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Health Program

Healthcare is a huge need for the Wayuu people.  For many years we have been praying about starting a Health Program in La Guajira, Colombia, and just a few days ago we hosted the first training session.

The goal of our Health Program is to empower local churches with the knowledge and tools they need to prevent life-threatening illnesses and support the overall health of their communities.  Local church leaders will train for one year learning about nutrition, hygiene, disease prevention, and how to treat basic ailments.

Our Health Program will also give local churches the opportunity to connect and build relationships with the unreached families in their communities.  As they seek to serve not just the physical needs around them, but the spiritual ones as well.

We are training 12 participants from 6 different communities.

We would like to thank ITEC for their support and guidance in starting this program.

Sembradores Training Venezuela

Training indigenous leaders, the foundation for a church and community transformation

Sembradores is a Spanish word for “seed sowers”. 

When we first started our pastor training, we shared the parable of the seed and the importance of the “little things” in God’s kingdom. Wayuu pastors realized how important is the seed but, at the same time, how easily it can be underestimated. We read Matthew 13:37-38

“He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one”

They understood how important they are in taking the gospel to their own people, realizing that they are sowers and also the seed.

One of them spoke up and said: What if we call this training “Sembradores” (Seed Sowers)?

At Bread of Hope, we believe that biblically-equipped local leaders are fundamental in accomplishing our goal of reaching the Wayuu people with the gospel. They can overcome the cultural barriers better than we can, they know and understand their culture and communities, they speak the language and have influence among their people.

Last Easter, we started the first Sembradores training in Venezuela. We spent a whole week with six Wayuu leaders studying the progressive revelation of the gospel from the beginning (Genesis) to the fulfillment of the promises in Jesus (the Gospels).

“It was amazing to see their eye lighting up as they discovered the connections between the Old Testament stories and Jesus. Balmiro, one of the participants who was also our Spanish-Wayuunaiki interpreter, broke down in tears during one of the teaching sessions as we learned how God’s salvation was promised and accomplished in Christ.” 

Alfredo Hernandez. Bread of Hope Ministry Coordinator VEN.

The Sembradores training is a two-year training. Hosting the training in Venezuela and Colombia can ensure the beginning of a new group and a graduation every year, as we alternate starting a training in Venezuela and one in Colombia the following year.

Developing this process in Venezuela is vital to our strategy to geographically expand and multiply our reach to cover the entire Guajira territory.

COVID-19 in La Guajira Ministry Update

La Guajira, Colombia is seeing a new rise in COVID-19 cases, and it is affecting Wayuu communities more than ever. Due to several reported deaths and hospitals reaching capacity, the local government is calling for further restrictions including curfews and the cancellation of recreational and tourist activities.

One of the affected communities is Poromana, a community Bread of Hope has served for years.  Several of our staff members and volunteers live in this community.

Poromana was recently featured in the local news as a COVID-19 hotspot. Robert Riviera, who lived in Poromana and is the brother of our dear friend, Pastor Antonio Riveira, passed away after battling with COVID-19 in the hospital for several days.

Our staff is alert and taking all the precautions, following the protocols established by our health coordinator Doctor Jose Espina. We have postponed some activities that involve gatherings, but we continue our support to local churches, monitoring the situation among all the communities we serve.

 

We ask that you join us in prayer.

Pray for:

Wisdom and discernment for our staff as they continue to serve Wayuu churches and communities.

For the Wayuu people, amid the fear and anxiety caused by this virus, they can see the light and hope of the gospel.

For local pastors and church leaders to have opportunities to proclaim the gospel of truth in these times of uncertainty.

For Pastor Antonio’s family and the people of Poromana.

Emilia’s Story

It’s January 1st, 2021 and a new day has begun with all of the promises and expectations of the new year.  It’s a calm, still morning and I’m enjoying the day with my wife, thanking God for all of His blessings.  Around noon, a phone call comes in and I’m expecting the usual New Year’s greeting from a friend, but when I answered I heard the trembling voice of a woman.  I immediately knew that something was terribly wrong.  Her voice was filled with heartbreak and despair.  It was Emilia, a 24-year-old Wayuu mother and member of a community called “La Esperanza” or “The Hope”.  This is a community located inside of a landfill that serves Maicao, Colombia a city just 10 miles shy of the border with Venezuela.  Emilia called us desperately begging for help as she held the deceased body of her 2-year-old daughter in her hands.  

Without hesitation, we rushed to the hospital where we found Emilia filled with pain and doubt.  She was crying, “Why my God are you taking her away, on this day?  I can’t….I can’t deal with this pain!”  When we asked her what happened,  she replied, “My daughter only had diarrhea and slept a lot, but I thought that she was fine, then she stopped responding, and I immediately ran to the hospital.”

As a doctor, it was evident that Emilia lacked the knowledge and tools of preventative health that were necessary to prevent her daughter’s death. That is why I will be fighting tirelessly to prevent more cases like this from happening.

You may be wondering, how can we keep this from happening?  Where do we even start? It all starts with education and training. At  Bread of Hope, we are developing a health program that will provide Wayuu communities with the tools and knowledge they need to implement preventive care.  We will train community members as health aides, and educate them to monitor and promote the health of their community.  The health aides we will be training are the disciples of the pastors in our “Sembradores” program.  This health program will provide these disciples with opportunities to connect with their own communities, share the gospel, and make more disciples.  Healing not just the body, but the soul as well.  

If you’re wondering what happened to Emilia, she is doing better.  She just found out today that she is pregnant again; Hallelujah! 

 

Dr. Jose Espina.

Health Program Coordinator

Bread of Hope

Riohacha, Colombia.

A Christmas of Hope

As many of you know, due to the circumstances of this year, we had to cancel the in-person annual Harvest of Hope dinner and move our end of the year giving to an online platform. We are sad that we will not be able to fellowship with you in-person, but we know that the Lord is in control of everything! We are excited to announce A Christmas of Hope!

You may or may not know, but the annual Harvest of Hope dinner alone provides the majority of our funds for the entire year. We have been blown away by your generosity at this dinner and how it has sustained us through the years, making it possible for us to bring the eternal hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unreached Wayuu people.

During this week, we ask that you would PRAY with us for the unreached Wayuu people, that you would GIVE to support the work that the Lord has for 2021, and that you would SHARE this blog with your friends and family so that they can join in on what God is doing here!

 

We all have so much… but you can meet the needs of “the least of these” by giving the gift of eternal hope this Christmas!

Join the Bread of Hope family and give the gift of eternal hope to the unreached Wayuu people!

COVID-19 Prevention Project

The peak of COVID-19 cases among indigenous communities in Colombia will be between November and December

According to a report from the Colombian National Organization of Indigenous Peoples (ONIC), the peak of COVID-19 cases among indigenous communities in Colombia will be between November and December of 2020.

Due to several cultural and lifestyle factors, the Wayuu people are extremely vulnerable to this virus.

  • Lack of water (for handwashing and showers).
  • Poor nutrition – A high carb diet and very little proteins make their immune system weak.
  • Cooking with wood fire and exposing their lungs to constant smoke makes their respiratory system very vulnerable to this virus.
  • The Wayuu community culture enables the virus to spread faster than it would in a city setting.
  • Lack of proper areas to isolate people with symptoms.

These factors and many others make the Wayuu people an at-risk population.

Some reports from the Colombian Health Department suggest that the indigenous population, like the Wayuu people, could face a higher COVID-19 death rate than any other people in Colombia.

At Bread of Hope, we want to help keep our Wayuu communities safe.

Doctor Jose and nurse Yoilen Espina are part of our local team in Colombia. They created a workshop for Wayuu communities to provide basic information about the coronavirus and help prevent it.

We provide a sanitation kit with handsoap, face masks, and antibacterial gel for each Wayuu family.

For the next few weeks, we want to take this prevention plan to over 20 Wayuu communities reaching over 5,000 Wayuu people.

HELP US CONTINUE TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19

AMONG WAYUU PEOPLE.

Summer 2020

At Bread of Hope, our goal is to empower the Wayuu people to reach their own communities with the Gospel. This summer we got to see that in action during the Covid-19 crisis. Our mission trips were canceled but our local staff continued the work equipping local leaders, empowering native churches, and transforming communities with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

#CovidCantStopTheGospel 

A New Partnership, More Hope

As the need for food in our ministry in Venezuela arose, we prayed and searched for a way to help supply easy to transport meals from the USA to our partner churches and communities in Venezuela. With the coronavirus crisis, feeding focused ministries were at capacity, and emergency food, such as long shelf life meals and dry food, was hard to find. Thankfully God opened the door with Gleanings for the Hungry. From our first contact, they were very open to know about Bread of Hope and partnering with us. 

Gleanings for the hungry is a mercy ministry of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), their mission is to feed the hungry of the world, both physically and spiritually. They produce shelf-stable food such as a dehydrated soup mix and dried fruits.  Their production is given to partner ministries around the world, to be distributed in impoverished areas. 

Our campaign, Meals of Hope, raised the funds we needed in less than a week!  Through this campaign, we were able to send the first shipment that will supply over 25,000 meals and hundreds of nutritional drinks for Wayuu families in Venezuela. 

We are deeply thankful for Gleanings for the Hungry, their leadership, and the donors who made this a reality. Hundreds of Wayuu families will be blessed and touched by the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a tangible way. 

Meals of Hope

Venezuela has the biggest oil reserves in the world, but it has been suffering an unprecedented fuel crisis. This has forced people to walk miles to work, leave crops rotting in the fields, or turn to a military-controlled market to buy gas at an exorbitant price.

The country’s health-care system is in disarray after years of mismanagement and corruption. Hospitals have shortages of medicine, supplies, and even lack the most basic services such as running water or electricity. The UN is calling it one of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis for a country not in conflict.

This situation presents a difficult challenge for our ministry in Venezuela. Our literacy and outreach programs continue to make an impact on the lives of hundreds of Wayuu children who rely on the support of their teachers to get the education they need, a nutritious meal, and more importantly the hope of the Gospel.

Lately, our local staff and church partners are struggling to find all the supplies and food they need locally. This is making it difficult to continue to provide the needed meals to the communities that they serve. Bread of Hope has partnered with Gleanings for the Hungry to create this campaign that will supply our partner churches in Venezuela with 20,000 meals. This campaign will allow us to continue and expand our feeding programs for the rest of the summer. Our hope is that our local staff and partners will be able to reach out and give even more Wayuu communities in Venezuela the opportunity to hear and receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Hebrews 13:6

VENEZUELA MINISTRY UPDATE MAY 2020

Help us provide meals for at-risk Wayuu families in Venezuela

$6,000 provides 25,000 hot meals ($0.24/meal) and hundreds of supplemental nutritional drinks for malnourished children.

VENEZUELA MINISTRY UPDATE – COVID-19 CRISIS

If you live in the U.S. and have filled your car up lately, chances are that you have seen gas prices at a new low. 

Due to the Coronavirus crisis and over-production in the worldwide oil market, the price for gasoline in the U.S. is at the lowest it has been in years. 

That is not the case for Venezuela, whose gas price went from the lowest in the world to an impossible commodity that requires U.S. dollars to buy. 

For years, Venezuela has had its gasoline subsidized by its state oil company, PDVSA. For what you pay to buy an egg in Venezuela, you could buy 90 million liters (over 23 million gallons) of 95 octane gasoline. The socialist Venezuelan government led by Nicolas Maduro has irresponsibly allowed gasoline subsidies to continue in spite of rocketing inflation. PDVSA, which has a legal monopoly on fuel sales, was basically selling gas for pocket change.

Venezuela’s 1.3 million barrel-per-day oil refining network has all but collapsed. Furthermore, U.S. sanctions aimed at ousting Maduro have complicated fuel imports, which were Maduro’s source of gas for the last few months. 

The current Coronavirus crisis has given Maduro the perfect excuse to limit gasoline exclusively to government and military personnel.  

Venezuelans are now contending with unprecedented fuel shortages, which have forced people to walk miles to work, left crops rotting in the fields, or turn to a military-controlled market to buy gas at an exorbitant price. Black market dealers are offering to deliver 20 liters of gasoline for $50 ($9.46 per gallon) in a country where the minimum wage is currently at Bs. 800.000 monthly, which at the current exchange rate equals $4.60 monthly.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR OUR MINISTRY? 

This situation presents an unprecedented challenge for our ministry. 

Fortunately, the local church has been the backbone of our ministry since our early beginnings in Venezuela. Our success lies in the development and growth of the local body of believers, making disciples and encouraging one another as we all seek to reach the Wayuu people with the Gospel. The message we hear from our Venezuelan brothers and sisters is very encouraging. They are determined to continue to serve their communities despite the present limitation and challenges. The literacy groups continue to impact the lives of hundreds of children who daily rely on the support of their teachers to get the education they need and a nutritious meal, along with the hope of the Gospel. 

Darwin Lopez, one of our ministry partners, is a missionary in Maracaibo who was sent to plant a church among an unreached Wayuu community in South Maracaibo. Darwin and his wife Denyire are some of the most dedicated people we know when it comes to reaching the Wayuu. They visit the community of Zamurpana regularly, where they spend days teaching several Wayuu families the Gospel. They also have a literacy group that teaches reading and writing in Spanish and Wayuunaiki to the community’s children. 

Since the COVID-19 crisis started, they have struggled to find transportation to get to this remote community, but for Darwin and his family, there are no limitations to continue their calling to serve the Wayuu in Zamurpana. 

Every week, Darwin, Denyire, and their four little girls jump into their “carrula” (a homemade bicycle wagon) and travel almost 9 miles from their home to Zamurpana to make sure the Wayuu are able to hear the message of the Gospel. 

The situation in Venezuela may be difficult, but just like Darwin, our church partners and local staff in Venezuela are committed to continuing to bring the Gospel to unreached Wayuu communities. 

Now, more than ever, our Wayuu brothers and sisters in Venezuela need our support. 

Please, continue to pray for our staff and church partners in Venezuela, and consider supporting us financially to ensure the Wayuu people in Venezuela hears the Gospel. 

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