Thursday, August 07, 2008

Commencement Preparations Frenzy

As the week winds down, the work heats up preparing for the August Seminary and Graduation. Academic Dean David and wife Carol, Ministry Assistant Samuel and others are putting in extra hours each day getting ready for this remarkable and historic event.

While they work so hard, others are moving toward Venezuela to join in the Celebration. First, Dean of Students, Dan Dunn and wife Nancy, are preparing to leave Costa Rica, traveling back through the US arriving in Venezuela on Sunday. They will be living with David and Carol while they are here and Dan will be team teaching next week with Warren an important course for the church in Venezuela: Church Growth. Even now 40% cities and towns of Venezuela have NO protestant ("evangelical" is the word used in Latin America) church.

Also in transit via Bogota are Efrain and Bethsaida Morales from their home in Snellville, GA. They are among the first 12 graduates of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela. While they have been in the US for the past year, they have completed the courses via directed studies. They are excellent students and have done superb work. Bethsaida is a retired teacher with a Masters Degree in Venezuela.

Coming into town on Sunday is the Mission Team from Mount Pisgah and McEachern United Methodist Churches of the Atlanta area. They will work at the Lugar Altissimo UMC the first part of the week, then invest the end of the week in the seminary festivities.

We have an extensive schedule for the Seminary Commencement. On Thursday afternoon, we will take the seminary students via bus from our rented facility on the west side of Barquisimeto to our property on the east side. We will have a service of consecration for the property including significant participation by all the students. The service will have worship music led by the Praise Team of the Ondas de Paz Umc, testimonies of some selected students, sermon by Venezuelan United Methodist Bishop Juvenal Perez and the anointing of the land with oil by every student. Warren, President, will close the service with a prayer of consecration.

On Friday, after seminary ends at 12:00 noon, we will have Graduation Rehearsal at the new property. Then at 7:00 we will have a wonderful graduation dinner attended by over 100 people including students and their families and guests as well as the faculty of the seminary. The Valedictorian Sermon will be delivered by our first Valedictorian, Rev. Wilmer Perez, a leading pastor in Nirgua.

Then Saturday morning at 10:00 we will gather at the new seminary property where we will celebrate the accomplishments of the first 12 graduates of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela. This is the culmination of a 6 year journey since our first classes in October of 2002. What a great celebration this will be.

Thank you to all who have been a part of making this a realty, especially the congregation of the Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church in Alpharetta. This church has provided the sustaining budget for the Seminary since its inception. There would be no Seminario Wesleyano de Seminary without the faithful support of the Mount Pisgah Church. The United Methodist Church of Venezuela and the many other churches of Venezuela are eternally grateful for this sacrificial support.

Please pray for all who have so much to do to get ready for this wonderful event(s). Pray for the safety of all who are traveling to be a part of this great event. Pray about giving a special offering for the seminary in honor of these twelve graduates.

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