Tens of thousands of residents in West Venezuela were recipients of a weeklong mass outreach effort throughout the region. Approximately 35,000 Adventists took off a week from work and school to perform acts of community service. The regional project was part of the Church's "Cerca De Ti" or "Close to You" Initiative.
Outreach efforts included blood donation drives, dental clinics, face painting for children, canvasing and city beautification efforts. According to organizers, 48,000 pounds, or 22,000 kilos of trash was collected throughout transportation terminals and city squares. Further, more than 2,000 trees were planted throughout 56 locations in West Venezuela. But the acts of kindness didn't stop there. More than 10,000 people visited 20,000 communities, organized 80 sporting events and distributed 9,000 items of clothing.
The president of the Church's West Venezuela territory, Julio Palacio was excited to illustrate how God's love provides hope, even in times of despair. Palacio said, "This 'Close to You' activity reminds us of Jesus' ministry of forgiveness and healing. He loves everyone the same just as John 3:16 says, and He will soon return for us." [photo: West Venezuela Union Mission]