More than anywhere else in Latin America, God’s kingdom is expanding through Community Church Planting in Venezuela. Of Impact’s 970 Houses of Peace, more than half are in Venezuela.
Recently, John Jairo Leal, Impact’s Community Church Planting Director took a team to Venezuela to encourage and support this incredible movement of God taking place amidst a beautiful country deeply in chaos.
After seeing Venezuela firsthand, John Jairo said, “It was a very shocking reality…the gulf between the poor and rich is huge. There is a very small group living in incredible luxury. Some restaurants you easily pay $40 for dinner – and some people can pay that – but the majority of people live on $40 a month. It was gut wrenching to see.”
But then John Jairo said what really moved him – how God is working in Venezuela. “In the midst of everything happening in the country, it is amazing to see how fast the church is multiplying and developing leaders.”
Another visiting Impact team member, Esteban Venegas, witnessed something similar, “In many places, youth don’t want to grow up. There, the youth want to be old enough to be a leader.”
In fact, the Community Church Planting movement in Venezuela is fueled with the energy of the next generation as most leaders are between 20-25 yrs of age.
Training events were held in Maturín and Caracas. In Maturín, nearly 300 people attended the trainings, all of whom are implementing Community Church Planting in their contexts. In Caracas, John Jairo and the team could see how people are using CCP’s biblical principles to reach those who are struggling with addiction or homelessness amidst the chaos and crisis in Venezuela. The team visited some Houses of Peace called, “Refugio de Paz,” or “Refuge of Peace.”
These five shelters each care for the vulnerable in different ways. One is for the elderly, another is for those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction and so on. For many of these residents, it is not safe for them to leave the shelter, even to attend church. And so, each “Refugio de Paz” gathers together as a House of Peace weekly, guided by the principles of Community Church Planting.
Although this movement originated and continues within the Free Methodist Church, Impact has been developing connections with leaders outside of the FMC for some time. One of those denominations now has 18 Houses of Peace.
Alejandro Zamoro, a pastor within that denomination, was thrilled that the team came to visit. He is pictured below with John Jairo and Ynelitza Sanabria Evans, CCP Director for all of Venezuela. Pastor Zamoro was impressed that Impact does not just stand far off, sending them information but rather accompanies new leaders and works alongside them.”
Despite busy schedules and limited time, the team was able to meet with all the pastors and leaders with whom they have been cultivating relationships. They were able to encourage new leaders in their mission, offer guidance and mentoring as well as with provide several trainings, pictured below.
Through the multiplication of disciples, leaders and churches, Jesus’ territory is quickly expanding in Venezuela. Astoundingly, despite being a movement held in the context of a country in chaos, one visiting team member said, “It was pretty close to my idea of heaven. Everyone is committed to worship God and work so others know about God…and everyone is empowered and encouraged to lead.”
This is what you support when you give to Impact Latin America. Leaders who face incredible daily challenges are doing much more than survive. With your support, they are instilling hope and equipping the next generation of leaders and expanding Jesus’ territory in places of desperate need.
If you are not already a donor, please consider becoming one today. We need your help to offer ongoing training, mentoring and support to these ordinary men and women, bravely planting God’s peace in Latin America. Thanks for your support.