More than 20,000 Seventh-day Adventists in Venezuela recently spread cheer and hope through dozens of outreach activities across every state in that South American country. Coined as “Close to You Venezuela,” the sixth annual event saw young and old take part in spreading joy to many people affected by numerous challenges.
East Venezuela Union
In the East Venezuela region (EVU) of the country, based in Caracas, members cleaned up the premises of a public hospital, schools, and plazas, prayed for people, and donated food and clothing. They also provided haircuts and free health checkups, took part in distributing missionary books, and distributed balloons and messages of hope at traffic lights with their slogan, “Smile, God Believes in You.”
“We had many diverse activities, with more than 8,000 members and 1,500 of their friends who joined this special initiative out in the streets, cities, and communities,” EVU youth ministries director Jesús David Chacón said.
In addition, more than 1,500 digital evangelists worked through social media platforms to assist 461 churches that held youth evangelism series during the week, resulting in 100 new communities reached and more than 100 persons baptized, church leaders said.
“What is happening here is that we are showing the love of Christ in action,” Janiel Puerta, president of the Central Llanos Mission in Guárico State, said. “Our intention is to establish a new congregation here in las Americas.”
“We are drawing smiles in each community for the glory of God,” Antonio Peña, president of the South Central Conference in Maracay, Aragua, added.
Church members also shared presentations of the eight natural remedies in public squares and centers to thousands of onlookers, and shared flowers, performed character-building mime sketches, and more.
“When you give a flower or a fruit, that gets to the heart of people,” Joksan Flores, a youth taking part in the week’s initiative, said. “I have also seen how people have been impacted through the evangelistic series.”
Teens Leicy González and Victoria Rodríguez were among a group that visited the clinic in Maracay, where doctors and nurses welcomed them with big smiles. “What really fills people with joy is that they have felt the presence of God,” Rodríguez said.
Volunteers distributed hundreds of copies of a Spanish translation of the missionary book Hope in the Midst of Chaos by Mark Finley, as well as other Adventist literature. Teachers and students at Adventist schools also opened their doors to the community for blood pressure, weight, and glucose level checks.
Light Shines in West Venezuela
More than 15,000 church members across the West Venezuela Union (WVU) territory distributed 30,000 arepas in hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages, children’s homes, and police stations.
In addition, church members distributed more than 23,000 missionary books throughout their communities and workplaces. More than 50 student literature evangelists from Venezuela Adventist University (VAU) took to communities in Lara State with Adventist literature and books.
“God’s angels went with them every step of the way,” Abimael González, VAU vice president of the student literature evangelist council, said.
Alexandra Mulano was one of 54 student literature evangelists who went day in and day out, speaking to people in homes and on the streets. “I saw that God blessed people and opened doors for us,” she said.
In Acarigua, in the state of Portuguesa, groups of young people painted 12 murals across public areas with messages of hope.
More than 4,000 people received medical assistance and medicines at Venezuela Adventist Hospital in Barquisimeto during the week. Church members held Vacation Bible School sessions throughout the week, planted dozens of trees, and distributed nutrition kits, clothes, and food to those in need. Hundreds of young people took part in sports activities like marathons, walks, races, and soccer and basketball tournaments on public squares, fields, and sports centers.
At the conclusion of the initiative, hundreds of church leaders and members gathered for a grand centennial celebration. The event also commemorated the centennial anniversary of the Inter-American Division, since the church region was organized in 1922, WVU president Orlando Ramírez said.
“We must get involved even more now, when the world is breaking apart,” Ramírez said. “It’s time for God’s people to lift their voices with greater intent to tell the world that Jesus is coming soon.”