A Young Girl's Prayer for Venezuela

April 25, 2019 • Colombia

Maryelis' life has been turned upside down by economic disarray in her home country. She is one of thousands of Venezuelans benefiting from Samaritan's Purse medical work in Colombia.

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Maryelis came to the Samaritan’s Purse mobile medical brigade (clinic) in Puerto Santander, Colombia, suffering from some minor childhood ailments. The doctor saw her and provided her mother Jennifer with the appropriate remedies, including a fever reducer.

It was a simple interaction, but for Jennifer and Maryelis [featured in the video above], there is nothing simple about their lives anymore. They make a dangerous crossing over into Colombia a couple times a week to sell fish and buy staples because their home country of Venezuela is in economic freefall. Hyperinflation has robbed the currency of its value, and food and medicine are in short supply. Simple pain relievers—when available—can cost up to a month’s salary. In some cases, hospitals are no longer able to provide even basic care.

“I really hope that everything changes in Venezuela,” Maryelis said. “I go to the church every Sunday, and I pray for God to change everything.”

“I pray for God to change everything.”

Jennifer described long lines and angry people waiting for what little food is available in Venezuela. It’s difficult for the single mom to provide.

“You have to fight. You don’t live there, you [just] survive there,” she said.

Maryelis and Jennifer are among the thousands of Venezuelans we’ve helped at our two medical service locations in Colombia. The work continues as the flow of migrants increases. Most have no other treatment options available to them, so they are greatly appreciative of the compassionate and quality care we provide at no cost.

“We treat them differently than other places,” said Crispin Figueroa, Samaritan’s Purse medical director in Colombia. He said many Venezuelan migrants are living and working in the streets, making it hard to live healthy.

“We accept people as they are,” he said. “Some people haven’t bathed for three days. Other organizations might turn them away. We don’t judge them; we accept them because that’s how God wants us to treat them.”

Being able to provide healthcare and at the same time share the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what attracted Crispin to work with Samaritan’s Purse. “The ability to preach the Word is what I really like about this,” he said. “God is in the middle of it.”

In 2019, between our efforts in Puerto Santander (mobile brigade; two days per week) and our other site in Maicao (full clinic; six days per week), we’ve seen more than 5,000 patients.

Please pray for our continued ministry in Colombia among Venezuelans who have fled their country or who are regularly crossing back-and-forth between the two nations.

Samaritan’s Purse is operating two primary heathcare sites in Colombia, as well as two migrant shelters where thousands have received food, safe overnight accommodations, and hygiene kits. We also are partnering to support the Center of Hope in Cucuta.

This article was originally published on January 30, updated February 15, and then updated again on April 25. Clinic data has changed, and Crispin Figueroa has recently come on staff.

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People waiting to enter Colombia on the Simon Bolivar International Bridge in Cucuta.
Help Venezuelans in Crisis Samaritan's Purse is helping to meet the overwhelming physical and spiritual needs of thousands of Venezuelan migrants who are daily entering Colombia. This may be the largest migrant crisis in Latin American history, and we're offering relief from multiple locations—providing overnight shelter, hygiene kits, food, and primary medical care. As we serve, we are pointing people, young and old, to the eternal hope found only in Jesus Christ. Through this response, many are gladly placing their faith in Him.

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