MAF will be affected by New Tribes ouster from Venezuela

By December 14, 2005

Venezuela (MNN) — After more than 40 years of working in Venezuela, Mission Aviation Fellowship’s work there may come to an end. Last month, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez ordered New Tribes Mission out of the tribal areas of the country. He believes New Tribes was destroying tribal cultures and spying. That order will also affect Mission Aviation Fellowship.

MAF’s Latin America Director Dave Fyock says, “Thursday of last week I read something from the ministry of defense which clearly indicated that they lumped Alas de Socorro – which is the name that we use in Venezuela – in with New Tribes Mission.”

Fyock says their base is located in the last major city before you get to the jungle. However, that doesn’t mean that will spare them from closing down. “Since our focus is on using the airplanes to reach the most remote areas, by virtue of the fact that we believe there will be no one left in those areas as far as missionaries to serve, that our work will no longer be able to continue.”

While the news is bad for their work, Fyock says it’s not all bad news. “With the Yanomami Indians, for example, more have come to know the Lord in the last three years than in all of the 50 previous years. We believe we’ll continue to see God work in spite of the fact that missionaries may not be able to live in those areas.”

New Tribes is appealing the government’s decision. Papers have been filed for the appeal, but there’s no word on when those arguments will be heard by the court. If nothing is done, these missionaries will have to leave the region some time in February, at which time the government will acquire all buildings and other property.

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