in August of 2011. Several working bees were held to clean and level the ground, and to erect a block fence for security during the building process of the hall.
It has been wonderful to see how the Lord has provided the funds for the purchase of the materials, and also provided the brethren with the ability to do the work. The allotment already had some foundations laid which we have been able to use. The remaining foundations have now been laid, and the steel frame construction for the meeting section of the hall has been welded in place, including the roof trusses and fiber cement sheeting on the roof. Last week we were able to pour the concrete floor of the meeting area, so we are very happy with the progress being made so far.
The sisters have been helping my wife Daphne with the preparation of three meals daily here in our house, so it has been a very taxing time for all. At present we are having a few weeks’ break from the construction work, and preparing for the next group of brethren who will come to weld the steel construction for the back section of the hall. This area will be used for the kitchen and restrooms, with a second floor for accommodation.
When we commenced the work here in El Vigía, the Lord confirmed His will to us through His words to the apostle in Acts 18:9-10, “Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.” Although we have not seen the results we long for, or maybe expected, we continue to preach and teach the Word of God, waiting for the day when a group of believers saved by the grace of God, are baptized and gathered to remember our Lord in the way He instructed us. Some have professed faith in Christ, but are not going on well; others are showing fruit and need to arrange their lives in matrimony. We value the prayers of the Lord’s people that His Name will be glorified in El Vigía, with a real work of God being established.