At first, Carmen thought of the Saturday church services at the Church of the Nazarene in El Llanito, Venezuela, as an activity for her children. A single mother without a permanent job, she was overwhelmed with looking for work and finding odd jobs to scrape by. With her children out of the house, she had a few hours to do chores and find something to feed them that day.
Carmen lives with her children, Deo* and Daniela*, in the Andean region of Venezuela. Not only has work been hard to find, but there is also a food shortage plus rising prices. Recently, the children were eating only one meal a day. Every night, Carmen worried that she wouldn’t be able to find food for the next day. Sometimes she didn’t even want to wake up to the reality she faced: her children were without even the most basic necessity, and she didn’t know what to do. The church’s Saturday service became a safe place where she could take her children as she tried to figure it all out.
As Deo and Daniela began to attend church more, Carmen began to notice a difference in them. They began to pray over meals, thanking God for the food they had even when it wasn’t enough.
The pastors at the church learned about the family’s situation from the children. They prayed together for food and for Carmen. Then one of the pastors began to visit the family at home.
One day, the pastor showed up with a basket full of staple foods for the family. The food had been gathered through a ministry they simply called Cestas de Amor, or Baskets of Love. Carmen wept for joy at the sight of the basket.
Today, Carmen’s prayers for a stable job have been answered. Her children’s prayers have also been answered — now their mother goes with them to church each week. She has even invited some of her neighbors to join them.
Baskets of Love is run through local Nazarene churches in Venezuela. So far, churches have been able to care for 60 families. There is a great need for food support in Venezuela, and the churches hope to help even more families in the future.
To learn more or give to this project, visit ncm.org/Venezuela.
*Children’s names are changed for their protection
--Republished with permission from the Winter 2017 edition of NCM Magazine