As a Global Service Worker (Long-term Volunteer), having served for more than forty years as a Mission Co-worker in Latin America and the Caribbean, I am back in the field assigned to Venezuela, specifically to serve our longest standing Pentecostal partner in the world, starting way back in the 1960’s with Juan Marcos Rivera and Flor María Piñeiro Rivera, a couple from Puerto Rico, who worked intensely and with passion with this unique Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela. La Unión, as we commonly refer to this unique ecumenical Pentecostal denomination, has played an important role for more than sixty years in a prophetic ministry advocating for justice and in concrete ministries among orphan children and promoting the active role of women in ministry (at all levels), ordaining women as pastors and regional bishops.
The Unión also committed to promote and support youth ministries, including programs of theological education through the Venezuelan Center of Theological Studies (CEVET). CEVET has regional centers with qualified professors in theological disciplines.
Why do we continue in this unique relationship in Mission with this Pentecostal autochthonous denomination? God has called us to this Mission, God’s Mission. We are servants in God’s reign, joining the Unión in their effort to be faithful to the Gospel and its challenges in times of political and socio-economic conflicts. Venezuela is the context in which we as North American churches, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, through Global Ministries, are challenged to do our part in these crucial times alongside the people of Venezuela.
We need to continue praying for the Unión, as they face the realities of this society divided and in turmoil.
We need to pray for the churches and the people of other countries in the region, to respond in solidarity and with compassion to the needs and clamors of the people of Venezuela.
We need to interpret the real situation in Venezuela, because to tell the truth is one of the most valuables principles of our Christian faith.
I am hoping to travel to Venezuela this coming April 2018. Please, pray for la Unión and our ministry of accompaniment, during these coming Presidential elections.
May the prayers and meditations of these coming Lent season and Holy Week, helps us and the Unión, to discern ways in which we continue strengthening our partnership in Mission.
In Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, I remain committed to God’s Mission,
Carmelo Alvarez serves the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela (UEPV) and is based in Chicago, Illinois. He works as program consultant and visiting professor for the UEPV. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples' Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.