A handcrafted boat offers sustenance, sustainability and connection to a Venezuela community
A fishing boat at the San Luis Corps in Maracaibo, Venezuela, allows us to fish and sell the catch to support local ministry. It is “Pesca Milagrosa” (Miraculous Fishing).
This was a program that no one imagined our corps would be able to put together. It impacted our corps members and people in the community in that they would now have the opportunity to work for The Salvation Army instead of other companies.
The program has a fishing team of four sailors, one captain and me, in conjunction with The Salvation Army Venezuela Regional Coordinator Lt. Juan De Dios Soteldo and The Salvation Army Latin America North Territory’s funding council.
We handcrafted the fishing boat using resin, fiberglass, thinner and brushes, among other building materials. Team members, who are paid according to their fishing production, receive one to two days off per week, using those days to repair fishing nets and complete boat maintenance.
The goal is to have nets in a variety of measurements so we can work with different types of fish, whether they are small or big. The worth of the fish is determined by its size.
Fish caught through the program are sold to a fish processing facility, and every team member can take fish home. Local families needing food receive fish at a more affordable price or for free based on their circumstances.
It helps our corps and community members because it offers job opportunities so they are able to sustain and maintain their household necessities, and it supports The Salvation Army’s efforts in the Venezuela region so it can be self-sufficient.
The outreach opportunities have also benefitted the mission of the corps. It helps us have more contact with people in our community to share the Word of God. This is important because it is at the core of what our founder wanted for the Army.
It has resulted in a higher corps attendance as families of the fishermen working for “Pesca Milagrosa” started coming to services.
The program is being maintained and is progressing. We’ve been able to help others and learn more about the community and this field of work.
Everything accomplished so far has been with just one boat.
We hope that in the near future we can have two boats finished to have more of an impact on the community and The Salvation Army in the self-sustainability of Venezuela and our territory. We are working so that we can keep fishing and continue to do so for many years to come.
With reporting by Vivian Lopez