Monday, February 11, 2008

Great Blessings In Venezuela!

What a great time in Venezuela! Pictured here is the January Seminary Class and some of the US team present for the week. Jane is the one in pink on the front. Behind her is Dr. Michael Cavin, District Superintendent of the Northwest District, North Georgia Conference of the UMC. I am seated with the walking stick in hand. To my left is Obispo Juvenal Perez, bishop of the United Methodist Church of Venezuela. To his left is Kelly Falany, student at Asbury Theological Seminary and potential mission candidate for Venezuela. Left of Kelly is Dr. Jim Cantrell, DS of the Atlanta Decatur Oxford District and to his left is Steven Brumbelow, also a student at Asbury.

Drs. Cantrell, Cavin and Lathem taught a seminary course on Sacraments and Rituals. Over 65 students were in attendance. Some even had to share a chair since we are simply out of room . We must have our own home!

Earlier in the week, Dr. Steve Wood taught a course on Inductive Preaching. Steve is the Senior Minister of Mount Pisgah UMC in Alpharetta and is very supportive of the seminary. Mount Pisgah has been a critical partner in the work in Venezuela and we so appreciate Dr. Woods' continued support.

Steve was accompanied to Venezuela by Dan Dunn, PhD. student at Asbury Seminary and Dean of Students of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela. Dr. Wood and Rev. Dunn were only able to spend Sunday night through Wednesday night in Venezuela due to Steve's exhausting work schedule at Mount Pisgah. Thanks to Dan for escorting Steve safely.

Other events of the week included Drs. Cavin, Cantrell and Lathem preaching in 5 different churches. More than 2 dozen persons made a commitment to Christ in these services and the congregations were encouraged in their work. However, as usual, we received far more than we gave.

Additionally, we visited for a second time a location we hope to acquire for the seminary. This property is located in Agua Viva, a suburb of Barquisimeto. It is at a higher elevation than the current seminary location and is cooler and much greener. It is also in a much safer location. Additionally we will be able to host church retreats, conferences, sessions of the Institute for Church Planting and over events. The property currently has a large house with at least 5 bedrooms and 3 baths, a large living/dining area and kitchen. With some addtional bedrooms and baths, this will be adequate for our current seminary boarding population. There is also a large outdoor Fiesta (party room) with a full kitchen and bathrooms. Additionally there is a large shop which with minor improvements can immediately house two classrooms. The property is beautifully landscaped with fruit trees and flowering shrubs and offers a beautiful view of the city and the mountains. It will make a great home for the seminary for several years to come. The property is walled on three sides and will only need a limited amount of construction on the 4th wall.
Here are a few pictures of the site. What a great home for the seminary this property could provide! Please pray about helping us secure this site for the seminary. We need it NOW!

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