VENEZUELA—There are families in various parts of the world who face illness and excessive poverty. Brethren, because of illnesses or conflict in their countries, are faced with unexpected widowhood. Many need help in various ways.
The "My Overseas Family" project came about when, during a visit to Venezuela, the Welfare Department discovered that many brethren there did not have the basics with which to survive due to the country's political regime. Families lived on $10 a month and some didn’t have even that.
During a visit to Venezuela, I spoke with Sister Justina. She is a pioneer of the Reform Movement in Venezuela and is 84 years old. As our conversation ensued, I asked her if she ate every day. She answered, "No, brother. It is not always possible." So I asked, "When you don't have what to eat, what do you do?" She said, "When there is nothing to eat, I drink a little water."
Of course, this experience moved us profoundly, and we knew something had to be done. We thought of establishing a source of income as we did with the bakery in Haiti, for example, but we found that due to the rampant inflation this would be impossible. So, we created support for these brethren through "sponsors"—church members around the world.
After a financial analysis, we found that $35/month would be enough to cover the basics for a family of up to 5 people. We registered these families (a total of 35 families) and searched for sponsors to aid them. For over a year families from around the world have been supporting our brethren in Venezuela. Thanks to the project and its sponsors, amid the great crisis in the country, our brethren are supplied.
One of the families being helped is that of Cipario Andres Maurera Siva and Virginia del Carmen Siba del Maurera . At 73 and 67, Cipario and Virginia live in Cruz Paredes, Venezuela, where they provide for their daughter and six grandchildren. The family of nine was having to make ends meet on the equivalent of $15 per month. Cipario and Virginia make pastries to sell as a source of income. Now, with the help of their overseas sponsor family, Cipario and Virginia are able to supply food and the basics for their family.
Due to the success of this project in Venezuela, we have extended it to the world. We have already helped a family in Cuba and several families in Africa: especially refugees in Congo, but also in Kenya and Malawi. Some are refugees escaping the horrors taking place in their country, others are ill, elderly, widowed, and left with no source of income.
This project continues to grow. If you are interested in participating and sponsoring a family in need for just $35 a month, please get in touch with the Welfare Department Leader, Brother Devai at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
May God bless you and your generosity.