Venezuela (MNN) – The International Mission Board has struggled to spread the Gospel during times of increasing difficulties.
Rampant poverty, random violence, and food shortages are a part of everyday life.
Simply walking down the street can be a fatal mistake.
Despite all the unrest, International Mission Board missionaries and believers work hard to spread the love of Christ.
As anti-government protestors raise chaos on the streets and create barriers to block traffic, the Venezuelan National Guard responds using tear gas, rubber bullets, and human rights abuses.
About 3,000 protestors have been arrested; 200 still are in jail.
Violence attributed to both sides of the conflict has left 42 dead and nearly 800 injured.
But what is all the violence about?
The unrest began in February when a group of frustrated students spoke out against the nation’s rising inflation, food shortages, and ever-increasing crime. What began as a student demonstration quickly became a violent uprising. Venezuelan authorities reportedly shot three anti-government protestors during a peaceful protest in Caracas.
The violence has recently received worldwide attention. No one expected the problems to last this long.
For some missionaries, the protests and violent outbursts have limited their normal mission activities.
Police barricades and checkpoints often make it difficult for them to leave their neighborhood. In many ways, this has given missionaries the opportunity to spend more time with people who live nearby. It has also helped those missionaries find new avenues for the gospel.
Living in close quarters brings missionaries closer to the lost and also brings believers closer to God.
Missionary Matthew Starr says, “One of the things that’s happening, I think, that’s very positive is: it’s driving our churches to a much deeper level of prayer–prayer for Venezuela, prayer for families that are going through very tough situations.”
In the midst of ongoing unrest, peace talks began in mid-April between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leaders. But on May 13 the opposition suspended talks, claiming they were going nowhere and criticizing the government for cracking down on protesters. Meanwhile, the violence continues.
“One thing that encourages me is that in no other time in history has so much praying been done for Venezuela,” Matthew said. “God’s going to be doing something I think will be amazing.”
International Mission Board missionaries hope and pray God will work through Venezuelan believers to reach the lost throughout their own country and the world.
Pray that Christians would be strong and share the gospel with their neighbors. Pray that Venezuela would see peace in the upcoming days.