The ongoing economic crisis in Venezuela continues to affect our brothers and sisters. Every week, the branch office in Venezuela receives reports of publishers who have been victims of crimes. Also, numerous Kingdom Halls in the country have been burglarized. Our brothers face hyperinflation as well as shortages of food, medicine, and other basic goods. Since 2013, over 20,000 publishers have fled to other countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Italy, Peru, Portugal, Spain, and the United States.* Despite these difficult circumstances, the approximately 140,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses who remain in Venezuela are active in their spiritual activities.
The branch office in Venezuela continues to organize the ongoing relief work within the country. There are now 60 relief committees, which have primarily been tasked with distributing food to the brothers and sisters. To date, the Venezuela branch, with the assistance of the Brazil branch, has distributed hundreds of tons of donated food to over 64,000 publishers in 1,497 congregations.
The Venezuela branch also continues to help care for the spiritual needs of the brothers and sisters. This summer, there were 122 “Be Courageous”! Regional Conventions held throughout the country, the last of which concluded on September 2, 2018. The conventions provided a vital spiritual boost to the brothers and sisters, many of whom had to overcome severe economic challenges to attend.
Witnesses in Venezuela are actively comforting the many distressed people in the country with the Bible’s message. Currently, publishers conduct close to 200,000 Bible studies each month. There has also been an increase of newly interested ones attending congregation meetings, and 7,259 individuals were baptized.
These positive spiritual developments demonstrate that God’s spirit is fortifying our Venezuelan brothers and sisters. We pray that they continue to trust in Jehovah until his Kingdom ends all present distresses.—Proverbs 3:5, 6.
^ par. 2 In times of economic, social, or political crisis, each publisher must decide whether or not to flee their country of residence. The organization does not promote or encourage one’s decision to either leave or remain.—Galatians 6:5.