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

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