Missionaries relocate in Venezuela.

By February 3, 2006

Venezuela (MNN)–New Tribes Mission has begun relocating their personnel from Venezuela’s tribal areas. The resolution went into effect Nov. 14 and gave NTM of Venezuela 90 days to leave tribal areas.

So far, NTM’s Nita Zelenak says there’s been no word on their appeal to the Supreme Court’s resolution. While the decision may still yet come down annulling the resolution, the relocations had to begin now in order for the mission to maintain its historic adherence to the laws of Venezuela.

Last fall, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced during a nationally televised speech that NTM missionaries would be expelled from the country. He did not indicate a specific time, but did say it would be done in an orderly manner.

The resolution came down November 14, ordering the teams out of the tribal areas. In response, the missionaries are preparing the indigenous people for the possibility of continuing the ministry on their own.

It’s a mixture of shock and sorrow, says Zelenak, adding that new energy has come out of it. “There’s been an intense interest in learning and studying more and for those places where there was a translation going on, people were setting all things aside so that they could work with our missionaries to help speed the process the process of getting as much of the Bible translated into their language as possible.”

She says it’s a difficult transition for their team. “Our first prayer request is for the country of Venezuela and for the people who will be continuing there, no matter what. Also, for the missionaries who will be relocating, this is a major upheaval in their lives, and it’s been very difficult for them to say goodbye to people that they love not knowing when or if they’ll be able to go back in.”

Please continue to pray for the tribal people of Venezuela, and especially for the ones leading the tribal churches.

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