Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Hunger in Venezuela

As many readers will know, Dan Dunn, our Dean of Students of Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela is finishing his classes in the pursuit of earning a PhD. in Evangelism to enhance his teaching ministry, especially in Latin America and with Latinos in the US. One of the many books he has read recently is: CONSIDERING THE GREAT COMMISSION: EVANGELISM AND MISSION IN THE WESLEYAN SPIRIT edited by W. Stephen Gunter and Elaine Robinson. Dr. Gunter is a good friend who teaches at Duke Divinity School.

One of the most poignant quotes from the book is:

"In new Christian areas, there is a desperate need for religious instruction and for ethical reflection on the relationship between the gospel message and sociopolitical struggles. People may have joined the church, but their understanding of the gospel is limited by their lack of formation in Christian beliefs and practices. The hunger for basic teaching on the meaning of the Bible and the meaning of the Christian faith is overwhelming." (page 38)

This has certainly been our experience in Venezuela. The students and pastors in the Seminary evidence a hunger for basic teaching. This hunger is unlike anything we in the US have known in at least the last 50 years. This is not only true of the pastors enrolled in the Seminary, but seen vividly in conferences and seminars taught by this author in a variety of settings in Venezuela.

Since our faculty is primarily from places other than Venezuela they are often shocked by the intensity of this hunger. They have not observed this in their teaching experiences in the US or in many other countries. Often they say things like, "They are so open; They are so hungry for the teaching; They are so receptive; Etc."

One of the important tasks (perhaps the most important) in the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18) is to discover where God is working and become a partner with what God is doing.

God is at work in remarkable ways in the pastors and students associated with the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela. We are so blessed to be involved in this partnership. We are also blessed by those who support this work.

Given the current economic environment in Venezuela and the US the cost of a year of seminary education for one student at this institution averages about $2,000. That is the actual hard cost of travel, tuition, room and board and books. The soft costs include the facilities, administration, and equipment. Those soft costs are running an additional $2000 per student per year.

Therefore, we invite you to join with us in feeding the spiritual hunger of this very precious group of Disciples who give so much in service of the Master. You can send a check to Venezuela Now, Inc. at PO Box 1655, Duluth, GA 30096. Help us feed these hungry so they can feed the hungry of the nation!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pray for This

One of the needs of the Seminary is for a dependable, ethical Christian family to move into one of the houses on the campus and provide security and maintenance for the property. With the great housing shortage in Venezuela one would think this would be an easy problem to solve. That has not been the case. While we could easily find many to live there, this is not so easy using the above criteria. However, we know God has someone in mind. We just need to let Him lead us to that person.

So we ask for your prayers. This is very important for the life and function of the seminary. We are anxious to get this done. Please pray.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Ministry at Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela

Work continues at the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela facility in La Piedad, Venezuela. This work benefits the church in Venezuela in many ways.

While the Seminary property in LaPiedad, Venezuela is used for seminary classes several weeks every year, the facility is being used more and more for a variety of ministries. This past weekend we hosted a local church retreat for over 80 people. Men's retreats, women's retreats, youth retreats have already taken advantage of the tremendous ministry resource.

Currently, Bishop Juvenal Perez is planning the June, 09 Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church of Venezuela. It will be held on the Seminary property. He is also planning a country-wide youth retreat to be held at the seminary.

Seminary, church planting courses, local church retreats, national conferences and national youth retreats require an adequate and comfortable facility. Work continues on improving the facilities for these purposes.

We are so grateful to our many minstry partners in the US who have made it possible for the Seminary to have its own home and provide a location for the seminary as well as these additional ministries. Your generosity is making a difference for Christ in one of the most important places in the Southern Hemisphere.

We also really need to raise $50,000 this year to make the currently needed property improvements. You can help by sending a gift to Venezuela Now, Inc., PO Box 1655, Duluth, GA 30096. The church in Venezuela needs your help and the Lord will reward your generosity.