Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Joy of Discovery

We just returned from 16 days in Venezuela. What a great trip! One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the ministry there through the eyes of Doug and Kathleen Crosby (pictured left). Doug and Kathleen spent 11 of the 16 days with us in Barquisimeto, Maracay, Colonia Tovar, Maiquetia, and Punto Fijo. This was their first trip to Venezuela.

The Crosby's have been close friends of the Lathem's for over 15 years. They were members of Warren's last pastorate and spent 2 1/2 years helping plant the Coal Mountain UMC in Forsyth County Georgia. They now split their time between Roswell , GA and Fort Myers, FL.

Doug and Kathleen founded and managed Flying Fotos for many years before retiring and turning the business over to their son, Jason. They now advise Jason and work in the their family business.

What a joy it was for us to see the excitement build in them for the work in Venezuela. They met many of the pastors of over 25 churches and missions we have established there. They participated in conferences, meetings, worship services and fun activities. They met our missionaries, spoke to several of our seminary students, spent time with a number of our lay leaders, made aerial photos of our prospective seminary site, and much more.

On the return flight yesterday, they said, "When are we going back?" I proposed January when Bishop Lindsey Davis will be teaching in the seminary and when we hope to have our organizing annual conference. We'll see...

In the meantime, the work progresses at a remarkable rate inspite of all the difficulties and challenges. God is faithful. The United Methodist of Venezuela is growing, the seminary is making a great difference in the life of the UMC of Venezuela, the pastors are planting new congregations, the construction of several facilities is progressing and much more. Please pray for the work. Pray about how you can help.

We praise God for the opportunity to work with the churches in reaching the lost of Venezuela. It is one of the most meaningful ministry experiences of our lives. Gloria a Dios.

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