March 2019 Newsletter
Greetings! I would like to start this newsletter off with a testimony. The testimony is from an Indian lady named Maria Luisa. She lives in the tribe of Taremo. It takes about 16 hours of hiking to get to this tribe. (You may remember that this is the tribe where we recently rebuilt their church, replacing all of the wood structure of their temple). Maria said that what happened changed her life. She shared her testimony with one of the Indian leaders that I sent there to preach last month. She explained that she used to be very faithful at church and would congregate and pray every day at the church. She then started to have marital problems with her husband, who was not a Christian. Little by little she lost her passion for the things of God. Then her son died. After that she didn’t want anything to do with God. While backslidden she had a dream. In this dream she saw her son who died and was now in heaven. He told her to reconcile herself back to the Lord Jesus Christ, and start to attend church again. She now has her passion back and is faithfully serving Christ and is faithfully attending church service every day. (In most of the mountain Indian tribes they have service every day.)
I wanted to share with those who are partners with us that one month ago we left Venezuela. Though we didn’t want to leave we felt that we had to leave for our safety. For many years now there have been grave problems in Venezuela. Lately because the elections were considered a fraud, another president was sworn in on January 23rd. The dictator Maduro won’t recognize him, but most of the world does, and also most Venezuelans (about 90%.) The problem is that the military has all the arms and they, for the most part, are on the dictator’s side. The United States has been moving aid and there are rumors of a military coup to take out Maduro. Almost all the US embassy personnel have left, and President Trump told Americans not to travel to Venezuela, and advised any American in Venezuela to leave. Given the situation that at any time there could be an American invasion, the dictator is preparing for that invasion. They are stopping public transportation, making the young people get off of the bus and recruiting them in their militia. So the country is getting ready for what they feel is an imminent US invasion.
The danger is that I preach almost every day at different churches. If the military who have always routinely stopped cars asking for ID stop me, they could be either suspicious as to why I’m there (thinking I’m part of the US invasion) or they could see me as a leverage pawn in their war. It was a difficult decision. So we took James out of school and left Venezuela a few days before February. We came to Dallas where my wife’s family is living. (They had left Venezuela, as there has been a mass exodus in the last few years. They say that 1 in 6 people have fled the country).
For now we are here. We are hoping that what needs to happen, happens quickly so that we can go back to Venezuela. Hopefully it will be within the next few weeks. Venezuela has been our home and where we minister for the last 18 years. (I first went to Venezuela in 2000, and then moved there at the end of May 2001 after graduating from Rhema Bible training Center.) Our home and everything is there.
In the meantime the ministry in Venezuela continues even though I can’t physically be there. I still am sending out my Indian preaching teams, (I have my ways to pay their wages and buy everything they need for their trips). After this month’s Bible school I will be sending out 14 of my Indian leaders to the mountains tribes of Venezuela and Colombia to preach and disciple. They also seek out tribes that have never heard the gospel. They will be going in groups of 2. They will be in the mountains preaching for about 3 weeks.
I have made 7 videos for the Bible school which starts on February 28th. So this month I won’t be preaching in person but I will preach via videos. The Indian leaders who work for me will also teach and the Bible school will continue on smoothly. My Indian workers are also building churches in the mountain Indian tribes. The Indians are so grateful for this since they can gather for worship during the rainy season with roof over their heads.
I still am busy recording many radio messages. (I record the radio messages and the videos and send them over the internet to one of my workers in Venezuela who downloads them.) I am on 6 radio stations in Venezuela. Some of the radio stations broadcast my preaching every day.I am also still sending relief to many pastors who are stuck in the poverty situation of Venezuela. Minimum wage is now $6 a month and everything there is expensive because of inflation that now is at 1,000,000% but it’s supposed to hit 10,000,000% in 2019.. In other words, to buy 1 kilo (2.20 lbs.) of cheese, you would have to work 40 hours a week for 1 month, and most can’t hack it.
In the meantime, I am planning to go to Brazil to the Indian communities in the Amazon region. The trouble is that I am waiting to see when. I am waiting on my Brazilian friend who works with me, but he is stuck in Venezuela because the border towns are closed and he can't get out .Now he is stuck on the Venezuelan side, trying to figure out when he will be able to go to Brazil. (The border has been shut due to the US aid that they are trying to get in the country which Venezuela isn’t allowing to enter. )
Anyways, hopefully this month everything will be more doable to go back to Venezuela. I thank those who pray and support the ministry for understanding our situation. I’m hoping that next newsletter I will be able to say “Greetings from Venezuela.” Please pray. God bless you.
In His Service,
Doug, Veronica, James & Ana