Dave, a pastor, and LuzMaria, a deaconess, are St. Michael’s supported missionaries in Venezuela. They have developed a Lutheran mission school in Western Venezuela in LaCaramuca, a very poor area. The pre school there provides nutritious meals and cooperates with local health agencies. In addition to the school, they lead worship services on Sunday. This week they were subjected to persecution and a horrific robbery. Please pray for our missionaries in Venezuela. This is their story:

“Before sunrise yesterday, five men armed with pistols and knives forced their way into our home. First they threw poisoned chicken over the wall to kill our dogs (our remaining cat ate of the poisoned meat and died, too). I felt worse about this later when we learned they poisoned all the dogs on our block to eliminate any alarms. It soon became clear that we were not the random target of desperate people seeking money. Several times they threatened to torture and kill me. Ostensibly they wanted to know where I kept my stash of U.S. dollars (which does not exist). But underlying that motive was a desire to intimidate and humiliate me on a personal level. After they had gathered all the money and items of value that we had in the house, they bound, gagged and blindfolded me. Before they left, at least one of them urinated on my alb. Based on these actions and many of their remarks, I have to say that this was not simply a robbery, but an expression of hatred and contempt for our mission and what it represents. Thanks be to God that, although we lost some material possessions, we now are safe and sound (although now we are taking additional measures to secure our home). Later that afternoon we observed All Saints Day in the Divine Service. I had a gun pointed to my head and was asked, “Are you prepared to die?” By the grace of God I was able to answer, “Yes”. For that reason, our text, Revelation 7:2-17, was especially meaningful: These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sits on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”  –Dave Ernst