Columbus explored Venezuela in 1498, claiming it for Spain, which introduced Roman Catholicism to the country. Venezuela gained its independence from Spain in 1821. Located on the northeast coast of South America, Venezuela is the 5 th most populous country on that continent with a population of about 29MM. Although blessed by abundant oil resources, there are many inefficiencies. Formerly one of the top oil producers in the world, Venezuela now ranks out of the top ten. Its other major industries include construction materials, mining-related products, and food processing. The economy presents a very difficult situation, having contracted by as much as 75% in recent years accompanied by hyperinflation which has led to price control of many goods. There remains a serious shortage of basic goods with the current economy being categorized as stagnant at best. Some researchers report almost 80% of the population living in ‘extreme poverty.’
Politics are dominated by the United Socialist Party and there are many socialist-style policies and programs in place. Nonetheless, the government has been accommodating as to missions work and church planting.
Of those professing Christianity as their faith, 71% identify as Roman Catholic with only 17% as Protestant.
We entered Venezuela in the spring of 2022 in Valencia, a city of about 1.8MM people. We soon expanded to the capital, Caracas, a city of approximately 1.9MM people located about 100 miles east of Valencia.
As we often encounter, when the physical and financial needs of the people are great, openness to the gospel message is great as is the case in Venezuela. The people are hungry to hear the Word and are most receptive to our training and church planting work.
We currently have about 300 church plants in various stages in the Caracas area and about 315 in the Valencia area. We are blessed to have an especially strong leader who is based in Valencia but oversees the work in both locations.
We are also heavily involved in a food program for children—feed the children, reach the parents—which is off to such a strong start we are out of room. The Holy Spirit is definitely moving in this region, with a great number of believers reaching out to our leaders for baptism.
Prayer/Church Planter Support Request
Please pray for the necessary reforms for the economy to thrive and for continued enthusiasm for the training and church-planting programs we bring to this very needy country. Also, please pray for a larger facility to meet the pressing needs of our expanding food program which is reaching so many.
And please consider supporting a field worker in Venezuela for only $35/month, indicative of the poverty in this country.