Monday, July 24, 2006

The Work of Pastor Cheo Gomez

Drive as far as you can go in the Bolivar State in Venezuela before entering the Gran Savanna, stop in Tumeremo and meet pastor Cheo and Monica Gomez. You will be impressed with their passion for Christ, effectiveness in reaching the lost and love for God's people. You will immediately fall in love with this wonderful couple and their children. You will discover one of the great heroes of the faith, Cheo's mother (pictured with her beautiful parrot). You will visit the Pan de Vida (Bread of Life) United Methodist Church and take a tour of the surrounding communites where Pastor Cheo has planted additional mission congregations in Guasipati and Chuponal.

As you talk to Pastor Cheo, you will discover his passion for eduaction as well as the Gospel. He is a student in the Wesley Seminary of Venezuela in Barquisemeto. He travels by overnight bus to the seminary 5 times a year - an 18 hour ride each way. He is also in the process of building a Christian School in Tumeremo. He is praying for a partner US congregation who will work with him in the constrcution of the school and the churches in the surrounding communities.

As you get to know this family, you will discover one of the reasons we are so passionate about the work in Venezuela. They are attractive, intelligent, talented, passionate, faithful people serving in very difficult circumstances. There is no predictable salary. They are isolated in a frontier town. They serve with no expectation of security or pension. Yet they give and serve and sacrifice joyfully. Their faith is contagious.

Not too long ago the Tucker First UMC led by Pastor Dr. Tom Pilgrim, sent a mission team to Tumeremo to work with Pastor Cheo (See previous post). They fell in love with this pastor, his family and the people of Pan de Vida UMC.

Would you like to help? There is plenty of opportunity and you can make a difference. See the face of Christ and follow the will of God. God may just be calling you to Venezuela. Contact us if you desire more information: We welcome your inquiries.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Update from Jon and Jeanne Herrin in Venezuela


It was a time of going, doing, learning and being. We began the month with a week of seminary. Jonathan Morton (presently of Mexico) and Rev. Donna Golf (of McEachern UMC in the Atlanta area) were our professors for the week. We had about 58 pastors and church leaders present for seminary, learning about Christian Ethics and the Historical Books of the Old Testament. Rev. David Cosby (OMS/MSUM missionary) was with us as well for the week. As usual, we all had a wonderful time of fellowshipping together during the week.

We also received THREE mission/work teams during June:

1) Chuck McElroy brought a team of 10 from Mount Pisgah UMC in Alpharetta. They came to work towards finishing the sanctuary at Lugar Altisimo UMC in La Concordia (just outside of Barquisimeto.) They were able to lay the foundation and build the walls for a storage room. Through their generosity and encouragement, Lugar Altisimo will be done this summer!!!

2) Donna Golf and Janet Huffman brought a team of 12 to work with Pastor Juvenal Perez and his congregation in Punto Fijo. Their team worked tirelessly in the heat of that area towards the completion of their sanctuary. Not only did they work in construction, but they also joined the church there in evangelical outreach. They participated in a children's march/crusade during which they shared tracts with the promises of God; provided preaching moments; and presented the Jesus Film (in Spanish!) for children and youth. They were able to celebrate as a number of people--children, youth and adults--gave their lives to Christ.

3) You think only big churches in big cities send mission teams??? Cool Springs UMC near Clarkesville, GA, sent a team of three down to Venezuela the last week of June. Beatrice, Kasey and Isaac came to renovate a day-care center! Not only did this team completely re-paint the outside of a day-care center run by Pastor Yolanda of La Concordia, they also went on to help mix concrete and pour foundations at the Lugar Altisimo church...and spend two mornings at another daycare center just loving on children!! They brought over 500 pairs of glasses (donated by the Lion's Club!!) and some 40 pairs of sandals...and a suitcase full of toys for the children. We can assure you...BIG things CAN come in small packages!!

All three of our June teams did a FANTASTIC job of sharing the love of God with the people of Venezuela!! THANK YOU to these three churches for reaching out to touch Venezuela in this way!
One "school" year, that is!! The children have finished their first year of school in Venezuela, and they have done great! They have surmounted incredible odds, not the least of which was the language situation. All three children can now help us in translation...they read Spanish...speak Spanish...sing Spanish. And, all three have done very well academically!! We are SOOOO proud of them.
Do pray about our school situation for next year. While our children would like to stay in school, recent education laws have forced all private schools to raise their teachers' salaries 40% for the coming year...but have limited their tuition increases to only 15%. You can do the math and see where that puts most of the smaller schools like the one our children attend. A number of private schools have already closed. Please pray that we'll have the best place for our children for the coming year....
Thank you SO very much! We know that if it were not for your support--prayers, financial gifts, notes of encouragement, phone calls--we could not stay here and be a part of what God is doing in Venezuela. Thank you for reaching beyond the world you live in to touch "the ends of the earth."

Jon and Jeanne Herrin, Jesse, Megan, Andrew

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

And More fom Punto Fijo

Rev. Donna Goff, Minister of Missions at McEachern Memorial United Methodist Church in Marietta, Georgia, just reeturned from a week of mission work in Punto Fijo, Venezuela. This trip was almost immediately on the heels of a week of teaching "Historical Books" at the Wesley Seminary of Venezuela. Here is her short report on her return from her most recent trip to Venezuela:

Well this has been a fast month for sure with 2 trips to Vz and Annual Conference. I wanted to reflect a few thoughts while they are still fresh in my mind.

I really enjoyed the experience though I felt handicapped not being able to speak Spanish. Maybe that is motivation to learn more. Teaching 12 books in one week was a great challenge but I did my best. The students are really open and hungary for their education and that was refreshing. Raul did a great job translating and Samuel was so helpful with the Herrins to us. We enjoyed getting to know the family and taking the kids some American treats. They have a great family. I would be open to doing that again. Even though I was not up to where I wanted to be in my rehab, I hope to continue to strengthen the foot and leg doing physcial therapy.

Punto Fijo.
Warren, I knew when we asked Allen R. to come, it would have the potential to be explosive. He is at heart a iternant evangelist. He and Pastor Juvenal hit it off immediately. Juvenal asked me to bring him back soon. It was good for me to be there because I felt God was able to enlarge my vision of McEachern's role in Punto Fijo. The Jesus film for the children was quite successful. We had probably 25-30 old elementary kids come forward to accept Christ. On Sunday afternoon we had the March. They had a train like part of a circus with probably 100 kids in it, with police escort. We handed out 1500 tracts. We know 5-6 people prayed along the streets and in the crowd to accept Christ. That night we did the Jesus film but it was mostly the congregation there. Allen preached Mon-Wed every night on a platform outside beside the street. We feel grateful at 20-25 adults accepted Christ. We took Bibles and were able to give them to them and Pastor Nohely took names and got followup information. Out team was greatly moved by seeing people come to Christ in this way.

We are processing this week and evaluating how we can support Juvenal and his ministry. He has quite a vision. He had worked a lot on the building since we had been there before. He has proven a very faithful steward of God's resources. We pray that McEachern can also be faithful to what God is calling us to do. I could almost see Allen doing a series of revivals in Vz.

We are again grateful to be a part of what God is doing in Venezuela. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Serving Christ with you.

Donna Goff