Autumn 2020
Written by Uel and Rae Ussher - VENEZUELA

Uel and Rea Ussher, Venezuela

Uel and Rae have had the privilege of serving the Lord in Venezuela for over 50 years. Presently they are in N. Ireland for health reasons.

In recent days we were reminiscing about the changes we have noted in Palo Negro since first we arrived in 1968. To mention just a few: There were only two streets paved in the town. All the rest were gravel, which made it difficult to transit in the rainy season.

There was no public telephone in the town. It was a great day when our telephone was installed in our home. When young people reached high school age, they had to study in Maracay, a near-by city, but now there are several High schools in our town. Venezuela progressed very favourably for years, and the standard of living for many significantly improved. Quite a few international companies were attracted, which provided work for the people.

Great improvements were seen in the educational and medical worlds. Sad to say that since socialism was introduced over these past 20 years, the progress of former years has been put into reverse gear. Many big international companies like Ford and G.M. no longer make vehicles. Others have closed up and left the country, leaving so many out of work. Today essential food items and medicines are at a price most are not able to afford. The cost of living is similar to the UK, and the minimum wage for a whole month is just about $15.00. Gasoline (petrol) has been very scarce for some time, and now natural gas used for cooking has also become scarce, which makes life very difficult for many of the dear people.

Now we have the added and severe problem of COVID 19. It was slower to take off in Venezuela than in other countries, but now a large number of believers have become infected. As hospital care is very limited, a directory of Christian doctors, in assembly fellowship, has been made available to the assemblies. The believers are encouraged to contact them as soon as symptoms appear. This has been a great help in reducing the number of cases needing hospital care. The Lord has provided the funds to put within reach of most assemblies, necessary medication to help patients in the early stages of the illness.

The brethren and sisters who are engaged in helping those infected with the virus reported that over 800 believers who had presented symptoms of the virus had received help last week. But sadly, quite a few believers from different parts of the country have gone home to glory, others are still seriously ill, but thankfully many are on the way to recovery. Pray, brethren pray.

As we think of the spiritual side of the work, we have much to be thankful for. In 1968 there were four assemblies in the area where we live, and today there are eleven. And in several other places, there is an ongoing Gospel work amongst adults and children. Much of what has been accomplished has been due to the assemblies' exercise to reach out with the Gospel to other towns nearby. At the same time, they may not have seen as much progress as in other areas of the country. We are grateful to the Lord for what He has done and for the preservation of the testimony to His Name.

As in most countries, assembly activities have been greatly restricted due to lockdown. The assembly at Palo Negro last met to remember the Lord on Lord's Day 15th. March. We value prayer for the saints that they will be preserved in these circumstances and kept close to the Lord.

Despite all the difficulties, the Lord has opened a door for the Gospel that other countries may not enjoy. Many assemblies have been exercised to make the Gospel known, following the guidelines for disease prevention. Our son Samuel with other brethren, has been doing this in Palo Negro. A brother preachers standing on an open stairway at a brother's house, while the neighbours sit in front of their own homes and listen to the Gospel relayed over a sound system. While the halls are still closed, the Gospel is preached in a similar manner in many places. Please pray that these efforts will be for the glory of God and the eternal blessing to many souls.

Other brethren record messages of help for believers and the Gospel for the unsaved, using WhatsApp. This method has been a help, and we pray that God will bless His word. I have been preparing a message twice a week for the believers and a short Gospel message each Lord's Day using this method.

Presently we are in N. Ireland. The Lord opened up the way for us to return from Venezuela on June 1st. on a charter flight that had been organized by the German embassy. We will appreciate the continued prayers of the Lord's people for Venezuela. Please remember His servants who labour faithfully there and the assemblies that the testimony may be preserved according to the scriptural pattern until The Lord comes.

Autumn 2020
Written by Uel and Rae Ussher - VENEZUELA