We have been in a busy season of hospitality over the past few months. It has been our joy to have had our guest room occupied often and to frequently have visitors around the family meal table. I would like to introduce to you one of these visitors, Vanesa.
Vanesa is a 22 year old Venezuelan woman who is making a new life for herself here in Uruguay in response to the deep economic crisis that her country is experiencing (you can read more about the crisis here). Her and her Venezuelen boyfriend, Manuel, have been attending our church plant for over a year now. She came to stay with us for a few months at the end of the year, as she was looking to transition her living situation and strengthen her walk with the Lord.
Vane has shared with us what it is like as a young woman trying to walk with the Lord in the secular country of Uruguay. She describes the atmosphere at work as being one hostile to anyone living out an ethic of sexual purity and interest in church. She has said there is a stark contrast between the level of secularism here–where in her large company she has no Christian aquaintances, and almost no one has any Christian background–and her home in Venezuela where many people at least have Catholic or Evangelical roots and there are large and vibrant evangelical churches.
Vanesa’s time with us has been a blessing. Her and her boyfriend went through premarital counseling during these months each week wih Ray. Please pray for them that God would give them wisdom in their relationship and possible future marriage. Also please pray that they would both be strengthened to walk firmly with the Lord in the dry, hard soil in Uruguay.
On Christmas Eve our family hosted a Venezuelen Christmas dinner in our home with Vanesa, Manuel, and a few of their Venezuelen friends. We shared traditional Venezuelen foods such as asado negro and pan de jamon.
We tried to be traditional, but had an early dinner. We ate at around 10:30pm. In Venezuela it is tradional to eat around midnight and then stay awake all night. Having been ministering in a Latin American context these past 8 years, we are familiar with this tradition. But our children have asked that in our hospitality we do this one thing-go to bed early enough on Christmas Eve to be able to wake up for a traditional American Christmas morning. So we ended the evening not long after watching fireworks outside at midnight. It is our hope and prayer that the Gospel would take a hold of these visitors that came that night. Indeed, Vane and Manuel both have a heart for sharing the Gospel, and have several friends who are interested in learning more about Christianity. Please pray that these conversations would bear fruit.