The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Northeast region in Colombia gathered hundreds of Adventist Venezuelan migrants residing in Cúcuta for a special dinner and program, held at the Juan Frio Adventist Recreational Center in Villa del Rosario, May 19, 2019. Photo by Kendy Santander

June 13, 2019 | Cútuta, Colombia | Daniela Arrieta/IAD News Staff

“If cancer hasn’t beaten me, neither will hunger,” said Norbis Sánchez before leaving her native Venezuela for Colombia to get away from the economic, social, and political strife plaguing her home country.

Sánchez, a Seventh-day Adventist, now resides in Cúcuta, Colombia, a city which shares a border with Venezuela, a border she and her family crossed with no money or Passports.

“My passport is the Lord,” she said in front of more than 550 Venezuelans who were gathered on May 19, 2019, at the Juan Frío Adventist Recreational Center in Valle del Rosario, in Norte Santander. A special program was organized for Adventists from Venezuela living in Cúcuta.

Changing People’s Lives International Ministries donated funds to assist in the special event to benefit Venezuelan migrants in Colombia. Photo by Kendy Santander

The activity was meant to gather church members in Colombia, continue their involvement in community projects and learn more about what Venezuelans are going through.

“We are very happy to be able to develop this program for Seventh-day Adventits from Venezuela,” said Edilberto Ortíz, president of the church in the Northeast Colombia conference. “Initially, we started working with all Venezuelan migrants without thinking about their culture or religion, and decided to focus on seeking out and welcoming them [Adventists].”

Since the beginning of the crisis at the border several years ago, ADRA Colombia and the Northeast Colombian Conference have been running projects to benefit thousands of Venezuelan migrants with food baskets, mattresses, toiletries, blankets, shoes, and basic health services, explained Ortíz.

The hundreds of migrants were treated to a dinner, music and provided time to share their experiences.

Pastor Edilberto Ortíz, president of the church in Northeast Colombia, welcomes those gathered during the special dinner event. Photo by Kendy Santander

“I faithfully asked God for His help and He did, so I am going to remain in this church and get baptized,” said migrant Dora Luz

During the program, 190 food baskets were distributed to the group, thanks to donations by ADRA Colombia, ADRA Puerto Rico and CPL International, a non-government organization.

According to the numbers, there are more than 300 Adventist Venezuelan families residing in Cúcuta.

“We have received great assistance from ADRA Puerto Rico, which was represented by Pastor Jose Alberto Rodríguez who delivered resources to help migrants in who are now living in Cúcuta,” said Ortíz.

A Seventh-day Adventist receives goods during the special program in Cúcuta, Colombia, May 19.
Photo by Kendy Santander

Yovanny Ruíz, who arrived in Cúcuta in search of a better future, thanked God, volunteers and everyone who donated to help him and his fellow countrymen.

“We are so thankful for this wonderful token of love,” said Ruíz. “Jesus is all throughout the world and is using you as instruments. My family and all of us who are staying in my house are so grateful for all that the church has done for us.”

Church leaders at the local ADRA office in Cúcuta plan to work on a project where children from the church in Cúcuta will raise funds, clothes and toys for Venezuelan migrant children.

To learn more about projects and initiatives led by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North Colombia, visit unioncolombiana.org.co

A family enjoys the dinner program organized by the Adventist Church in Northeast Colombia. Photo by Kendy Santander

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