Thursday, March 09, 2006

The church in Barinas, Venezuela

The church in Barinas, a city of 600,000 + people, is the oldest and largest sound church in Venezuela. Most Sundays they will have over 100 in attendance, even after 10-15 left to begin a church downtown, which now numbers over 30. The members are active in trying to teach others the Gospel and so they have visitors at most services and average 10-15 baptisms a year. There are a number of young families with small children as well as a number of men in the 50-65 year old range. They have a very adequate building and several class "rooms" for the children. They have had their share of growing pains, including several controversies over marriage but have matured to the point that they seem to handle them without division. More than one preacher has come from this church and there are a number of brethren who help with the preaching and teaching.
The Gospel has also gone forth from Barinas to other areas, as brethren have moved. The church in Guanare, the capital of the neighboring state as well as a church in Maracaibo, the second largest city in the country. From Guanare the Gospel spread to the neighboring villages of Biscucuy and Bocono, in the Andes mountains. The Gospel has reached a very diverse group of people in Barinas from single Mothers to retired men to young people in their late teens to mid 20's. There are Columbians, Peruvians, and even Dominicanos (from the Dominican Republic) mixed in.
The future prospects are good for both of these churches--I forsee that they will have elders and deacons reasonably soon. Please pray that they may continue to grow and be a light not only in this city, but in the region.

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