Our Address: 59 E. 1300 North, Orem, UT 84057
As many people know, the political situation in Venezuela has been tenuous for years. Former President Hugo Chavez created a system that strongly entrenched his socialist party as the major political force in the country, and he, his successor, and many others involved in the party have worked to maintain that power. Venezuela, however, remains a democratic country, so there are opposition parties and candidates seeking to change the direction of the country.
My friend, Gabriel, with whom I served as a Mormon missionary in Venezuela in the early 2000s, is one of the people who has tried to politically stand up to the Chavez regime. Gabriel loves his native Venezuela and has done his part by running for office and assisting in political campaigns against the party of Chavez. As a result of his openly taking a stand against the politics of this party, he has been ridiculed, persecuted, and physically attacked. Not to go into too much detail, but he has had his home searched by the National Guard, his brother was kidnapped by men who mistook him for Gabriel, he was threatened by two men who - when they couldn’t catch him – broke his four-year-old son’s arm while he watched, and he has been beaten and he and his family have been threatened at gunpoint.
Gabriel is being patient as the asylum process takes time, but the stress and strain on his wife and sons has been tremendous. One of his sons was hospitalized recently with dengue fever, leaving his wife to scramble for what to do to help him heal and how to take care of the other three. This stress increased when Gabriel’s father-in-law died suddenly Nov. 18, 2013.
The separation has taken its toll on his family, and he and his wife have made the hard decision for her and the boys to come to Utah and begin making their life in the United States. We have received many wonderful donations of clothing, furniture and furnishings, such that Gabriel and his family have many of the things they need as they start their new life. They do not, however, have the funds necessary to purchase flights and pay for other things they need to get settled.
For this reason, Crystal and I have set up a fundraiser to help this wonderful family. I have put information at the top of this post for how to donate. If you have any questions or want more information, please contact Crystal or myself.