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On the south side of Maracaibo is an open-air market, called MercaSur, where people come to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and bulk products. A lot of restaurants and markets in the city come here to buy their produce. The families that live around the market are often low-income and struggle daily to feed their children. Due to high inflation and scarce food supplies, many families can no longer afford multiple meals a day. Leading them to search through scraps of fruits and vegetables for meals.
While the economic situation in Venezuela continues to deteriorate, local churches are stepping out and pouring their hearts and lives into their communities. They have become a beacon of hope where all hope has been lost.
Our Bread of Hope local team started a literacy program and weekly bible study with the children who live near the market. They quickly realized that while many of the children loved the Bible study they were unable to attend regularly. Our staff began to see that the majority of these children are working around the market – cleaning, pushing carts, selling candy, or begging for money. They have to work to help bring food home. Work is now their main priority.
Our local Bread of Hope representative, Alfredo, shared an idea to encourage attendance by using groceries instead of small prizes as incentives for those who came to participate in the Bible study. Attendance, participation, and scripture memorization helps each student earn points towards which they can accumulate to buy groceries for their families. Relieving them of the pressure to put work ahead of their Bible study, education, and childhood.
Now children are starting to come every week to study God’s Word, have a hot meal, and earn another opportunity to provide for their families. Currently, there are over 60 children in the program, but more are being added each week. Their parents are also now coming to the Bible study. They are curious to see what their child is learning and how they are bringing food home. Thanks to our local team and our BOH donors, we are able to exchange the hopelessness that these families face with personal value in Jesus Christ.
— The Lord says, “All you who are thirsty, come and drink. Those of you who do not have money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend your money on something that is not real food? Why work for something that doesn’t really satisfy you? Listen closely to me, and you will eat what is good; your soul will enjoy the rich food that satisfies.” — Isaiah 55:1-2
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“Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may continually fulfill it.”
We humans are great starters but often bad finishers. We leave unfinished symphonies, unfinished buildings, unfinished books, unfinished projects. We may not always finish what we start, but God always finishes what He startsGod doesn’t create a bird and give him half a wing. He didn’t create an unfinished flower or an unfinished star. He puts the finishing touches on everything He does and then He says, “It is good.”
God is perfect. His Kingdom is perfect, but before we enjoy eternity with Him, He gave us a task to finish. Matthew 24:14 tells us that before the end comes, the gospel has to be preached in ALL the world.
However, 2,000 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection the Christian movement, especially in the global north, has lost its sense of urgency. Affluent, comfortable, and distracted, Christians today seem to have lost the fire to change the world. The work of God’s kingdom lies unfinished, and God’s people seem to have lost their very sense of purpose in the world.
There is a direct connection between the unfinished work of God’s kingdom and our sense of feeling incomplete in our Christian faith, because there is a connection between our story and God’s story. If we are not personally engaged in God’s great mission in the world, then we have missed the very thing he created us to do. We are like birds meant to fly but living in a cage; fish meant to swim but floundering on the beach.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. God created each of us uniquely, and he created us for a purpose.
It is time to rediscover God’s vision for our world and his call upon your life. Where do we fit into this big story of God, how can we discover the role God created us to play, and what are the implications of this for our lives, our world views, our careers, and our families? We need to revisit the breathtaking truth, the urgent mission, and the profound personal significance of our Christian faith as we seek to follow the One who died that we might have life and have it to the full.
What do you do when God calls you to action? You answer His call. Last year, we were contacted by a local elementary school in Venezuela asking for help. This elementary school in Maracaibo, Venezuela has a special needs program for Wayuu children called, Suwarala Wounmain, “light of the land” in Wayuu. It is designed to help educate and support Wayuu children with autism, down syndrome, dyspraxia, speech disorders, and more. With the socio-economic crisis going on in Venezuela right now, many of these children are skipping school. They simply don’t have the money for meals, transportation, or their medicine.
Bread of Hope has recently started to help three local Venezuelan churches in their efforts to support Suwarala Wounmain. The main goal of this program is to help these children develop mentally, emotionally, and socially so that they can successfully integrate into society and not be limited by their disorder.
Bread of Hope will be empowering the local church to impact the lives of these children, their families, and their teachers with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The principal of the school has given us the opportunity to spend an entire day each week with the children of the special needs program. There are 23 special needs students. During this time, we will be sharing Bible lessons, meals, and special learning activities with both the children and their parents. The principal has also confirmed that she would like our participation in their program to expand to the rest of their elementary school in the future. Please support us by praying for everyone involved in this program (the local church members, the students their parents, and the school staff).
$50 / month – You can support a special needs child with their education and help provide their families with groceries, medicine, and transportation to school.
After starting your donation, you will receive a thank you packet with a picture of the child you are supporting and a letter that you can write to them.
Have you heard about storytelling yet? It’s a powerful way of sharing God’s word through stories, pictures, improvisation, and plays. When you work with an oral-based culture, it is such an effective way to communicate the gospel. From March 11th-13th we had the privilege of traveling to La Guajira, Colombia to host a leadership training for local Wayuu churches. For this training session, we partnered with Hope and Help International’s, David and BJ Lawson. They helped us lead an incredible time of growth and fellowship as local leaders learned about God’s Word through storytelling.
David started at the very beginning, in Genesis, telling the story of creation through pictures and drawings. Each picture showed what was created on each of the seven days. At the end of his lesson, he asked those in attendance to re-tell him the story of creation ensuring that they understood what was taught. After creation, we taught about the fall of man through a play that involved our staff and the audience. They re-created those famous scenes in the garden of Eden. The Wayuu leaders were on the edge of their seats fascinated to hear and see about these stories in person. At the end, we explained how Jesus Christ was God’s plan of salvation to the separation that sin had created. That God has reconciled us through Christ. And when we believe in Him and are in Him, our old sinful lives pass away and we are made new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
During our training, we also had the privilege of teaching local children about creation and the fall of man through storytelling and crafts. We had a wonderful time sharing God’s Word with His children. Check out our Facebook page for all of the exciting pictures from these trainings.
Who would ever consider taking children on a mission trip? My wife and I asked this same question 9 years ago. Little did we know what God had in store for us. What a blessing it has been!
It has been amazing to see God work in our lives individually and as a family. When we are serving together as a family we have noticed our bond is closer and more united than at any other time. God created each of us to serve him. When we do this on the mission field it brings us into a closer bond with Him and those around us. We have noticed when we remove ourselves from all the distractions of the world and serve together as a family it brings us into a closer relationship with God which in turn brings us closer together as a family. The other aspect of taking your kids onto the mission field is that it opens their eyes to other cultures and people. I want my children to understand that God created and loves all people, all nations, and all tribes! The mission field has opened our kid’s eyes to how blessed we are to live where we have access to clean water, food and the ability to worship God freely! As we have served over these last 9 years in South America our prayer is that God would plant seeds in our kid’s hearts that would give them a passion for the lost. We pray that God would give them a love for people who are not like them and for God to give them a compassionate heart for those who are less fortunate than we are.
We have seen these qualities emerge from our children over the last several years and know it is a direct reflection of what God has done in their lives while serving others. Needless to say, all our fears and reservations of taking our kids on a mission trip have been removed and replaced by Gods sovereign plan.
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying” All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the Age.”
Venezuela is currently going through an economic and humanitarian crisis. Falling oil prices and government mismanagement have made it very difficult for its citizens to find basic food, medicine, and hygiene products on store shelves. Venezuela relies heavily on imported products, which wasn’t a problem when oil prices were high, but now that their income has been reduced drastically many families survive on just one meal a day. Without adequate nutrition, many children fall ill and since medicine is scarce many of these cases lead to death. We’ve talked with our local churches there and while they confirm that the situation in Venezuela continues to get worse they maintain their faith and hope in Jesus Christ, not in their current circumstances. They have become a source of light and hope for the families of Venezuela.
You can help support Bread of Hope’s campaign to send Boxes of Hope to the Wayuu People in Venezuela. The Box of Hope is a 16” x 12” x 12” box filled with non-perishable food, personal hygiene products, and school supplies.
The boxes will be delivered to local churches in Venezuela. They will use them to bless local Wayuu families in need. Each box will be an opportunity that the local church has to make a connection with a Wayuu family, not only by addressing their physical needs, but their spiritual ones as well.
Through these boxes we are empowering local churches to put Christ’s love on display. Giving them an opportunity to break down cultural barriers that have kept the Wayuu from knowing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Each box will be delivered by a local church who will be ministering to each family.
Bread of Hope has partnered with local churches to bring the hope of Jesus Christ
to the un-reached Wayuu in Colombia.
We invite you to come and join us as we exchange hopelessness
for personal value in Jesus Christ.
SHORT-TERM MISSION TRIP INFORMATION:
Place: Riohacha, Colombia
Dates: July 9-16
Includes: airfare (from Atlanta, GA), lodging, transportation, meals and ministry events.
Bread of Hope
292 South Main Street – Suite 200 Alpharetta, GA 30009
add: MISSION TRIP PAYMENT
For more information about this trip contact us:
It’s common for Wayuu churches to have prayer vigils since it is much cooler at night than during the day. People travel from communities far away and dedicate several hours to worship, to listen to testimonies, to share Gods word, and to encourage each other putting aside their many troubles and worries. They spend several hours in corporate worship with God.
When I see this image of pure, Christ-centered worship, it’s hard for me to not think about how we worship corporately and personally. Today, a lot of our worship is less about Christ and more about us and our needs and demands. Nowadays, we rely on our technology and expertise to make a spectacular performance for our enjoyment and attention. It becomes perfectly normal to believe that worship is something that is enjoyed best in an environment that is perfectly rehearsed, coordinated, and controlled through every moment and every song. But personally, I believe that worship doesn’t look like that. I believe worship has to be led first by the Holy Spirit. Not for what we can orchestrate and perfect. There has to be room for the Holy Spirit to lead us. We don’t need the production or the show. Christ is enough, He alone deserves all the glory and praise. I’m truly grateful that I have been able to experience worship among my Wayuu brothers and sisters.