A few weeks ago we received word that the Venezuelan government had passed new measures demanding tourist visas for all US visitors. Unfortunately, the requirements for the visa are very extensive for American citizens. In addition to the normal requirements they will have to provide: a proof of residency, a proof of home ownership (or lease), proof of any additional properties they have in the US, copies of their most recent bank statements, and a letter from their current employer. Each applicant is required to apply in person at a Venezuelan consulate three months before the time of their intended travel. The embassy and consulates are only open M-F and the closest ones are in Washington, DC and New Orleans.
Because of these requirements and the short amount of time we have to comply with them, we have decided to cancel our mission trips for this year. All payments that have already been made for the trip will be reimbursed. However, we are still planning to have the mission trip on a local level with our Venezuelan staff.
While we are saddened that we won’t be able to serve alongside our brothers and sisters in Venezuela this year, we know that God is working all things for His glory. We are already making plans for a mission trip to Colombia in 2016.
Please know that even though we may not be hosting teams this year, it doesn’t mean that our ministry’s work has stopped. We are working every day in both Venezuela and Colombia spreading God’s Kingdom among the Wayuu. We have an amazing local staff and group of volunteers who pour out their hearts in service. One of our literacy teachers shared this beautiful truth during our most recent trip, “Once you decide to obey God there are no obstacles, only opportunities.”
We believe that these circumstances will only be opportunities for our ministry. Opportunities for our local staff and volunteers to continue to grow and take ownership of the work in Venezuela and Colombia. While the mission trip may be cancelled for us, it is still on for our local staff and group of volunteers. They will be working two weeks this summer in our place to reach the Wayuu communities through construction projects, carnivals, feedings, eye clinics, and evangelism. This is a huge step forward for us. Our desire has always been to create a disciple-making network among the churches and the Wayuu in Venezuela that overflows into Colombia. This is a great opportunity for our local churches to multiply themselves. Now more than ever, the Wayuu in Colombia and Venezuela need our prayers and financial support.
Our local staff and team of volunteers as they prepare for their work this summer: Pray for provision for construction projects, feedings, eye clinics, and carnivals. Pray for the disciples that will rise up as a result of their work in these communities.
Our ministry in Colombia: Pray for the pastors and their congregations as they continue to grow closer to Christ. Pray for provision of biblical training and resources that they need in order to reach the Wayuu effectively. Pray for guidance and leadership for the 2016 mission trip to Colombia.