We seek to provide quality Christian education for southwestern Venezuela. Since 2004 we have maintained a preschool with enrollment of 25 to 30 children, ages 2 to 6. We also provide afterschool tutoring for older children (up to seventh grade). Our goals are, first, to communicate the Good News of eternal life in Jesus Christ, and, second, to teach our students the skills that they need to break a generational cycle of poverty,
Over 70 percent of the children in the surrounding community drop out of school after sixth grade. Lacking marketable skills and motivation, they can find only low-paying, menial jobs. They drift into lives of alcohol and other drug abuse, domestic violence and family instability, and petty crime. Many of the girls give birth to their first child at age 15 or younger. Thus the cycle perpetuates itself. But these young people need more than a practical education. In order to not give up, they need the hope that arises from the assurance of God's love in this life and beyond.
We praise the Lord that some of the youth involved with our mission have become the first members of their families to finish high school and entertain thoughts of attending a university. But we would like to do more.
Our long-term plans include establising a complete Christian day school from preschool through sixth grade. We also would like to become a center for recruiting and training people to plant more missions throughout the region. To accomplish these plans we need to build more classroom space. We also would like to build a permanent, enclosed chapel. Currently worship services are held on Sunday morings and at other times under a roofed patio. While this is not as much of a problem in tropical Venezuela as it would be in the United States, we still are vulnerable to disruptions from noise in the streets, high winds and heavy rain.
Unfortunately, Venezuela is the midst of an economic crisis from which it may take years to recover. Basic foodstuffs, medicines and sanitary supplies are in short supply. In fact, nearly half the population of the entire country lives in poverty, including many people who unti recently might have been considered members of the middle class, So it is hard to find financial support in country.
From the beginning, Epiphany Lutheran Mission has been supported by donations from individuals, congregations and mission societies in the United States. We hope and pray that more of you will consider supporting our continuing work and helping us to expand.