Saturday, March 18, 2006

Wesley Seminary, March 2006

Wesley Seminary of Venezuela began it's March session on Monday, March 13 at 2:00 pm with 65 students - a record enrollment! We enrolled ten new students, most of whom are already pastors or lay preachers. The 4 credit hour course was "Church Administration in the Mission Church," Dr. Warren Lathem, Professor. While we are most grateful for how the seminary has grown in just over three years, we have now outgrown our one available classroom at the Assembly of God Bible Institute in Barquisimeto. We must move quickly to find a new home, staying in the inadequate home until God opens the door for a new site. A church in North Georgia has committed a large sum to help with a new location and we are eagerly awaiting that funding.

We also have been blessed with one of our students and UMC Mission Pastors who has just joined the staff of the Venezuelan Ministry of Higher Education. What a blessing from God! He will guide our application for accreditation by the Venezuelan government. With his guidance, we hope for a rapid approval. In the meantime, we are operating under the umbrella of the Methodist Seminary in Costa Rica.

One of the great joys of seminary week is spending time with our UMC pastors and students. Over half of the class is affliated with the UMC. Each time we learn about one or more pastors starting a new mission to some community in which there is currently no Christian witness. God has blessed this missionary conference with a missionary zeal that is bearing great fruit for Christ in Venezuela.

A highlight of the week was the unsolicited testimony of Issac Brita, a non-Methodist, but very devoted student and pastor. He shared how attending the seminary had changed his life and ministry, calling attention to three particular courses which had profound impact on him as well as the three professors. As a result, he resigned the staff of a large church and has started a new mission congregation targeting young adults. Pray for Issac and this brand new church.

Additionally, we were blessed this week with the visit of a potential missionary from Costa Rica. Bernie spent the week getting to know the pastors and taking about the possibilites that God may be opening for him in Venezuela. We have been praying for more labors in this rich harvest field and Bernie may be another answer to prayer. Pray for Bernie, the church in Costa Rica and the leaders in Venezuela as they (we) all atempt to discern God's will.

By the way, contact us if you would like to know more about the Seminary or the work of the UMC in Venezuela. We need many prayer partners and financial supporters. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated.

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