Promoting peace in Venezuela

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The Salvation Army is working to bring peace amid the ongoing riots in Venezuela.

Protests first surfaced in early February, evolving into a violent crisis that put the country in turmoil.

According to CNN, the protesters—most of whom are students—are demanding “better security, an end to goods shortages and protected freedom of speech” from the government. Eighteen people are dead and hundreds injured, while more than 1,000 were arrested.

The Salvation Army response started with corps officers visiting local hospitals to pray for the wounded, while providing necessities like water bottles, toothbrushes and toothpaste. When the corps’ vehicle was damaged, the high cost of car parts and repairs left them unable to fix it and continue their visits.

The crowds of demonstrators blocked roads to get to the corps and its children’s home, making it hard for people to attend its services.

To work around this, the Simón Bolívar Corps in Venezuela hosted open-air services to preach for peace and reconciliation between both sides, and is receiving good response for its work in the community.

However, due to the lack of goods and the blockades, corps are low on food, supplies and donations. Essentials like toilet paper and soap are hard to find and expensive.

“The children’s home situation is especially worrisome because donors have difficulty bringing donations because demonstrations impede traffic,” said a Venezuelan corps officer, who asked that he not be named. “Supplies are estimated to last for 10 days, and children are unable to attend their schools, which were providing them with meals. We need help.”

One corps officer was chased by an armed group of rioters. He escaped unharmed after hiding in a car shop.

“Thanks to God, they did not find me,” he said. “Thank you for your prayers.”

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Social and disaster services in close examination

Register now for the National Social Services and Disaster Management Conference

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Looking toward The Salvation Army’s 150th anniversary in July 2015, the

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