Wednesday, January 08, 2014


What's In Store, 2014

Here is our current areas of focus for 2014:

Seminary Classes
We plan to offer 45 individual courses in 2014 compared to 25 in 2013. This includes the first offering at a new extension site in Punta Fijo, extension courses in Nirgua and Puerto Ordaz. We will make use of more Venezuelan faculty than we have in any previous year.

Distance Learning and E-Learning
We are seriously pursuing the method and technology which will exponentially multiply our reach in theological education in the Americas. We are looking for the right person who will become the ministry champion for this effort. The potential is staggering! We have a record of 11 years of effective, excellent, accessible, affordable and practical Wesleyan theological education. We pray this will make it available to individuals, churches and denominations in all the Spanish speaking Americas.

Wesley Clinic
Our goal is to open the Wesley Clinic on the Seminary Campus in March. We have three Venezuelan doctors already committed to practice parttime in the clinic.  We will be looking to hire other staff in the next few months. This will operate under the medical non-profit of Maria Pirona, so Venezuela Now will only be a funding source and recruiter of US support. We will also serve in a consulting role to the Clinic. It has been a very difficult year due to shortages of construction materials, but we hold this target. Once the clinic is open, we will begin construction of the second floor as materials are available. It will house the laboratory, eye and dental clinics and a classroom for basic health education.

One Mission Society
Dr. David and Carol Cosby will be moving to Venezuela this summer to live more or less fulltime and direct the work of OMS particularly focusing on the Seminary, Mission Teams and Church Planting.  We look forward to a long a mutually effective relationship with OMS.

Una Esperanza
Teenage pregnancy, poverty, single parent families, promiscuity, child sexual abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, inaccessible birth control, lack of prenatal and postnatal care, and current as well as historic cultural mores, all have huge impact on the most vulnerable of Venezuela. Dr. Maria Pirona is developing this ministry on site at the Wesley Clinic on the east side of Barquisimeto and at Valle Dorado UMC on the west. We are also developing a US team led by Carolyn Bransby, founder of the Beacon of Hope Women's Center, and Jane Lathem. Our primary role will be raising friends and funds for this ministry. We have no owner or administrator responsibilities for this ministry.

Light of Hope Children's Home
Just opened, the first UMC Orphanage cares for unwanted children, orphaned children, children of 12 and 13 year old children, children of drug addicts and victims of abject poverty. Pastor Yolanda Caceido and missionary Nigel Borrows and the congregation of the Lugar Altissimo UMC have created this ministry. We pray this will become a model for other UM churches and denominations in Venezuela. We have voluntarily assumed a role of raising friends and funds for this ministry.  We have no owner nor administrator responsibilities.

The United Methodist Church of Venezuela
The UMC of Venezuela is now in its 7th year under the leadership of Bishop Juvenal Perez. The Seminary operates separately from the church, but is the official seminary for the UMC in Venezuela. We will continue to host the annual conference, train pastors, resource the churches and consult with the Bishop and conference leadership at their request. 

Property Acquisition
We are currently negotiating with two contiguous property owners to increase the bounds of the Seminary property. Some of the immediate needs include a location for a new UMC congregation, married housing, recreational facilities, additional classrooms, administrative offices for the Seminary and the UMC, and expansion of the retreat ministries.

Urban Garden
We begin our second growing season with this model urban gardening project under the direction of alumnus and pastor Oscar Rodrigues. We hope to add a rainwater catchment system and irrigation and a small fish hatchery for the sale of the fish to local fish farmers and the production of nutrient rich water for the garden.

We hope to complete the first floor of the Wesley Clinic in the first quarter, then proceed with second floor construction. We will build the first phase of a rainwater catchment system, fish hatchery, utilitarian landscaping improvements necessitated by years of neglect and run-off damage, complete laundry area, finish a second dining room and kitchen, add a formal library and take steps toward completion of the second floor of the Galpon and more security wall construction. All of these projects are dependent on funding and the availability of materials as well as an adjustment of priorities due to emergency and unexpected maintenance issues.

Mission Teams
We are preparing to receive at least 4 US teams on the campus this year and hope to recruit several more. Additionally, we will have our second Venezuelan Mission week combining construction projects and a seminary Bible class.
Bendiciones, Amigos.

Warren Lathem
Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela
779 889 6423
494 592 5678
Home 2865 Hightower Rd
Ball Ground, GA  30107
Venezuela Now, Inc.
PO Box 1655
Duluth, GA  30096

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Glory to God!

Praise the Lord, and Thank You all friends and supporters of Venezuela Now, Inc. and the ministries of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela, the Wesley Clinic, the Light of Hope Children's Home, and Una Esperanza. Your year-end giving made it possible for us to meet all 2013 financial obligations including paying our annual mortgage and we have enough cash to get through the first couple of months of 2014.Here is a brief summary of what was done last year.
2013 Highlights, Venezuela Now, Inc.

As I reflect on the ministry in Venezuela in 2013, I am amazed at all God has done. The church is growing at a remarkable rate. So is the Seminary. Below are a few highlights. Thank you to everyone who has prayed, given or served in this ministry. May God return your investment 100 fold.

New Masters Degree - after years of requests from students and alumni o...f the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela's Bachelor of Theology degree program, we began the new Masters program. Over 20 students enrolled and have been most diligent in these advanced studies. Academic Dean, Dr. Dan Dunn, has put together an excellent curriculum and faculty.

25 Courses Taught - an international faculty of great academic credentials, sound theological and pedagogical method, vast experience and a real heart for God and the mission in Venezuela provided the finest theological education in Venezuela.

Partnership with One Mission Society - Dr. David and Carol Cosby have been named Field Directors for OMS' newest field: Venezuela! This opens the work to a huge pool of support for the ministry in Venezuela.

World Methodist Evangelism Institute - Drs. Eddie Fox and Winston Worrell and an international faculty invested a week of training and practice in evangelism for the Wesleyan church families in Venezuela. Over 80 participants learned how to much more effectively share their faith.

International Leadership Institute - both the young adult History Makers Conference and the ILI national conference taught the key principles of following Christ to over 80 students. This cooperative effort of SEMWESVEN and ILI is making a huge impact on the evangelical church in Venezuela and beyond.

Mission Teams - both Venezuelan and North American mission teams provided much work and support for SEMWESVEN. This was the first year we included Venezuelan Mission Teams.

Urban Garden - a generous US donor gave the funds to establish a model urban garden on the campus of the Seminary. This is significant in a country of good shortages and run-away inflation. We built the fences, garden, worm beds and compost piles for a fully organic garden and had our first harvest, all labor provided by students in the Seminary.

Campus Improvements - our campus, acquired in 2008, consists of 5 buildings, all of which have required significant improvement. This year we completed the new Masters classroom, added a new men's dorm room, reconstructed part of a roof, added a bunk room and baths on the Mission House, replaced the central sewer system, upgraded the electrical service, replaced several A/C units, added exterior/security lighting, built the Wesley Plaza, as well as routine maintenance.

Wesley Medical Clinic - construction began on the Clinic. We hope to finish the first floor by March of 2014. This has been very difficult as steel and cement are often not available. Therefore, we have decided to complete the first floor and open the clinic while we search for materials and supplies for the second floor.

Una Esperanza - a ministry with at-risk women and children took its first steps in 2013. Dr. Maria Pirona and the Wesley Clinic will partner to provide sex education, abstinence training, pre and post natal care, instruction in parenting skills, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and more.

Light of Hope Children's Home - a 10 year effort by UM pastor, Yolanda Caicedo and others, resulted in the completion of the first UM Children's Home in Venezuela. We were privileged to participate in the dedication service and provide assistance to this ministry to the lost children of Venezuela.

UMC de Venezuela Annual Conference - again SEMWESVEN hosted the annual conference of the UMC of Venezuela where Bishop Juvenal Perez was elected for a third and final 3year episcopal term. The conference reported over 25 new congregations formed in the first 6 years of its existence.