September 2022: From Witchcraft to Worker for Christ
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Written by Sarah Corson, SIFAT Co-founder
In 1994, SIFAT began training Christian workers at El Renuevo in Venezuela. Several years later, we had to close it because of terrorists in nearby Colombia, who had begun coming into Venezuela and kidnaping Americans for ransom.
This summer, Yurima Alvarez, one of our El Renuevo graduates, came to SIFAT to teach youth during our Learn & Serve Summer Experience and to learn more technologies to help her people during this difficult time in Venezuela. She brought us news from a number of SIFAT’s graduates from those years we worked in Venezuela. Yurima encouraged us, telling us that the SIFAT training was still going on in different areas of Venezuela, as our graduates with whom we had lost contact were still training others using the skills and knowledge that they learned more than 25 years ago. One especially caught my attention.
“Remember Oscar?” she asked. We could never forget Oscar! He was from the Yanomami, deep in the jungles bordering the Orinoco River. His tribe still dressed in the ancient loin cloth, but he got clothes like we wear to come to the SIFAT training sessions. They were still hunter-gatherers and did not know how to farm. Their tribe was in danger of dying out because their hunting and fishing territory was becoming smaller and smaller as homesteaders were pushing into the area. The Orinoco River was becoming polluted from the oil drilling companies.