Colombia (MNN) — Tensions continue in South America. Large-scale military exercises and a regional defense pact see rumors of war circling Colombia and Venezuela. On Monday, reports the Associated Press, the U.S. and its regional allies will meet to discuss further sanctions on Venezuela.
Compassion International partners with churches in a town called Cúcuta, located along the main border between Colombia and Venezuela. Amid the chaos and concern, Compassion’s Carlos Alvarez says believers recognize God as their only source of hope.
“On the field, families keep praying and keep hoping that the situation will probably ease down a little bit, and that they don’t get in the midst of these governmental disputes,” he says.
What’s going on in Colombia and Venezuela?
MNN spoke with Alvarez about the ongoing crisis roughly six months ago. “We’ve been partnering with local churches, frontline churches, for the last eight years. We have learned how the situation has worsened over the last two years as people are coming in from Venezuela,” he told us then.
Things haven’t improved; each sunrise brings dozens of new Venezuelan families across the border.
Many Venezuelan migrations are “circular,” meaning people will cross into Colombia as needed but then return back to their home country after a period of time. According to the most recent Situation Report, there were between 25,000 and 40,000 such crossings per week in July. The same report recorded 1.4 million “stationary” Venezuelans inside Colombian territory, though that number has likely increased.
Compassion’s partners are helping 700 Venezuelan families in Christ’s name, including “27 pregnant migrant mothers that are in very high vulnerable situation,” Alvarez says. “We’re currently [providing] basic food, sanitation, health, social, emotional and spiritual support.”
Families helped by Compassion live in abject poverty, but they’re eager to share their meager food and shelter with Venezuelans who have even less. “I ask God to provide for me so I can help others. When someone gives me something, I share it with these Venezuelans because they are also in need,” one Colombian woman recently told Compassion staff.
Colombian believers display Christ’s love in word and deed, and it’s moving Venezuelan hearts.
“Venezuelans are actually being more open to the Gospel,” Alvarez says. “180 families are currently attending local church partners’ services, and 32 parents and 14 youth have been baptized.”
How to help
In partnership with local believers, Compassion International commits to standing alongside vulnerable communities – come what may. By giving to Compassion’s Disaster Relief Fund, you can support their efforts and meet immediate needs.
“This is really an emergency situation; [there are] a lot of people suffering,” Alvarez says. “Be aware of what’s happening, not only at the governmental or public media level but also on the day to day [level].”
Most importantly, pray. Ask the Lord for peace between Colombia and Venezuela. Pray the current tensions won’t escalate into violence or war. Pray Compassion receives the financial support it needs to continue aid efforts.
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