Lectionary Selection: Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
Prayers for Venezuela:
We give you thanks for our sisters and brothers in Venezuela and have heard their cries for justice and peace in the midst of a difficult time. Cover them with your peace. Make a way for reconciliation and fresh hope.
Help us to be better neighbors to our siblings in Venezuela. We commit to you our solidarity with them. We will continue to listen to and walk with them in the midst of this crisis and in the days beyond.
We celebrate, God, that you can make a way where there is no way. We are grateful that your love knows no limits.
In Christ’s name, we pray,
Mission Stewardship Moment from Venezuela:
How challenging it can be to follow in the steps of people called in the same way that Jesus called “The Seventy.” We had the experience of walking that way on a cloudy morning at the end of this past spring. Convened by the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela (UEPV), and representing our respective ministries, we met 70 local pastors and other faithful in the southeastern part of Caracas, Venezuela, who spoke candidly about their lives and hopes.
As we introduced ourselves at the beginning of the meeting, we described our purpose in coming and our hopes for how non-interventionist humanitarian aid might be offered in ways that respect the self-determination of the people of Venezuela. Dopico expressed the hope that we could share the vision of the churches of Venezuela: “that the people may eat, that no one is left behind.” Angel Luis focused on the unity that is necessary to make real the joint efforts like those proposed by the ACT Alliance. “The spirit of God brings us together. May we continue the dialogue with the churches, speak of truth, and speak for truth, in tables of dialogue.”
Dora Hernández, president of the Baptist Assembly of Greater Caracas, said churches care for children and the elderly, and people who need medication for diabetes or dialysis. She asked: “Who cares for the pastors?” She was not the only one who pointed to a need for psycho-social support in the face of this crisis.
A pastor, Gustavo Mujica, said: “Understand that you are a response from God. In our churches, a child might get breakfast. You can be the rope to pull someone who has fallen into a cistern.”
We departed from that place with the vision of those servants of God sharing Good News amidst the Venezuelan crisis, embracing the needs of their communities, and empowering them to look for better days of peace with justice. Near the end of our morning together, Dopico recalled a phrase from a Latin American politician to challenge Christians in the early years of the Cuban Revolution: "Quien traiciona al pobre, traiciona a Cristo.” “Whoever betrays the poor, betrays Christ.” That’s still the challenge.
Mission Moment by Jim Hodgson, Joel Ortega-Dopico and Angel L. Rivera-Agosto
 Jim Hodgson is the Area Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Church of Canada. Joel Ortega-Dopico is the Executive Secretary of the Cuban Council of Churches. Angel L. Rivera-Agosto is the Area Executive for Latin America and the Caribbean of Global Ministries.
Mission Partners in Venezuela:
More information on Venezuela: https://www.globalministries.org/venezuela