Monday, December 29, 2008

Venezuelan Church in Mission

During the years we have been in ministry in Venezuela we have been privileged to work alongside some wonderful pastors and lay people. They have taught us much about being in ministry in the community.

This Christmas, one of the Methodist churches, Ondas de Paz, reached out to those in need in the hills outside Barquisimeto.

They drove up to an area where there are people in great need.
Inflation is so great in Venezuela that the poor are suffering even more. Finding jobs is difficult and so money is very scarce and hunger abounds.

They were able to bring much appreciated relief. Here is the pastor's wife, Amarylis, giving food to this family.

"As you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me"

A grateful family.

Amarylis and young people from the church with a bag for food for the needy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wishing You a Blessed Christmas

All of us at Venezuela Now, Inc. and the Wesley Seminary of Venezuela wish you a very blessed Christmas and a happy New Year. We are most grateful for all the support you have given to the work in Venezuela. We are privileged to be able to know some of the most devout Christians in the world through our work in Venezuela and the US.

We also give thanks for the faithfulness of God to this work. As of this writing, we are over 2/3's of the way to receiving the $15,000 needed for the January seminary class. Gifts and pledges now total over $11,300US. We continue to pray for God to provide the remainder of the required funds for the beds, mattresses, kitchen appliances, pots and pans, tables and chairs, etc. Please continue to pray with us and consider being a part of what God is doing in Venezuela.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Critical Decision

The Directors of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela met Saturday to discuss the future of the Seminary and the necessary funding. The good news is that gifts and loans have made it possible for us to pay off the purchase of the seminary in February. We will have a debt of about $150,000, but that is great considering the purchase cost was about $350,000. Also, we have made significant progress in getting the property ready for January seminary: water system, electrical, boys and girls dorm improvements, etc. However, we have simply run out of funds.

Additionally, one of our primary donors has had to cut our support by 55% due to economic conditions in their church.
Now we are faced with a critical decision. We must have $15,000 to be able to have seminary in January. Tnis money is necessary to purchase required mattresses and bunk beds, kitchen appliances, plates, silverware, pots and pans, tables, chairs, etc. We simply do not have the money.

So after much prayer, discussion and discernment, we decided to put a "fleece" before the Lord. We are aking God to provide the $15,000 by January 5, 2009. If the money comes in, we will be able to go ahead with semin
ary. If not, we will have to postpone classes until March, assuming the money is raised by then.

If God speaks to your heart as you read this post and you want to be a part of this vital ministry, please send your gift to Venezuela Now, Inc. at PO Box 1655, Duluth, GA 30096.

May God richly bless you as we celebrate the Christ Child who has brought us salvation and calls us to share this Good News with the world!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Restoration UMC, Cerritos Blancos, Venezuela

Rev. Carlos Perona (pictured here with Warren Lathem) is the pastor of the Restoration United Methodist Church. He and his wife, Maria, serve this vital ministry in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. Maria is a pediatrician as well as a full partner in the pastoral ministry. They have 3 little boys and are among the finest leaders of the evangelical church in Venezuela. They both earned their Seminary degree at the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela.

Below are pictures of the new facility currently under construction in the neighborhood of White Hills (Cerritos Blancos). This community has a population of 120,000. The facility has been under construction since 2002 when Venezuela Now sent a work team to help with the work. Obviously, it has taken a long time to advance the work.

However, the ministry has advanced greatly. Here are Carlos' words: "We have two services in our present location each Sunday morning. Combined we have between 280 to 300 adults and 75 to 85 children. Right now we only have 260 chairs.

"The new sanctuary we are building is on the second floor and will have a capacity of 350 to 400 chairs comfortably. Later we will build a balcony for 200 more chairs for a total of 550 - 600. The children's sanctuary will be built on the first floor. At this moment we are raising the funds for the roof of the sanctuary, it is on the second floor. We hope to have this done by the middle of January."

In additon to this work, Carlos and Maria minister in three other locations, building new mission congregations in those locations. These include a new shopping mall, a Chinese congregation across town and another public facility.

Recently, Resto
ration UMC held a Women's retreat and then a Men's retreat on the campus of the Seminario Weselyano de Venezuela. This is one of the critical ministries the seminary facility will provide to the young United Methodist Church of Venezuela. It is another critical reason we are raising funds to pay off the debt on the property while at the same time raising funds to rennovate the buildings.

You can give to advance the work of the seminary by sending a check to Venezuela Now, Inc. PO Box 1655, Duluth, GA 30096.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Construction at Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela

Work is moving forward on the renovation of the buildings on the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela in La Piedad, a suburb of Barquisimeto, Venezuela. The photos attached here show the work on the Men's Dormitory, including new electrical, plumbing, ceiling, paint and other improvements. Much of this work is being done by members of the United Methodist Churches in the area as well as other denominational churches whose pastors attend the seminary.

This work is in preparation of the first classes being held on the property in January, 2009. Academic Dean David is directing this work from here in the US as he is recovering from knee replacement surgery and shoulder surgery. He and his wife hope to return to Venezuela in January.

The rest of us are doing our best to raise the $250,000US needed to pay the remaining 2/3 of the purchase price of the property. This is due at the end of February, 2009. Please join us in praying for God to provide these resources and for us to use them in a way that will greatly advance the cause of the Kingdom in Venzuela and all of Latin America.

You can send your gift for this project to Venezuela Now, Inc., PO Box 1655, Duluth, GA 30096. God will bless your generosity and sacrificial giving for this worthy and strategic effort.