Thursday, August 23, 2012

 On August 18, 2012 we celebrated the Graduation of 17 students who invested 5-6 years of hard academic work to earn a Licenciatura en Thologia (Bachelors of Theology in the US).  Most of these graduates are involved in remarkable ministries, from church planting to prison ministry, to food ministries to healing ministries to evangelism, to cell group ministries, to teaching ministries and more.

What a joy it is for our faculty and staff to see the progress made in their spiritual growth and development and to see them applying their education to the real task of Making Disciples in Venezuela.  These good people labor in very difficult circumstances, some in extreme poverty for the sake of the Gospel.  We are humbled by their example and their faithful service.  They are reaching a nation for Christ and we are grateful for the partnership we have with them in ministry.

Thank you for your giving and your support.  You read in our previous post about our immediate need for money to finish the Master's Classroom needed for class to begin there in January.  Praise God, He has supplied that need and the construction is scheduled to begin next week.

Thank you for your prayers and your faithful giving.  God is blessing the work here in Venezuela with great fruit of your labors. Glory be to God!

See our Seminary Website in Spanish:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

An Immediate Open Door of Opportunity

We have a very specific need at the Seminary Wesleyano de Venezuela this week.

God has provided one of our graduates, Julio, a pastor and general contractor who lives 24 hours away by bus, to come and work on the property.  He and his team of five will construct more needed security walls around the perimeter of the property – something that is becoming more and more critical due to the life situation for so many in Venezuela.

Julio will also be able to bring two additional workers with him to finish the Master’s Classroom/Library which we have to provide for our Master’s classes beginning in January.  These men work for simply a small honorarium, plus meals, travel, and housing.  This is a great opportunity for us to get this space finished at a very low cost.  However, we have not budgeted this additional money and we need it now.

For just $3,000 we can finish this space and have it ready for the Master’s Classes.  Can you help today? Please pray about this and if God is laying it on your heart, send a check to Venezuela Now, Inc. at PO Box 1655, Duluth, GA  30096 or give via PayPal by clicking on the following:

Why is this so important?  Here is a report we received last week from one of our students who will be in this Master’s Degree program:
Pastor Guillermo is the pastor of a large church in Barquisimeto. He told me they started a new congregation 4 Sundays ago north of town. They have already acquired about 2.5 acres, large by Venezuelan standards. This past Sunday 156 attended and over the last 2 weeks 18 have become followers of Jesus. He said God laid this effort on his heart in a course I taught not long ago. WOW! Thank you for your prayers and financial support for this work. Lives are being transformed.

Help us if you can.  Saturday (later today) I will perform the wedding for one of our graduates and preach in a great evangelistic service on Sunday afternoon in the church of a graduate.  Then Monday I begin teaching Evangelism in the Book of Acts.  Friday and Saturday of next week we will see 17 students graduate with a Bachelors of Theology degree, celebrate our 10 year anniversary of the Seminary and break ground for the new Medical Clinic on the Campus.  Please pray for all this.

Thank you for all your help and prayers in the past. Your support is bearing fruit, “fruit that will remain.” Help us keep this ministry growing as these passionate followers of Christ are equipped to reach this nation and the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

In Christ,
Warren Lathem

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Worship in Venezuela Today - Bishop Asbury Would Approve!

We engaged in a remarkable worship service today at Restauracion UMC in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. Ten years ago this was a congregation meeting on this corner behind a partially completed perimeter wall and a gravel floor.  Now it is the largest UMC in Venezuela.

As we worshiped, there was a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I could not help but think: "This is what made Methodism so contagious in Great Britain and the US in the 18th and 19th centuries." We heard the spontaneous testimony of a young mother whose 2 year old son was healed of a terminal kidney disease.  This was confirmed by a medical doctor.  Several people came to faith in Christ.

The entire congregation was overwhelmed by the tangible presence of the Spirit as there was weeping and praying and singing and shouting and some folks so overcome by the power of the Spirit, they fell to the floor.  Some were overtaken with shaking.  Most, if not all, were visibly moved including this preacher. I am not a scholar of Methodist History, but this reminds me of my Methodist roots. 

It also makes me weep for the church in the US to experience this outpouring of the Holy Spirit again in my lifetime. Further, it makes me wonder if I should spend the time I have left in the kind of worship we experienced today! While this church is the largest UMC in Venezuela, this kind of worship is not unique to this congregation. It is indicative of what we experience in most of the worship services here. No wonder these congregations have such a powerful witness in a pagan culture and lives are being transformed.  Oh, how God must smile upon the vitality of the church here!  What a blessing it is for this old man to be a part of what God is doing in this country. 

Is this the only place in the world this is happening? Praise God, no.  But it is happening here.  Pray for more laborers in the harvest field here, especially with the Seminary. The preacher today, an associate, while a student in the Seminary, heard God's call to plant a new congregation. It is one of ten currently started by this church. The pastor and his wife are returning tomorrow from a mission trip to a neighboring country - another answer to prayer.  So blessed today!!!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

150 Accept Christ in One Day at a Venezuelan Hospital

Dear Friend of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela,

The primary objective of this letter is to say “Thank you, and may God bless you” for your past support. The secondary reason is to give you an update on some of the wonderful things God is doing in Venezuela. Thank you again for your support of this vision!

I want to invite you to watch a video of the Mission Service of the Kentucky Annual Conference this past June. I was privileged to preach this service and invite people to engage in the work of mission in the world. Bishop Lindsey Davis, our host and friend, said it was the first time in his experience that an invitation to missionary service has ever been given at an Annual Conference Session. God graciously moved on the congregation, and several answered God’s call to mission in that service. Simply “click” on this link to celebrate with us God’s blessing on that event:

Additionally, the Conference received an offering for the construction of a Medical Clinic on the Campus. Approximately $40,000 was given for this cause which will allow us to break ground on this new addition to the ministry of the Seminary. We will do that as a part of our Graduation and 10th Anniversary Celebration Weekend later this month. We are praying this will be the seed of the first Methodist Hospital in Venezuela!

Please consider giving a gift for this work. We stretch every charitable dollar as much as possible to provide an excellent, accessible, affordable theological education to equip pastors and lay leaders to reach the lost of Venezuela. These students are engaged in remarkably effective ministries resulting in countless people coming to know Christ. This nation, and indeed the whole region, is being eternally transformed with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Secondly, we are building a great team of Prayer Partners for this ministry. The Students, Faculty and Staff are engaged in true Spiritual Warfare, and we/they desperately need your prayer support. Dr. Gayle Arnold, Director of Prayer Ministries, is building this remarkable team. Please consider becoming a participant in this ministry. To volunteer, go to

We have a very full August ahead of us. Here is an abbreviated list of the major events in the life of the Seminary in August:

Dr. Dan Dunn, Academic Dean, teaching the Gospel John, Main Campus.
Warren Lathem teaching Preaching for Response II, Nirgua Extension.
The Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Main Campus.
Warren Lathem teaching Acts of the Apostles, Main Campus.
Graduation of 15 new graduates, Main Campus.
Celebration of the 10 Year Anniversary, Main Campus.
Groundbreaking for the Medical Campus, Main Campus.

Last month we received a great testimony from one of the students in the Seminary. Francisco Ramon Gonzalez. This month he will receive his Bachelor of Theology Degree after 6 years of study. He will then enroll in our first Masters of Church Leadership degree program starting in January. Francisco serves in the city of Valera. He was a lay person when he started in the Seminary, but had struggled with a call to plant a new church. It was during one of the Seminary classes in 2010 that he finally surrendered to that call. This was primarily due to the support of his fellow students. He has since been most happy and is active in ministry in the new congregation he planted.

Here is his testimony:
“Hello, my brothers & sisters in Christ. Peace and blessings and greetings to your beloved families. I thank God for his goodness and rich blessings, and for placing in your hearts to do mission in our country, and give us those teachings that we needed so much to put into practice to try to change the face of this nation and reach the lost for Christ.
“I thank God for your purpose to offer the Master's program. We ask that the All-Powerful would fill you all to the brim with his infinite blessings.
“Concerning my experience with the subject of sanctification, I had many erroneous concepts, some of which I was trying to handle but others of which were unknown. John Wesley's point of view is important. He refers to sanctification as a particular state of sanctification, moral purity, fidelity and transparency before God and men. This is something that must be taken seriously and we should be concerned a great deal about entering into it (sanctification). This dimension guarantees us a quality of life both natural and supernatural in this life and in the life to come.”

Thank you for providing the opportunity for students like Francisco to be both transformed by the Gospel and to have a transforming ministry in his country. Just imagine all the children and adults we will see in Heaven because of your faithfulness!

Last night Dan shared with me this testimony: After a recent Evangelism Class taught by Dan, one of the students and an associate pastor, took seriously the material, taught his lay team an effective method of evangelism, and took them to the local hospital. The hospitals in Venezuela typically have no waiting area for families of patients, so the area around the hospital is full of concerned loved ones. They shared with these distressed and tired families the life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ and that day 150+/- people became followers of Jesus Christ. God is doing amazing things in Venezuela. Thank you for your prayers and support!

Do you want your congregation to develop an excitement for missions and make a difference in the world? Consider recruiting a team to come help with this amazing work. Partner with what God is doing here and make an eternal as well as temporal difference for Christ and the people God loves, some of whom are the poorest of the poor.

Simply make your check to Venezuela Now, Inc. and mail to PO Box 1655, Duluth, GA 30096 or give through Pay Pal using the following link:

Thank you for all your help!

In Christ,
Warren Lathem

Please Watch This Video!

I (Warren Lathem) want to invite you to watch a video of the Mission Service of the Kentucky Annual Conference this past June. I was privileged to preach this service and invite people to engage in the work of mission in the world.  Bishop Lindsey Davis, our host and friend, said it was the first time in his experience that an invitation to missionary service has ever been given at an Annual Conference Session. God graciously moved on the congregation, and several answered God’s call to mission in that service.  Simply “click” on this link to celebrate with us God’s blessing on that event:

 Dan Dunn, Academic Dean,
 God is so good! One of the pastors in class this week just shared with me that he his principal congregation has founded a new congregation - the first Sunday there were 4 people in attendance - the next Sunday there were 3 - the following week they did an intensive evangelistic campaign utilizing puppets, drama, and other means to share the good news of Jesus' love, and the following Sunday there were over 80 people in the new church, with 11 people making first-time decisions to follow Jesus - THIS is why we do what we do here - God is so good!

Warren Lathem , President
 Thank you for your prayers. Today: Gospel of John Inductive Bible Study Class and Dan as he teaches, Housekeeping/Administrative work for me. Meeting with the Master's Committee tomorrow. Teaching Preaching for a Response II in Nirgua on Saturday. Pray for Donors in the US to help advance this Kingdom Building work in Venezuela. Amazing testimonies: e.g. a student who took Dan's evangelism class, implemented what he had learned, instructed his congregation in a method of evangelism, went to the local hospital to minister to the families waiting on the outside (no family/waiting rooms in hospitals here) and on one Saturday they led 150+/- people to Christ!

Dan W. Dunn, Academic Dean and Professor
you would think that after all those years I would stop trying to put God in a box! - the class I am teaching this week fulfills a course requirement that about half of our students have already fulfilled, so I was expecting between 10 and 15 students this week - 29 students came, and 8 of them are NEW STUDENTS - I am very thankful for this - please continue to pray, and thank for your prayers - they are definitely making a positive difference,

Dan W. Dunn:: a good start to the day so far at the Wesleyan Seminary of Venezuela - students are trying to discern what the central/overall message of John's gospel is, in 25 words or less; they are also trying to respond to a question I posed to them concerning what John wanted his readers to DO in response to his message - a correction concerning number of students - we have 28 students in the class instead of 29 - one of the pastors who was here yesterday was simply visiting with his friend Jesus Rivero.