Latin America News: Untapped & Unused

By Chestley Howell

A sleek new Lamborghini pulls up behind a red Ferrari, along with several other exotic foreign cars. The valet runs to take keys as wealthy sheiks garbed in their white robes step out to enter the Jumeirah, one of the most affluent hotels in Abu Dhabi, a country built on oil. As this is happening, halfway across the world, in a country that was once the most prosperous in Latin America, buildings are vacant and crumbling, people are struggling to find food, medicine, and gas, and cars line up for miles due to the fuel shortage. Life in Venezuela stands in stark contrast to the wealth of Abu Dhabi. And even though Venezuela has more oil reserves under its sand than any other country in the world, it is experiencing the worst gas shortage in its history.

Due to political corruption, mismanagement, and violence, Venezuela is slowly killing itself and its citizens. The refineries, which once produced thousands of barrels of oil and drove Venezuela’s economy, are now devoid of spare parts and technicians. In response to the authoritarian leadership of Nicol├ís Maduro and anti-democratic actions, human rights violations, and widespread corruption, many Western and Latin American nations have imposed sanctions on Venezuelan industries and exports, including oil. What was once the country’s greatest resource lies untapped and unused, while people go without fuel, money, medicine, and food. Already buckling under the weight of corruption, crime, and a failing economy, Venezuela’s limited resources were further depleted when the coronavirus invaded its borders. The nation is in turmoil.

We live in a country with some of the best Christian resources. It would be hard to find a town without a Baptist church. It would be difficult to find someone who has never heard of Jesus, his death on the cross, or John 3:16. Almost everyone here owns a Bible or has access to one. As the most evangelized nation, we are sitting on massive reserves of the gospel. But just as the Venezuelan refineries have failed to pump oil, have some of us all but stopped sharing the valuable gospel of Jesus Christ? Is our Christian witness becoming rusty from disuse?

We need to examine our Christianity. We have the message, the resources, the numbers, the people, but what are we doing for a world that’s continually marching towards hell? Have we seriously considered Jesus’ command to go and teach all nations? Or are we pursuing temporal, selfish pleasures instead of investing in souls?

Let’s use God’s resources for eternal gain. Let’s send more missionaries to share the gospel with those who have never heard in Venezuela and around the world. And let’s consider giving our lives in service of our Savior.

About the author

Tracy Paver is a missionary to Chile working alongside veteran church-planting missionaries Jason and Lori Holt.

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