Venezuelan Refugees: Ipiales, Colombia
Thousands of Venezuelans arrive in Ipiales each day. Having fled the hunger and violence in their home country, they hope to find stability in Ecuador or in another South American country. Without enough shelters in the city, refugees are forced to sleep in parks or on sidewalks.
Long before the Venezuela crisis, an Alliance church was planted in Ipiales. With deep compassion, the church began providing immediate relief, opening their homes to displaced families. Soon Pastor Luis Giovany Castillo and the congregants began to dream of opening an official shelter in their city.
They envisioned a place where families could stay up to five days and receive food and a good night’s sleep. Guests would have access to showers, washing machines, the internet, and legal advice. The pastor and volunteers would have an opportunity to talk with these refugees about God’s steadfast love.
With a bit of CAMA’s guidance, your generous gifts, and official government approval, La Alianza por el Prójimo (Neighbor’s Alliance) opened on January 18, 2020.
Hope Offered in Grief
Sixteen-year-old Carioli, her boyfriend, and their one-year-old daughter were some of the first to arrive. They ate, took a shower, washed their clothes, and sat down at one of the computers to check in with their families. Seconds after logging on, Carioli received a message from a family member saying that her father had been killed in Venezuela that day. Carioli broke down in tears sitting at the shelter’s computer table.
The pastor and a group of volunteers immediately came around her, listened to her story, and prayed with her and her family. The pastor also shared of the hope found in Jesus. Before Carioli left to continue her migrant journey, she put her trust in Jesus as her Savior.
Will you pray that other believers and churches will open their hearts to Carioli and her small family as they continue their journey? She has experienced an enormous amount of trauma and grief for a 16-year-old. But isn’t it amazing to see how God opened the shelter just in time for Carioli’s arrival?
Please be praying for Venezuelans. Both refugees and those that remain in their country are very vulnerable. We praise God for churches that have stepped up in love around the world, and we continue to hear reports that more refugees have accepted Christ, and the beds are often full. Thank you for partnering in this life-giving project. We know God has more in store for these at-risk people.
Alliance Women has a goal to raise $32,000 for the CAMA Venezuelan Refugee Relief project. Give today.