But God never abandons us May 26, 2023
Hebrews 11:26, 13:5-6 Moses thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. … For God has said, “I will never fail you, I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear: What can mere people do to me?”
I usually post just twice a week, but I want to share a situation with you that’s happening right now. We could substitute the names “Otto and Idagly” for Moses in Hebrews 11:26: they too have chosen suffering rather than treasures in the way the world evaluates priorities. I wrote about them way back on October 11, 2020, so you might want to re-read that post.
Otto leads the Pastoring of Pastors movement Dave helped start in Venezuela. For a long time, as a husband and dad who cares deeply about his family, Otto has nurtured the dream of a house of their own. And now that is coming true!!
Currently their family of five lives in Idagly’s parents’ home, sharing the space also with Idagly’s sister and her family–12 people in a five-bedroom house. This means their two adolescent girls share a small bedroom with their brother, and Otto has his office in his and Idagly’s bedroom, and all twelve people share the kitchen, living room, and bathroom.
Yuliana, Idagly, Eliam, Otto, Eliany
Otto created a plan eight months ago to build a four-bedroom house (one bedroom to be used for his office). An architect projected it would cost $15,000. We tried to raise money for this, but people responded with only $8,000, so there was no possibility of initiating construction.
With runaway inflation, the cost increased dramatically. Inflation in Venezula was 436% in April this year compared with April 2022. Think about that for a minute.
However, people leaving Venezuela have been selling their properties at a loss to obtain cash. A four-bedroom apartment became available in Otto and Idagly’s neighborhood for $23,000. We told them to jump on it. We “borrowed” $15,000 from our own retirement account to complete the cash payment. Otto and Idagly received the keys to the apartment two days ago! They want to paint and repair a few things before moving in after they are with us in Bogotá for a leaders’ retreat June 8-14.
Dave and I have been thinking and praying about a repayment plan that would work for Otto and Idagly. We gave them $2,500 as a gift, leaving them $12,500 to repay. That’s an enormous amount in a country where right now the minimum wage is equivalent to $5.40 per MONTH and they are understandably nervous about this. The proposal we have sent them is that they repay us $100/month, which would take them until the end of 2034. (That’s more than a third of what they receive through our Multiplying Grace effort.) Any month they are able to pay more, or any time someone makes a $100 contribution, their debt will be reduced by one month.
Would you enjoy helping them with this debt? If so, please send your gift directly to us. We can’t give you a tax break because we used personal money, not ministry money. You can send us a check (contact me through Messenger or firstname.lastname@example.org for the address) or use Paypal or Google Pay. I’ll try to update you monthly on progress toward resolving this debt.
Imagine how amazing it will be for this family that has chosen to STAY in Venezuela to care for pastors to have their own living space. Imagine Otto, leading a nationwide ministry, having an office of his own.
I think Otto and Idagly’s situation helps us understand why almost a quarter of Venezuela’s population has left the country, including most professionals. Recently public school teachers went on strike, protesting salaries of about $10-$25/month. University professors earn $40-$60/month. President Maduro said no and ordered them back to work, asking them to be content with being “heroes.” Wouldn’t you leave too? There’s no way for one person to eat at those salary levels, even only eating rice. And most of them have families.
Every time I read a story like this, I appreciate Otto and Idagly and our other Venezuelan pastor friends more, for their determination to stay in Venezuela to serve and care and give. Truly, they are heroes in the Kingdom of God.