Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Celebrating True Freedom

"The one that the Son makes free is free indeed."

July 5 is Independence Day in Venezuela.  It is normally a celebration of that country's independence from Colonial Spain and has the same significance in Venezuela as July 4 in the US. However, this July 5 was a day of even greater celebration for the congregation of the Ondas de Paz UMC in Cabudare, Venezuela.  25 new followers of Jesus celebrated their deliverance from sin and freedom in Christ by taking the vows of Baptism and receiving the holy sacrament.  

This congregation was founded by Efrain and Bethsaida Morales (seen here with daughter, Lim), graduates of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela (now pastors at the Snellville UMC in Georgia). It met in their home in Cabudare until recently when the growth of the congregation required them to relocate to a rented facility for weekly worship. 

Pastors Alexander and Amaryllis Comacho were converted in this congregation and when the Morales' moved to the US, they were given responsibility for the congregation.  What wonderful leadership they have given!  The church is known for its ministry to children and their families. They have a strong missional orientation that causes them to reach out to the community.  This was almost unknown before the Seminary began teaching the necessity of becoming a Mission Church.  They have learned the lesson well and are applying it in culturally appropriate ways and the result is remarkable growth of the Kingdom.

In the last month the Ondas de Paz UMC and the Lugar Altissimo UMC cooperated together in the best of the Wesleyan connectional spirit and conducted joint Men's retreats (19 in attendance) and Women's Retreats (50). (Shown here: Pastor Yolanda Caceido and husband Mariano at a recent Annual Conference)This cooperative spirit is seen throughout the UMC of Venezuela and a large part of this attitude and conduct is fostered by their experience together at the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela.  The pastors at Ondas de Paz are currently  students in the Seminary and the pastor at Lugar Altissimo UMC is a graduate of the Seminary.

The experience of Seminary is of such great importance the pastors and congregations are taking greater ownership in supporting the work (see previous article). For example, pastor Alexander has given days and days of construction labor to the improvement of the campus.  Additionally, when  we were there in March, while he and his wife and their pre-school age son attended class, each day at the lunch break he was laboring as a volunteer in the kitchen.

You can be a part of this great move of the Spirit in Venezuela and see the fruit of your labor bearing everlasting fruit for the Kingdom of God.  How can you do this?  1. Pray for the pastors and churches of Venezuela.  2.  Pray for the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela.  3.  Pray for the leaders of the Seminary. 4.  Give for the work of the Seminary (see below). 4. Help with the Hope Store sale in Roswell in December - more details to come  later.

(Warren Lathem teaching and Dan Dunn translating for a recent Seminary class.)

Please send your gifts for the Seminary to:
Venezuela for Christ, Inc,.
PO Box 1655
Duluth, GA  30096

Thank you for your prayerful and generous support for this work.

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