Saturday, October 15, 2005

NTM: we want to stay so we can help

"Since 1946, New Tribes has served Venezuela's indigenous communities through translation, church planting, literacy, humanitarian aid, and community development projects, almost entirely in the country's western-central Amazonas state, which borders Colombia.

"NTM works with twelve ethnic groups in Venezuela, nine with established churches, and has completed five Bible translations. Four other translations are in progress.

"Thirty of the 160 NTM missionaries in the country are Venezuelan nationals."

NTM statement: "'We are confident that President Chavez wants the best for the people of Venezuela. New Tribes Mission considers it a privilege to have served the indigenous people of Venezuela for the past 59 years. We deeply desire to be able to continue serving them.'"

"Specifically addressing Chavez's accusations, she said, 'Any kind of air travel we do, we always do within the guidelines of what the government allows. We always file reports.' On the lavish lifestyle issue she said, '(The missionaries) live in homes that make it possible for them to continue the work that they do. The homes that they live in are very simple.'

"In Venezuela as in every area where NTM ministers, 'our goal is to help and to eventually work ourselves out of a job,' Zelenak said. 'As the church is established and the Bible is translated, they don't need us any more. Until that time, we want to stay so we can help them.'"

"Samuel Olson, president of the Evangelical Council of Venezuela," cited "NTM's many endeavors among Venezuela's indigenous people: building health units and dispensaries, schools where children are taught academics in their own indigenous languages by indigenous teachers.

"In addition, the group has planted churches with indigenous leadership. At NTM's Bible institute, Venezuelans have become involved in reaching unreached groups within the nation's borders." ...

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