TBM volunteers train indigenous missionaries from Venezuela

Missionary Paul Lozuk trains residents of Pavoni, a Curipaco Indian community near the Orinoco River in Venezuela, how to use water purification filters Texas Baptist Men provided. (FILE PHOTO / Courtesy of Paul Lozuk)

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SEGUIN—Texas Baptist Men water ministry volunteers taught 11 indigenous missionaries from Venezuela how to drill water wells and maintain a simple drilling rig.

tbm harold patterson venezuela425Harold Patterson of Scroggins, vice president for the Texas Baptist Men water ministry, teaches missionaries from Venezuela how to drill a well. (PHOTOS / Paul Lozuk)At the Everything Jesus Ranch near Seguin, the TBM volunteers also taught the Venezuelans first aid, hygiene, sanitation, and how to filter and purify water.

After drilling two bore holes and hitting rock, the team moved to another part of the ranch, where they successfully drilled a 45-foot water well and poured a concrete pad around the casing.

“We let the Venezuelan group take it on, and I’m very confident they can go back home and drill wells now,” said Harold Patterson of Scroggins, vice president for TBM water ministries.

“They’re a wonderful group of young men and women,” he added, noting the Venezuelan missionaries include engineers, a college professor, pastors and students.

The 11 missionaries—enlisted by Paul Lozuk, who grew up as the child of missionary parents in Venezuela and returned there several years ago—are halfway through six months of training in the United States.

tbm pouring concrete pad425Indigenous missionaries from Venezuela pour a concrete pad around a well they drilled on a Christian ranch near Seguin. Harold Patterson of Scroggins, vice president for the Texas Baptist Men water ministry, taught the Venezuelans how to drill wells and maintain a drilling rig. (PHOTO / Grace Gaddy)In addition to learning how to provide pure water sources, the missionaries are learning gardening, beekeeping, poultry farming and construction techniques in order to become self-sustaining church starters.

“The goal is teams of missionaries able to live basically off the land with minimum support from other sources,” Lozuk explained. “This could remove a major barrier that has prevented more missionaries from being sent out to places where people have never heard the gospel.”

When the 11 missionaries complete their training in Texas, they will return to Venezuela to teach other missionary teams what they learned, he said. Within seven years, Lozuk hopes to develop 35 training centers throughout Venezuela to equip self-sustaining missionary church starters.

“The ultimate goal is to plant dozens of new churches that will grow and plant more churches over the next few years in Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil and other countries in South and Central America,” he said.

TBM began work with Lozuk about three years ago, teaching people in remote areas how to purify river water with a filtration system. Last year, TBM provided 1,500 filters for distribution in Venezuela.

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