The problems in Venezuela affect the economy, relationships, health services, crime, insecurity, public services, corruption, politics, malnutrition and inflation. We decided to come to Colombia to improve the living conditions of our families, look for new opportunities and have a change in our lives. On arrival, we suffered a heavy emotional blow when we saw other Venezuelans living in a state of begging. It was hard to compare the economy of Colombia to Venezuela: we suffered a lot when we saw the amount of food in supermarkets, stores, marketplaces and warehouses, food that is not available just across the border in our own country.
Thank God, we are very grateful to the people who welcomed us in their country. We have received no assistance from the state. We did not intentionally decide to come to the church. Rather, we think it was God who brought us here, since we did not know that the Mennonite church existed. Now Carlos has been baptized and is a member of the church. We have known God here in this church. Every day, we receive a word through the pastor and the children’s ministry. We have received unconditional support, a lot of love, and accompaniment every day from Riohacha Mennonite Church.
In this church, we have learned to listen to the Word of God through devotions, Sunday school and prayer vigils, and we have learned to live in community, to help each other. We have learned to accept our change of life. We have learned to value people, our family, our friends, those who help us every day. We thank God first for all the support received in this place, to the pastor for teaching the Word, to the Sunday school teacher for allowing us to help out in the work with the children. We have learned a lot about caring for people who are elderly, which is the ministry of the Mennonite church in Riohacha. We have learned about brotherhood and unity. We have learned to love God. For this reason, we thank the Mennonite church for taking us in and giving us the opportunity to continue growing spiritually.
—Venezuelan migrants welcomed to the Iglesia Menonita de Riohacha, Colombia
From foreigner to family
Sometimes people are excluded and marginalized, “strangers or foreigners” in their own land. Society has its “foreigners,” people it puts aside, regarding them as strangers who do not conform to social norms. The gospel approaches these people and invites them to participate. The gospel invites the church to treat them with dignity, hospitality and with attention. Marginalization annuls them. The church gives dignity that affirms their identity as beloved. The church invites them to enter the community of the kingdom of God. The church moves them from that foreign place to being at home.
— Comunidad Cristiana Menonita El Paraíso, Caracas, Venezuela
This testimony is part of the World Fellowship Sunday worship resource for 2019. Click here to see more: www.mwc-cmm.org/wfs
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