Venezuela has had the wonderful privilege of having the gospel of God for over a century. It is now 100 years since Mr. William Williams set foot on Venezuelan soil, wondering to himself if the great commission of the Lord could be carried out. It is worthy of note that when Mr. William Williams died in 1961 there were 45 assemblies that had been planted. My wife Helen and I are privileged to have been associated with the work here for just seven years and we can truly use the words of the Lord Jesus: "Other men labored and ye are entered into their labors" (John 4:38).
Arriving in 2003, my heart was greatly encouraged with the famous words of Mr. Williams: "We are nothing, we do not know the language, we have never seen a Venezuelan, but God has given us the gospel and we are out to prove if it will work."1 My wife, having been born in the country, knew the language and culture well; this was a tremendous help to us.
We cannot underestimate one of the favors I enjoyed as a young boy as yet unsaved, when Mr. John Wells (one of the pioneer missionaries who accompanied Mr. Williams from 1928) was a regular visitor in our home. As he related those thrilling stories of the early years accomplishing work for God, I never dreamt that one day I would have the privilege of joining the group of missionaries here.
The results of the labors of the early pioneers are seen today in 164 assemblies planted to the glory of God. It is humbling to realize that the work here has seen an almost exponential growth.
With such steady growth and development in the work during the past century, there could be a false impression in the minds of some that the country is all evangelized and that there is little need of new workers. It is startling to think that, of the 24 states in the country, there are six that still have no resident worker. Also, there are six states whose capital cities still have no assembly testimony planted as yet. "There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed" (Josh 13:1). Today, we have 10 missionaries and 14 national workers active on the field. Please pray for our veteran workers who are unable to help as once they did: Mr. & Mrs. B. Cummings, Mr. & Mrs. N. Thomson, and Don G. Gil. Please pray the Lord of the harvest that He would send forth other laborers.
Pioneer work is still ongoing today in many places throughout the country where there are no assemblies near at hand. The pioneer preacher will face many difficult challenges but, out of them all, character is being formed. Not easily found are large, ready-made audiences of Christians, but, rather, there may be a faithful little handful of Christians willing to accompany him every night of the week. To reach an area, long distances will have to be traveled, often one to two hours over roads filled with potholes or without any tarmac at all. Often he will be content to preach to just two or three unsaved but is delighted when a group of people arrive at the meeting. It may be that no other preacher is available to help or maybe just a brother with very little gift. The ability to refuse attractive invitations to other places is essential (Neh 6:3), but ones diary can be put to good use recording visits made.
Nehemías Sequera is one such pioneering brother who has labored for almost 20 years in the state of Bolivar. It is the largest state and many advances have been made by our brother, reaching into new areas with the gospel and seeing many new works established. Some of these new works, such as Caicara del Orinoco, and Santa Elena de Urairén on the Brazilian border, are waiting the appropriate moment for the formation of an assembly. Our brother saw a new testimony established in Santa Rosa del Buey in 2006 and in August 2010 (DV) a new assembly is being formed in Puerto Ordaz. Our brother Nehemías son-in-law, Eduardo Jimenez and his wife Neisberys, have just been commended to the Lords work this month and it is their exercise to continue opening up new towns in the southeast of Bolivar State.
A facet of the work that has been used with much success down through the years is local assembly outreach work. We have been associated with one such work in the town of Valle de la Pascua in Guarico State. It is a large town almost like a "hub," being very centrally positioned in the state with various other surrounding towns within easy reach. Other new outreach works have now commenced in the neighboring towns of Las Mercedes, Tucupido, and El Socorro. Childrens work has also proved to be a major help in gaining the confidence of the people and maintaining their interest. We are happy to be sowing the good seed of Gods Word and know that we are "casting our bread upon the waters" which we hope to find "after many days" (Ecc 11:1).
In Valle de la Pascua we are thankful to have a little group of 14 baptized believers that meet with us and help carry on with all the meetings except the Breaking of Bread. Our local assembly is two hours away and so we try to bring as many as we can with us each Lords Day morning. Valle de la Pascua is an example of many small testimonies in Venezuela that are in preparation for an assembly to be formed. We recognize it is a work of God from beginning to end so we continue to wait upon Him. Your prayers are greatly appreciated.
1 Wm. Williams. It Can Be Done. Published by Gospel Tract Publications, 1988.