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Utahn in Venezuelan prison gets communication from Orrin Hatch

RIVERTON – A Utah man stuck in a Venezuelan prison is finally able to get some communication from Utah lawmakers.  Senator Orrin Hatch was allowed to have a letter delivered to Joshua Holt on Friday.

Normally, officials with the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela have to request to meet with Joshua Holt weeks in advance.  According to Holt’s mother, Laurie, those requests are frequently ignored.  However, last Friday, they were reportedly given permission without much advanced warning.  She says, “They were just told that day that they could see him that morning.”

Embassy officials handed Holt a letter from Utah’s senior senator.  It reads…

Dear Joshua and Thamy,

 

As the Savior said in Matthew 21:21, “If ye have faith, and doubt not,… if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.” I included this quote in my book Higher Laws to show the difference between belief and faith, something that is, as I describe, “dynamic…[something that] compels us to do something about our belief.”

 

I think about Jesus’s words as I write you both today. In particular, I think about the remarkable faith you have both demonstrated during these unthinkable two years. I think about your parents, whose pain and suffering I share, as we all pray and work tirelessly for your freedom.

 

Please do not give up. I ask that you stand strong in your faith as we continue to pray on your behalf. I am confident that this dark chapter will close and you will soon be reunited with your family.

 

I look forward to the day that I can pray alongside you both as we give thanks to God for having moved this mountain for us.

 

You are in my heart, just as you are in my prayers.

 

Laurie Holt was relieved to see a picture of her son holding the letter.  “In this picture, he actually looked a lot better.  I felt like he looked not so sickly,” she says, adding, “It is a relief, but, it’s also sad because that means he’s adjusting to the way of living there and prison life.  It still hurts.  It breaks your heart.”

Holt believes the recent pressure being applied by the U.S. Embassy on the Venezuelan government is a positive thing.  “I think they’re doing better now than they have been before.  I feel like some of the sanctions they put on Venezuela were actually hurting Josh,” she says.  Officials with the embassy have recently said talks between the two governments are essentially blocked until Holt is released.

(Photo Credit: Senator Orrin Hatch’s office)