Thursday, August 4, 2011


We started off Wednesday with street evangelism again, this time traveling to a neighboring town of Cocorote. This is a large town with no Baptist church, although there are enough believers there to start one. One of the goals of this week is to start new churches.
As you can see from the pictures, their homes all have an outer courtyard surrounded by iron gates. We walk up to a gate, one of our Venezuelan friends call  out "Buena!" until someone comes out of the house....better than a doorbell!

Our group ended up in an old folks home....Kerry was afraid they might try to keep him!
I'm not sure if we led anyone to the Lord, but we certainly made some old people happy!

In the afternoon we had another Texas cowboy hat to deliver...this one to the Director of Sports for San Felipe. He has been instrumental in helping secure the baseball stadium for our sports clinics on Friday and Saturday. Again, we share the plan of salvation with him and gave him a Bible.

His office was located at the soccer field. It was a beautiful field, but even more astounding to us from drought-stricken West Texas as the wonderful rain heading our way!

We were able to make it back to our hotel before the rain hit, and it hit hard!  We believe we had a microburst....the wind was incredible, and I looked out our door just in time to see a tree fall! I could tell that it was over near the hotel office, and when we went to the office later, the cleaning crews were already well on the way to having it cleaned up!

During the evening, there was a 'block party' at the school where we have been having our meals, which is a couple of blocks from the church we have been working with. They had lots of music, a drum routine presented by some of the group from Stephenville, and an illusionist from Fort Worth...Shaggy...followed by a sermon.

It was still raining lightly all during the program, but we had found a wonderful spot to sit and enjoyed the much-cooler evening under the umbrella!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Being Good Neighbors

What a day!
First let me say that before we left San Angelo, we asked our mayor if he would write a proclamation of good will to present to the mayor of San Felipe....which he did quite willingly!
Secondly, before leaving San Angelo, Kerry was able to acquire cowboy hats to bring as tokens of our good will to share with dignitaries here in San Felipe.

On Tuesday we spent the day being good neighbors!
We started the day with a visit to the home of their Senator. He was getting ready to leave for Caracas for their monthly assembly. He was so gracious is welcoming us into his home. Kerry read the proclamation of good will to him, and we presented him with a cowboy hat. We also shared Christ with him, gave him a new Testament and prayed with him and his family. It was a fabulous meeting!

Around noon we went to the sports stadium where there were games going on, and the Governor was there making a public appearance. He had agreed to see us and we planned to meet him there. Again, Kerry read the proclamation, presented the Governor with a cowboy hat from Texas, as well as a new testament. I'm sure we made the evening news as he proudly wore his new cowboy hat!

We finished up the day with a visit to the office of the Mayor of San Felipe. He also was very welcoming and gracious as he received us. We presented him with the official proclamation from our own mayor and a black cowboy hat. We also shared Christ with him and a New Testament and prayed with him. He was very open to us and has invited us to possibly have lunch with him later in the week!

In between our 'good neighbor' visits, we made a visit to the Iglesia Bautista Misionera where a medical clinic has been set up this week. We played with the children, visited with the adults, and met new friends, both Venezuelan.....pastors and church members.....and American....other team members who have come to Venezuela on mission trips.

Our dear friend Ladimiro was able to be with us for a couple of days before having to return to Merida. He has been our interpreter for all of our trips to Venezuela. Also, our friend Jacobo from Caracas was I took the opportunity to get a picture of the Quatro Amigos....Kerry, Ladimiro, Buck, Jacobo!

We ended the day on Tuesday on the best 'good will' venture of the day! We had been told of a young man who had been selected for the National Selection Team who will be playing in the Pan American games. He and his family are believers, but don't have much. His ball glove had been stolen, so we brought him a new glove. We were able to give it to him Tuesday night and speak to the team. Shaggy, a Christian Clown from Fort Worth, was with us and spoke to the team, sharing Christ and leading a prayer of salvation. Most of the young men prayed to receive Christ standing there on the ball field. After Kerry presented the ball glove to Luis, he emphasized the fact that what Satan meant for harm (the theft of Luis' glove), God had turned into good (the salvation of many of the team). 

It was a good day to be good neighbors!

Sharing Jesus and Making Friends

Started out the week Monday morning with street evangelism. We are working with groups from Nuevo Jerusalen Iglesia Bautista. They are trying to start new churches in various areas of the city of San Felipe, so we are going out each morning this week to witness, share Christ, and invite people to church.

All the houses have iron gates in front...often we would simply stand outside the gate and share Christ with those inside....other times we were invited in.

We worked with people from the local churches as well as Venezuelan nationals who have traveled to Yaracuy for these three weeks of evangelism emphasis. These are some of the kids in our large group....we broke up into three groups in the neighborhood.

Our meals are being prepared and served at a school near the church.

Buck and Mary Smith with several new Venezuelan friends....taken inside the school cafeteria.

We moved to a new hotel on Monday. The good news is that the room is much bigger and there is a restaurant at the hotel. The bad news is that there is no wi-fi in the rooms like the other hotel, so I have to rely on having time to go to the lobby to connect to the internet. The other good news is that this is our view......nice!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Toma de Yaracuy

Like many of you, we began our Sunday worshiping our Lord in the local church. We were guests in the Nuevo Jerusalem Iglesia Bautista here in San Felipe. The church service began with about an hour of music, followed by introductions and recognitions of volunteer workers who have come for this week of intense evangelism. BGCT is not the only partner in this endeavor. Venezuela also has a partnership with Mexico, so there are volunteers from Mexico and also from Panama, in addition to the U.S.

Kerry preached in the morning worship, speaking about 'preparing to meet God'. Keila Acosta, wife of Jerry Acosta who has been the 'man in charge' of Toma de Yaracuy, interpreted for Kerry. Our friend and translator, Ladimiro Urdaneta, will be here sometime tomorrow and will interpret for Kerry once he gets here.  It was a very effective message, and there were about 7 professions of faith and around 20 recommitments.
 This afternoon/evening was the kickoff rally for Toma de Yaracuy (Take Yaracuy). The rally was held in a local theater, and it was packed out! There were 1300 inside and another 200-300 who had to stay outside because there was no room.

The rally started with a lot of fabulous Christian music. 
Then several presentations were made to some of the prominent pastors and convention workers.
Buck was recognized as having started the first Baptist church in Yaracuy in San Felipe some 35 years ago. We have met many people who have told us that Buck was the one who led them to the Lord or was the one who baptized them. He is truly a part of Venezuelan Baptist history! 

Following the presentations, there was more music followed by an inspiring message from Wilfredo Velasquez, pastor from Maracaibo whom we met this morning at our hotel. His church in Maracaibo has missionaries all over the world! He has asked us about helping to provide Bibles to the people of Venezuela. For whatever reason, it is hard for people here to get Bibles. We assured him we would do whatever we could to help. Wrapping up the rally we sang again....Because He Lives and a song about "taking Christ to our town".

As we left the rally, we continued to meet people who had known Buck in the past. Then we saw people we knew! Santiago and his sister, Sonoma, and her husband who are all from Puerto Ayacucho. Their dad is a pastor there whom we met on our first trip to Venezuela 6 years ago!

After returning to the hotel, we sat and visited with some folks from New Jerusalem who had brought supper to us.....cachapa....basically a cornbread pancake with their wonderful cheese and butter inside. Pretty tasty!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

San Felipe!

After 41 hours of travel, including layovers in two airports, we arrived in Caracas around 6AM this morning. The upside of taking that overnight flight out of Houston means almost NO LINES at customs! We were able to get through customs and received all our luggage with very little delay.

After arriving, we boarded buses for San Felipe. We had two busloads, between 70 and 80 people from all over the United States....mostly Texas and at least one couple from Mexico.
We rode for about an hour and a half before stopping for a breakfast of arepas! Ah yes...forgot how much I love arepas!
On the road again for another 4 hours or so before arriving in San Felipe. Everyone got some much needed sleep on the bus after the overnight flight.

Of all the mission trips I've been on, this is one of the most least so far. We arrived at the church where they had computers set up to help with team/church assignments. There were close to 100 volunteers to take care of. They had currency exchange all ready for us, followed by lunch, then team assignments began. Kerry & I will be working with Jerry Acosta and his wife at their church here and will be working with all of the churches throughout the week.

Finally we made it to our hotel and were able to freshen up and take a little nap. We do have internet here, but we are going to only be at this hotel a couple of nights. So we will do what we can do while we can do it! The weather today has been warm....possibly mid 80's....but it has been humid. This evening a wonderful cloud has come down over the edge of the mountain and it has cooled down very nicely. We are sitting outside at the hotel waiting for our guy to come and share details for tomorrow and the week ahead.

And there he is now...driving in!
According to Keila Acosta, there are about 120-135 North Americans here...47 came in yesterday and the rest of us came today. She has just told me that everyone is settled in wherever they are staying...some in homes and others in hotels. PLUS, there are many Venezuelan nationals who are coming to help during the week. It has been a tremendous task.

Tomorrow will be the kickoff for the Toma de Yaracuy 2011 campaign.
Please pray for a productive, confusion-free day!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Venezuela, Here We Come!

In less than 24 hours we will be off on our 2011 Venezuela Mission Trip! We are going to Yaracuy this year, to the city of San Felipe. We have never been to this area before and are excited to see another part of the country. There are seven in our team from San Angelo.....Kerry & Diane, Buck & Mary, Sherryl & De, and Jim. Several others are joining us from Texas, Tennessee, and South Carolina.

We will be flying in to Caracas early Saturday morning, then taking a bus ride to San Felipe. We will work with the churches there in an evangelistic effort including witnessing during the day and worship services at night. On Friday and Saturday we will host sports clinics. We are taking quite a bit of baseball and soccer equipment with us.

Depending on whether or not we have internet capabilities while there, I will try to post updates throughout the week on this blog.

Please pray for our team, for it's travel safety and personal safety and health while there. Pray for the people with whom we will share Christ. Pray for the pastors and churches with whom we will work.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dear friends and family,

This letter just in from Ricardo in the Amazon of Venezuela. They are beginning the end of the year river trips to the jungles of Colombia and Venezuela. Two teams have already left and others will follow. Many of them will return after January 6th, 2011. They are taking Bibles and other teaching materials with them to be distributed to the pastors and leaders.

Pray for their safety as they travel. There are dangers from river travel and also danger from the bad people that roam around looking for someone to rob or something to steal.

Pray that the Holy Spirit will prepare hearts willing to listen to the Gospel message. Pray that His power will make known His will for their lives.

He needs help in buying the Bibles. Pray that the Lord will supply the funds.

In Him we have the Victory,

Hola mi hermano Rolando encargue 5 cajas de biblias 6000 bf con mi amigo de apure, me llegan hoy consegui las biblias a 25 bf trae 40 la caja.

Material de evangelismo, discipulado y para niƱos 3500bf. Quiero mandar algo a la gente que debo en colombia eso seria 7000bf que es la mitad de la deuda y que ellos retiren las biblias alla mismo osea en idioma indigena. Ayer hice la compra de la comida,aceite y hoy cargamos la gasolina y la permisologia, esto ya he gastado 2900 bf. Necesito que me llames a mi celular para hablar de esto, sobre todo de lo que quiero enviar a colombia de la deuda.