Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Report: January Seminary Has Begun

Greetings from Venezuela!  Seminary got off to a great start yesterday.  30 students are taking the class: Preaching for a Response I, which I am teaching during the day this week and 15 are taking Self-Confrontation I, which is being taught by a Venezuelan pastor and Seminary Graduate: Dr. Alberto Mendoza. I believe we had 6 new students yesterday.
I preached Sunday in the church pastored by Jesus Rivero, a student in the Seminary. Jesus “overheard” the Gospel in 2002 when we were doing an evangelistic crusade on a soccer field near his house.  He was later called to preach and began a congregation in his home. He has since planted 3 congregations and one of them has 300 people in attendance. I preached in the congregation in his home and it reminded me of the experience the early Methodists had in the US.  The house was full, the porch was full and people were on the street outside listening to the service.  We experienced the joy of the presence of the Holy Spirit as Jesus healed some broken lives, relationships and memories.
The Campus of the Seminary looks great. A mission team from Jesus’ church finished 3 more showers and toilet stalls in the men’s dorm, repaired some roof damage caused by a fallen tree and did a lot of painting and clean up.  While we have a tremendous need to finish replacing the remaining chain-link fence with a security wall, we are making progress.
Please accept my thanks for your prayers and encouragement and giving for this work.  At last report we were only about $5,000 away from being able to make our full mortgage payment on January 31 and avoid the almost $10,000 interest payment that will accrue if we do not pay on time. Thanks for your help so far and if you can help some more, or for the first time, we would so appreciate it.
Simply make your check to Venezuela Now, Inc.  PO Box 1655, Duluth, GA 30096 or simply click on this link to give on-line via PayPal:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January Seminary

After a long absence, I am delighted to be able to bring you up to date on the Seminary.  The last two months have been spent here in the US raising funds for the Seminary, both Operating and Capital.  We have an annual mortgage payment of $30,000US due on December 31 on the property in Venezuela.  We were able to make an $18,000 payment and got an extension for the other $12,000 until January 31, 2011. If we make this payment we will avoid any interest on the balance of the loan ($110,000 after the payment is made).  The property is valued at over $500,000US so our debt ratio is wonderful and our loan agreement (no interest if the principal is paid on time) is excellent. God has always provided in the past and we are trusting Gog to provide today.  We still have $5,000-6,000US to raise before the end of the month, but we know there is no shortage with God.  Jehovah Jireh!

Click this link to donate to the seminary in Venezuela. http://blogspot.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=5a6f34035205036edd3c2d610&id=72c040623c&e=832924ce0d

Next week I, Warren Lathem, will be teaching Preaching for a Response, I for 2 Credits, Dr. Alberto Mendoza will be teaching Auto-Confrontaion I for 2 Credits, on Saturday, Professor Wilmer Perez will be teaching Inductive Bible Study, III for 1 credit, and then the next week Dan will be teaching History of Christianity, I, for 2 credits. Our previously scheduled professor has had a family emergency and cannot travel to Venezuela for this class.Please pray for Dr. and Mrs. David Thompson and for Dan as he hurriedly prepares for the course. 

Please pray for the students to arrive safely from all across the country. Pray for financial provision for the students as most are bi-vocational and miss work in order to attend Seminary, as well as paying for travel costs, tuition, room and board and materials/books. This s a huge sacrifice for most of them.  Yet they continue to come to class to receive what many of them call the best theological education available in their country.

We have worked to provide an excellent Orthodox, Wesleyan undergraduate theology degree that is practical and transformational. Our goal has been to make it affordable and accessible.  The gifts from the US are of great assistance in dong this work.  

Also, please for the staff: Ana, Anna, Marcia, Sam, Laura, Alejandro, Chris, Dan and Nancy, and others who will work tirelessly during Seminary after weeks of preparation and a week of recovery of the facility (cleaning, laundry, repairs, etc.) Pray for the Professors to be divinely inspired and teach at a level beyond their ability, inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Pray for transformation in the lives of students, faculty and staff that will result in wining Venezuelans for Christ.  Finally, pray for protection.  We are engaged on the front lines of Spiritual Warfare and covet/need your prayers.

We still need Church work teams to help with renovations/additions to the property.  For example, we need a second classroom immediately.  The space is available and only needs finishing, e.g. electrical, lights, interior walls, paint and air-conditioning. A good team from the US could do this work along with a mission team from a church in Venezuela.  What a rewarding experience this will be for both! The cost of materials would not be prohibitive for any US church. The space is there, deconstruction has been complete, now we just need to make it usable.  Is God calling you?  Come on!