Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Venezuela - more about the church.

I have to tell you about one of the families in the church. I don't know all the names and spellings, but I'll tell you what I do know.

It's a compliment in Venezuela for someone to come up to you and feel your belly and muscles. Fat and muscle are sign that you have food and can work hard. I knew this ahead of time. One of the ladies, named Esmerelda, especially liked to come up to me and feel my fat and muscle. She would do so, smile, and call me "papa". I figured she noticed my own kids and was merely complimenting me. She was complimenting me, but there was more. She has three kids of her own: Engel (a boy about 12), Estaban (a boy about 9), and Stephanie (a girl about 5). Her husband owns and operates a bus - I don't know his name. He drove one day for us when Levi was doing maintenance on his bus.

Anyway, Esmerelda and her husband have a difficult time keeping food on the table. I learned that her purpose was to have us take her youngest two kids to the US with us so they would have a better opportunity to grow and do well. Of course this wasn't possible.

I'll break down the photos for you: that's me in the top picture with Esmerelda and two each of our kids in the front. From right to left: Luke, Stephanie, Hope and Estaban. The second photo is Engel, their older brother. This last photo is myself, their father (Esmerelda's husband), Brian Souther and Jeff Gross.


Anonymous Somer Holladay ( said...

Wow-I just typed in ITAM Venezuela to see if I could find the old website and came across your blog..I just about started crying seeing all the pictures. I went a few times w/ ITAM and built very strong relationships w/ Iglesia Bautista Fuente d Agua Viva that I actually spent a summer w/ a family of Pastor Tito's church. The pictures of Esmeralda's family (and yes, she tried to get me to take her kids to the US too!:) ) and everyone else was a great reminder of our friends in Maracaibo. I keep in contact w/ a few of the teenagers there via internet and since 2006, the church has stopped meeting:( and Pastor Tito has moved to Falcon to begin another church. A lot of the teens that were involved have left since the support of ITAM kept dwindling. Please keep the church and all of the old members in your prayers. Thank you!

Tue Dec 02, 11:12:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Jim Pemberton said...

Hi, Somer!

This was my family's first year there. My user photo was taken in the dump there, of course. The little girl's name is Genesis and she and her mom had just gotten clothing from the mission at Fuente de Amor.

The next year we went with Chris Bumbalo from ITAM and his new group, The Least of These, to Cabimas to work with Iglacia Bautista Salvacion. Did you work with Adriana Andrades and Ised Portillo? This is Adriana's church. We picked up support for Ised and she's been working there for the past few years planting churches and facilitating our teams and Chris' teams.

My church has been coming on our own. For the past couple of years, my wife and kids have spent the whole summer over there working with them while I've come down with our team. She stayed with Adriana's family the first year and with the Pastor's family this year. We had Ised to the States early this past year for several weeks. Adriana and her fiance, Keny, are supposed to be coming to spend several weeks in Kentucky with Chris.

Thanks for the info on Pastor Tito. We wondered where he went. Esmerelda brought Esteban and Stephanie to Cabimas to visit my wife and kids last year. They seem to be doing well. One of our members was in touch with Kennedy from Fuente de Aqua Viva and I think he's living in Miami now. We had done a carnival in front of Kennedy's house when we were in Maracaibo.

Ok - sorry if my response is a bit random. I'm in a hurry, but I wanted to respond to you quickly and I have a lot going on later tonight.

Oh - Ised and Adriana and several others from ITAM are on Facebook if you want to contact any of them.

Also, Miguel from ITAM has been singing with Steve Green some! My wife and kids got to go to Maracaibo and see them sing together last year.

Tue Dec 02, 04:31:00 PM GMT-5  

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