Pastor Alexander (above) poured out his life as a pastor in Venezuela. He “played well” on the Lord’s team and was welcomed to his eternal home this week. He was joined in heaven this week by another key leader, Pastor Domingo, both victims of the Corona virus. The loss of these these two leaders of the Evangelical Free Church of Venezuela has left much pain and sorrow, within the church and the families of these leaders. We grieve with them.

Omar Rodriguez, ReachGlobal’s International Leader for Latin America & Caribbean and former missionary in Venezuela said, “This loss hits close to home. The Free Church of Venezuela and the EFCA have worked together for over 100 years to share the Gospel, plant churches and to develop pastors. These relationships extending over decades have been forged with tears of love for one another and the ministry. Though far away, we want them to know that we are with them through these difficult days.” 

The death of these leaders is another reminder that there is no part of life untouched by Covid, and nowhere is that truer than in Venezuela. Life there has come to a standstill as travel between states is restricted, the economy has ground to a halt, food is hard to access, and medical care is unaffordable where it is even available. Private hospitals can charge thousands of dollars if they have a bed, while the public hospitals have no beds left and no oxygen for the people who did get in. The government is setting up field hospitals, but still have to grapple with the oxygen and medical supply shortages. 

Throughout the pandemic and despite all these hardships, ministry efforts in Venezuela have not stopped. Two churches have been planted in Valencia during the last year and bible translation in the jungle continues. The seminary based in El Limon offers classes online and more than 40 students are currently taking classes. Several pastors have taken steps to become bi-vocational, making the churches more sustainable. 

But the Evangelical Free Church of Venezuela (ADIEL) has been hit hard in this most recent surge: at least twelve pastors have been diagnosed with COVID, in addition to the loss of Alexander and Domingo. The local churches are in need of emergency funding to help with medical care and finding life-saving supplies. The ReachGlobal’s Latin American Division, EFCA’s Southeast District and ReachGlobal Crisis Response are partnering in the response, including sending funds from the EFCA’s Covid-19 Response Fund to help with some of the immediate needs of the pastors who are sick, while Reachglobal’s Venezuela Assistance Fund will be used to help support the on-going efforts of pastors to reach new people with the hope of the Gospel.  This is an opportunity for the EFCA to come alongside our brothers and sisters in Venezuela and support the ministry of ADIEL so that it will come through the pandemic even stronger.

Glen Schrieber, EFCA’s Southeast District Superintendent and ReachGlobal partner in both Venezuela and Crisis Response ministry shared, “Challenging times can unite souls or break hearts. In the troubling times of Covid, pastors of the ADIEL chose to unite their souls. Today’s news challenges them again. I pray that it strengthens their bonds even even more.” Join us in praying for the leaders and members of the ADIEL, and that it strenthens our collective resolve to unite with one another to extend Gospel ministry in this season of Covid crisis.

How can you help? 

Pray– Ask God to comfort the grieving families of Pastors Alexander and Domingo; to heal the other pastors, their families, and their church members who are currently struggling with Covid; and for God to fill the pastors and believers with encouragement and hope to continue to serve one another and those nearby who do not yet know Christ. Join us in asking for God’s mercy in Venezuela. 

GiveGive to the Venezuela Assistance Fund to support both the immediate response needs from the Covid outbreak and the intermediate needs of church pastors and ministry leaders who are still working to share the love of Christ in a seemingly hopeless time. 

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