MARGARITA, Venezuela - A "Toma" is a "taking" in Venezuela, a term used for an invasion of a territory. Paul and Delia Lozuk have used this strategy for evangelism on Margarita Island, invading the area for Christ as a rescue mission. A man named Omo came out of this "toma" on Margarita.
On a Friday afternoon, the missions team divided into groups began going door-to-door to share with those who wanted to hear the word of God. A man answered at the first door. They told him the plan of salvation and he gave his life to Jesus.
As they were leaving the house, they looked to the left and saw Omo sitting under a tree, so they stopped to talk to him.
"We introduced ourselves and gave Omo the plan of salvation and he accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior," said Delia Lozuk, co-coordinator of the Venezuelan Evangelism Project.
The Venezuelan Evangelism Project, coordinated through Texas Baptists Partnership Missions Ministry, involved a group of 10 members from Ash Creek Baptist Church in Azle, Texas. The team, led by Paul and Delia Lozuk, shared the gospel in Margarita, Venezuela.
After Omo accepted Jesus, he began to tell the women that his car had been stolen a few months ago, his wife had just asked him to leave the house and now he was living with his mom.
"I asked him if he would allow me to pray for him. I placed my hand on his chest and prayed for him. Afterwards, he sighed a huge sigh of relief. He even promised us that he would go to church on Sunday," said Delia.
Sunday arrived and Delia received a phone call from the local church saying that Omo never arrived at church. She was soon informed that Omo had passed away early Saturday morning.
"God interceded for Omo just in time. Omo had a change on his face the moment he accepted Jesus and people say that he looked at peace as they laid him to rest," said Delia.
"We remember the 'rocky' start with the group of 10 that came to Margarita, but out of that trip came many changed lives not only in Margarita, but also in Azle, and other amazing things we never imagined," said Paul Lozuk, co-coordinator for the Venezuela Evangelism Project.
Paul and Delia have been missionaries in Venezuela since 2011. Since then, they have worked in 13 out of the 21 Venezuelan states and have produced several week-long evangelistic efforts, such as: the Amazon in 2012 (474 professions of faith), Anzoategui in 2012 (9,156 professions of faith) and the Island of Margarita in 2013 (748 professions of faith).
A few months before the group was set to depart, Wesley Shotwell, pastor of Ash Creek Baptist Church, invited Paul and Delia to spend five days with their church ministering to their young children, as well as speaking at their Sunday services explaining their work in Venezuela and what God has called them to do with their lives.
"We got to know them so well and were able to share much of what God had placed on our hearts about Venezuela," said Paul.
One of the main mission projects that the Lozuks coordinate, along with door-to-door evangelism, is the purchase and distribution of water filters and the financing of construction sites for new churches to be formed.
A few weeks before the trip, the group was informed that they were in desperate need of 2,000 five-gallon buckets in Venezuela to use with the remaining 950 ceramic water filters donated by the Texas Baptist Men for the trip.
"We had no money and after searching for months, we could not find any buckets in Venezuela to help with the work that needed to be done," said Paul. "But we went ahead on faith and set the dates with the local Venezuelan pastors in four different locations to provide the necessary buckets and filters for the project."
One week before the deadline, a Sunday School class at Ash Creek Baptist Church contacted Paul and informed him that they had raised an offering of $2,385 to make it available to them for necessary purchases for the trip. Along with the money, a company called Graveplast in Valencia contacted Paul and told him that much to their surprise, they had found 2,000 buckets with lids they could purchase for their project.
The money donated by the church not only was enough to purchase the 2,000 buckets, but was also enough to pay for trucks to transport the buckets to their destinations.
"God used this group from Azle in a variety of astounding ways," said Paul. "God is so good."
Another mission project the group participated in was helping to build a church in the city of La Guardia on Margarita Island. While there, they saw a church service being held in a man's backyard. This man also ran an automobile body shop in his backyard. The group from Azle named the new church the Auto Body Shop Church.
Paul and Delia took four members from the group to the furthest part of the island to a small fishing village called Boca de Pozo. Here, the Baptist pastor informed them the people in the town were idol worshipers and would not listen to them.
"Delia and I worked for four hours door-to-door with the group who spoke no Spanish," said Paul. "After we were done, 69 people gave their lives to Christ."
The Lozuks came back later to deliver Bibles to those people and much to their amazement, 10 more people had given their lives to Jesus. On their final visit their before returning home, two more people had accepted Jesus into their lives.
"The pastor was astounded, as were we," said Paul. "God did the work, we just believed and showed up with a group of people that wanted to make a difference in Margarita."
In December 2013, Texas Baptists concluded a very successful six-year partnership with the Venezuela Baptist Convention, according to Steve Seaberry, director of Texas Partnerships. During the six years of this ministry partnership, the combined efforts of Texas Baptists and Venezuela Baptists resulted in nearly 123,000 witnessing encounters and 39,153 professions of faith. During the 2013 Venezuela Evangelism Project, the Ash Creek Baptist Church (Azle) and the Waves of Faith Church (Ft. Worth) served on Margarita Island. "We are so grateful for their commitment of time, energy and resources to minister alongside fellow Baptists from Venezuela. They were able to experience God in amazing ways during the 6 days that they shared their faith in Christ in the towns and villages of Margarita Island," Seaberry said.