The story began 16 years ago when Doug Snowden had a dream in which God showed him a map of the country of Venezuela. He planned a trip and invited me to join the adventure. We set off with no contacts in the country and armed with just a copy of the Lonely Planet guide.
We travelled up the coast enjoying the Caribbean Sea and sun then headed inland. On the second Sunday we arrived in Merida. At around 6000 feet up in the Andes it was much cooler and surrounded by the majestic beauty of rugged mountains. Eager to find what God had in store for us we were excited to meet a young American carrying a Bible. He introduced us to the people at Jerusalem Church and from there it all began. Doug and I in fact we stayed for the rest of our two month stay helping to build new offices. I got a little bit more than I had bargained for; it was during this time that I got to know Flor who eight months later became my wife.
Flor and I have obviously made our home here in Shaftesbury but have regularly visited Merida as a family and also with Clive and others to minister at the Church there. With each trip it feels as though God is reinforcing the bridge between our two countries and Churches. In 2009 Flor and I had the privilege to stay for five months as envoys to the Church and saw God do amazing things.
A number of people including Fernan and Marlene the Pastors have been across to Lox Lane for schools and conferences and a group from the Church had planned to travel to Lox Lane for the Wing of Eagles School earlier this year. Sadly due to visa restrictions they were unable to travel so we decided to take the school to them.
It was against this back drop that our team travelled this time. From the outset there was an expectation that God had good things for us to do. We were not disappointed, the people were very receptive. We spent the first few days ministering to the leaders of the Church and then the Easter weekend to a larger conference crowd for the “School”. Obviously a much abridged version from the four weeks at Lox Lane.
One highlight for me was when a lady came and told us that in 2008 she was dying with holes in her heart, I had apparently prayed for her healing and from then she was healed! We don’t realise the fruit of things we do and say. There were other miracles; Paul White prayed for a Lady whose sight was restored. But more amazing was to hear the testimony of people being set free as they were able to forgive those who had wronged them and begin to understand what it means to have God as our Father.
By the end of our stay we had met and shared with thousands of people and from each corner of Venezuela. We heard testimony of lives transformed, hearts that had begun to heal, and people set free from shame that had hung over them for years. Everyone we spoke to planned to go home and continue to walk in the simple freedom they had found.
Since then and as a result we have seen Nestor and Yolgina visit for a three week School at Lox Lane and other visits are planned. The bridge between our Churches continues to be a blessing
both here and there. I want to encourage you as part of the body here in Shaftesbury you share in the blessing of what God is doing. As you read this to pray for Venezuela; a beautiful country full of beautiful people yet ravaged by corruption and bad government. Pray also for the Church there that God will strengthen and protect his people.