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Venezuela District Council 59
   DIOCESAN Bishop Brian T. Hamilton  

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Bishop Brian T. Hamilton was born in Columbus, Ohio. After his family relocated from London, Ohio to Troy, Ohio, they became members of the Church of Jesus Family in Piqua, Ohio. In 1995, he accepted his call to the ministry and is an ordained Elder of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. Bishop Hamilton was passed the mantle from Suffragan Bishop Howard Collier in September 2004. He is the current pastor and shepherd of Transformed Life Church formerly named Church of Jesus.

About the Country and Its Unique Characteristics and Challenges:
Venezuela is a predominantly Spanish-speaking country, whose population is approximately 32 million.
While CHAVEZ was in power, more than one million predominantly middle- and upper-class
Venezuelans are estimated to have emigrated. The brain drain is attributed to a repressive political
system, lack of economic opportunities, steep inflation, a high crime rate, and corruption. Thousands of
oil engineers emigrated to Canada, Colombia, and the United States following CHAVEZ's firing of over
20,000 employees of the state-owned petroleum company during a 2002-03 oil strike. Additionally,
thousands of Venezuelans of European descent have taken up residence in their ancestral homelands.
Nevertheless, Venezuela has attracted hundreds of thousands of immigrants from South America and
southern Europe because of its lenient migration policy and the availability of education and health
care. Venezuela also has been a fairly accommodating host to Colombian refugees, numbering about
170,000 as of year-end 2016. However, since 2014, falling oil prices have driven a major economic
crisis that has pushed Venezuelans from all walks of life to migrate or to seek asylum abroad to escape
severe shortages of food, water, and medicine; soaring inflation; unemployment; and violence.
Missions dedicated to education, nutrition, healthcare, and sanitation were funded through petroleum
revenues. The sustainability of this progress remains questionable. However, the continuation of
these social programs depends on the prosperity of Venezuela's oil industry.
The Country is predominantly 95% Roman Catholic, 4% Protestant, and 1% Indigenous religions. Therefore,
the place of an Apostolic Dioceses has been instrumental in teaching and training pastors in the
Apostolic doctrine, and to provide continued social, economic, healthcare projects.

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