The current situation in Venezuela is significantly worse than it was in 2017. The economy has continued in a downward tailspin that has shuttered thousands of businesses and left hundreds of thousands unemployed. Between 2014 and 2018 the currency devalued 70,000%, and the inflation/price index for this year is currently projected by the International Monetary Fund to reach 1,000,000% (1 million percent). On August 20, the Central Bank issued a new currency that took five zeros off the current monetary bills (e.g. Bs. 10,000 of the old currency are now equal to Bs. 1). When announcing the adjustment to the currency, the president also announced that by September 1, minimum wage would be increased 34 times over. This will only provide limited and temporary relief because populist measures like these will only further fuel the hyper-inflation process in the weeks and months that are ahead. In fact, one week after this measure was taken, the currency had devalued an additional 100%. Additionally, minimum wage only applies to those currently employed.
Hunger and malnutrition are obvious and prevalent among the people. The government hides the statistics, but violence and malnutrition among children and adults, as well as the reappearance of diseases that had been eradicated many years ago, such as malaria, diphtheria, and measles, are now on the rise again.
The crisis has sparked mass migrations of “Venezolanos” who are fleeing the country and moving to neighboring South American countries as well as other continents, seeking to generate income for themselves and for their relatives who are still in the country. The UN estimates that 2.3 million Venezuelans have migrated from Venezuela since 2014.
Despite the crisis, the Lord continues to work in Venezuela. There are no restrictions as to the liberty to preach the gospel and carry out the mandate of Mark 16:15. We pray that these liberties may continue.
The Venezuela Relief Fund (VRF) was created at the beginning of 2017 in response to requests from different assemblies and individuals in North America who were looking for a practical way to channel relief to needy Christians in crisis-struck Venezuela.
Funds sent to the VRF are used mainly for purchasing nonperishable food and over-the-counter medications, which are then shipped to Venezuela in pallets and boxes. Food is purchased mostly in Miami from wholesalers; medications and toiletries individually packed in smaller boxes are sourced from both on-line retailers and retailers such as Costco and Walmart. A small group of brethren and sisters mostly from Venezuela, as well as some who work from their homes in Charlotte, MI, Eaton Rapids, MI, and Deland, FL, administer the fund as well as all the activities related to purchasing, shipping, and tracking each delivery until it reaches the intended destination. Dangers to the integrity of the shipments abound. However, so far, all shipments since we started in 2017 have arrived at their intended destinations. Minor damage because of a storm at sea occurred in two recent shipments, but overall, the Lord has preserved and protected all that has been sent. Once the pallets and boxes clear customs in Venezuela, they are trucked to their end destination by the shipping company. The truck drivers are usually accompanied by military personnel to ensure the safe transit and delivery.
Shipments are being distributed in such a way as to ensure that all the 189 assemblies in the country receive a portion. Food and medication are also supplied regularly to the two Homes for the Aged and one small orphanage. There are certain areas in the country that, because of restrictions in the transport of food, we cannot reach with shipments of food. In these cases (a minority), funds are transferred to trusted brethren and sisters who then purchase food and medicine locally and distribute to the Christians. On some occasions, funds have also been sent to help with the Bible Conferences that are held throughout the year. Additionally, funding that is used for the purchase of paper has been sent to Venezuela, so tracts and gospel publications can be produced.
VRF Activity 2017-2018
|Purchases of Food and Medicine/
|Non-Perishable Food Shipped (lbs)||89,342||169,750|
|Boxes of Medications/Toiletries||–||216|
Funds earmarked for VRF can be sent through the Truth and Tidings Trust either in Canada or in the USA. Also, checks made out to Battle Creek Assembly of Christians can be sent to Battle Creek Assembly of Christians, 3203 Snowy Pine Drive, Charlotte, MI 48813.
The Lord’s people in Venezuela have expressed repeatedly their gratitude for the kindness of His people around the world. Even though what has been sent can only fill a fragment of the current need, His people are deeply grateful, and only He knows the praise that has risen to His presence because of this effort.
Prayer Requests as follows:
That these channels of supplies might remain open
That the shipments arrive safely at their intended destination
That local brethren who decide the final distribution amongst the Lord’s people in Venezuela be helped and guided by the Lord to know when and where to supply the help packages
That guidance and help from the Lord be given to those handling the purchasing process here in the USA and the decisions as to where to ship the supplies in Venezuela.