Following the conference in Washington DC (see previous article), three participants from Venezuala visited UTS together with David Stewart (UTS Class of '85), national messiah to Venezuela. These distinguished guests were welcomed by Dr. Shimmyo and were later entertained at the Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck. Pastor Julio Millan is the President of the Committee for the Defense of Religious Freedom in Venezuela; Euclides Fouget-Borregales is a National Deputy; and Dr. Brigido Barrios is an influential lawyer. They all exhibited courage in accepting the invitation to attend the conference as the level of persecution against unificationists in Caracas has been intense. On the day on which they received their visas, one Venezuelan member was picked up by the police, who already had the names of these three men, and was interrogated for several hours. After David and his guests returned to Caracas following the conference and their visit to UTS, he sent the following letter of thanks:
Dear Dr. Shimmyo,
Thank you very much for the wonderful hospitality that our Venezuelan group enjoyed at UTS. I was not expecting such "red carpet" treatment, but it was fully appreciated. UTS made an excellent impression on our guests. They are now all working with us in some way or other. There was possibly a good result from our visit to the USA. The young Minister of Religion who revoked our registration and was apparently responsible for much of the recent persecution, was sacked soon after we returned. We published and circulated the speech that Pastor Millan gave in the opening session at the conference in DC, which criticized the Minister very strongly. After the speech was circulated all over the country, the minister called Pastor Millan repeatedly to make an appointment but he was fired a few days later. He later complained that the participants in the ICRF conference had exposed Venezuela's problems on the international scene.
Generally our work with freedom of religion is making waves. Through Dr. Barrios we were able to have a meeting with the entire leadership of the Adventist Church for the Caribbean, Central America and the northern cone nations of South America while they were having a convention in Caracas.
Again many thanks. IFL