Christians in Venezuela are fervently clinging to prayer as their country is in crisis, a Venezuelan pastor says.
Enrique Soto, who is currently in the United States for medical treatment, says he speaks with his fellow pastors daily, especially as the uprising gains momentum.
"It's difficult to describe the suffering unless you see it with your eyes," Soto says. "Please pray that in the midst of the suffering people don't lose hope. That the heart of the Venezuelan people may turn to Christ."
On Tuesday, opposition leader Juan Guiado, whom many countries recognize as Venezuela's interim leader, called for the military to take action against dictator Nicholas Maduro.
The Venezuelan government calls the actions an attempted coup, but Guiado was not dissuaded. On Wednesday, Guiado called for the "largest march in history," to protest the regime.
During the protests, a military vehicle plowed through a crowd of people. The scene was broadcast across international news media including CNN.
In the midst of the chaos, though, believers see a spiritual root.
"Our main problem is spiritual," Soto says. "Many are being touched by the Lord but many still cling to witchcraft, Santeria and all kinds of idolatry. The spiritual war is intense because the late president Hugo Chávez was a Santeria priest himself and made all kinds of pacts and satanic rituals, aided by Cuba's Castros, in order to hold on to power, and hand Venezuela over to the darkness of communism."
Soto says Chavez cursed the country when he cursed the state of Israel in 2010. Chavez died of colon cancer in 2013.
"That curse has destroyed our country," Soto says. "That curse must be broken by repentance."
Soto gave specific prayer points for his beloved country as the protests continue.
"Pray that the church will repent—many pastors were seduced by Chavez and supported his regime—so that Venezuelan people who are bound to occult practices may repent and turn to Christ," Soto says.
"Pray that the many faithful pastors and praying churches' faith may not fail in the midst of lack and suffering," Soto says. "I know pastors who survive with a monthly $25 donation from saints in the U.S., and they consider themselves privileged of such donations, as there are hundreds and I'd say maybe thousands of pastors who try to survive with much less. That is why many Venezuelans including many pastors just leave to neighboring countries," he continued.
"Please pray for these many families that have been greatly disrupted. Children are malnourished and even abused as they are being left almost as orphans because their parents had to leave. Many young people then turn to robbery and crime. In the midst of this hopelessness and darkness, pray that the faithful remnant church get supernatural provision and strength to keep praying, evangelizing, discipling the new believers and planting new churches."
Despite the chaos, Soto says, there is hope.
Some faith-based ministries have established posts along the Colombian-Venezuelan border to assist refugees. Others are working with locals on the ground to equip people with resources during the uncertainty.
Families are walking from #Venezuela to Colombia in search of hope and healing. Learn how you can provide physical help through our medical care teams. https://t.co/rMH08XvIPW pic.twitter.com/3nXciVcbSK— Samaritan's Purse (@SamaritansPurse) April 30, 2019
Right now, you can send urgent, lifesaving supplies to someone starving in Venezuela. Your $25 will provide one person with several weeks' worth of emergency food plus a hygiene kit, helping to save a life. Give today: https://t.co/LZHxlJ8FGM— World Help (@world_help) May 1, 2019
"The Lord has promised us a great revival and the end of this communist regime. Pray for the interim President Juan Guaido who is an extraordinary young politicians who was unknown a few months ago but has demonstrated incredible leadership, wisdom and courage. Pray that the next government will be able by God's grace to make this country better than it was before."
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