Adventists in West Venezuela Share Hope and Smiles Throughout Their Communities

A group of church volunteers pose for a picture with the meals they will distribute to patient families and patients at the Antonio Maria Pineda Hospital in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, during the church’s city-wide initiative held across west part of the country coined as “Cerca De Ti Venezuela” Sep. 3-9, 2017. Image by West Venezuela Union

November 2, 2017 | Barquisimeto, Venezuela | Yosainy de Colina/Giovanny Martin/IAD Staff

A patient is treated by dental technician during the community impact initiative. Some 30 persons received free implants during the initiative. Image by West Venezuela Union

She was afraid to smile because of her missing teeth but thanks to a dental clinic held during a special initiative by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in West Venezuela, Martha Ferrer can smile again.

“I am so happy and thankful because now I can smile big with the five new teeth that this dental clinic has provided for me,” said Ferrer.

Ferrer was among the more than two dozen people who were beneficiaries of free dental implants in September thanks to a team of volunteers led by Jose Luis Tabares, an Adventist orthopedic dentist who oversaw medical and dental clinics in the western part of the region.

“We have been able to give smiles back to 30 people who otherwise would not have been able to afford the costly procedure in our country,” said Tabares.

More than 2,200 new trees were planted throughout parks and public places. Image by West Venezuela Union

The free dental clinic was part of the church’s annual initiative coined as “Close to You Venezuela”, a massive effort that allows church member volunteers to provide services to the community. This is the fifth year the initiative has been held.

This year Ferrer was among nearly half a million persons who benefited from dozens of services ranging from medical check-ups, health expos, blood donations, haircuts, hospital visits, distribution of hot-meals, reforestation, musical concerts, sports activities, medicine drives, face-painting for children, park clean-ups, prayer sessions, and more.

Nearly 35,000 Seventh-day Adventists across the nine local fields in the West Venezuela union took one week off from their jobs to spread cheer.

Close to You Venezuela showed thousands of people what Seventh-day Adventists are all about, said Pastor Julio Palacio, president of the church in West Venezuela.

“We are about sharing the message of hope in the midst of the despair,” said Palacio. “This ‘Close to You’ activity reminds us of Jesus’ ministry of forgiveness and healing. He loves everyone the same just as John 3:16 says, and He will soon return for us.”

Church leaders and members hold up signs saying “Smile, God Believes in You” at a traffic light. Image by West Venezuela Union

Pastor Jose Vegas from the San Jacinto district in Barquisimeto, coordinated one of the activities by the local hospital. “We brought a good group of blood donors from each district to the Antonio Maria Pineda Hospital, where we also cleaned around the hospital and distributed food,” said Vega.

“It is such a pleasure to donate medicines to persons in need during the circumstances the country is facing,” Vega added.

Moisés Suárez, prayer-booth volunteer, said it was a real blessing to pray with patients and families with fellow volunteers from the surrounding Adventist Churches. “We shared many Bible promises and felt the powerful hand of God as we prayed, brought hope in the midst of difficult circumstances, and shared food with everyone around us.”

Gilberto Martínez of the Renacer Adventist Church in West Venezuela said that “helping those in need is a practical way to preach the gospel.”

Volunteers bring some balloons and cheers to young patients at a hospital. Image by West Venezuela Union

“This was about leaving our jobs and closing our businesses to be the hands, feet and voice of Jesus,” said Mirta Aldana, a church member from Barquisimeto.

Some 22,000 kilos of trash was collected from transportation terminals and city plazas. Over 150 murals were painted and 2,212 trees were planted in 56 different places across West Venezuela, organizers said.

West Venezuela administrators and leaders also took to the streets to work next to thousands of church members on the special initiative.  Hundreds were stationed at traffic lights across cities to bring about smiles.

Pastor Giovanny Martin, youth ministries director for the church in West Venezuela and main organizer of “Close to You Venezuela”, said he participated in the city of Mérida at a traffic light holding positive signs with dozens of young people. “It was so amazing to see so many people who day to day need a smile.”

Image by West Venezuela Union

Martin reported that more than 10,578 persons visited the thousands of haircut stations across the union territory, more than 11,000 children’s faces were painted, more than 20,000 community visitations were made, 80 sports events were organized, more than 9,000 clothing items were distributed, and 162 walks and auto caravans took place across cities and communities.

For more information about the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the West Venezuela Union, Click HERE

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Categories From the Field, RSS English | Tags: | Posted on November 2, 2017