Thursday, March 06, 2014

Exciting times!

Dear Friend of God's Work in Venezuela,

John the Beloved Apostle wrote these words to his friends and fellow workers in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ:
"We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.(1 John 1:4-5)

Please let me share with you some of the remarkable things God is doing in Venezuela which create for us complete joy as I hope they do for you. In order to make somewhat comprehensible this explosion of Christian witness and ministry here
I will divide this into several categories. However this is  for the sake of clarity. These clear lines do not exist in reality here as all of the ministry is inter-related.

The Church in Venezuela

Words fail to capture what is happening in God's church here. For example, how do you describe the development and launch two weeks ago of SEVEN new stand-alone United Methodist congregations birthed by one mother church? How do you describe the doubling of attendance in one of those churches in just one week?

How does one tell about another UMC congregation that just launched 8 new cell groups most of which will soon become churches led and pastored by seminary students and leaders trained by the mother church for the past 18 months using material from the Seminary? How does one describe one of these leaders/pastors who is 18 and has already led his four brothers to Christ and in the last two weeks helped over 20 people become followers of Jesus? What about the 20 new leaders, mostly youth, who just started this same 18 months of training to become cell group leaders and church planters?

How would you tell the story of a Seminary graduate and youth pastor who just led his deaf grandfather to Christ, and is teaching him to share the gospel with the blind grandmother?

How does one describe two separate churches birthed by seminary students in the same city 10 years ago and now they are the largest congregations in that town and are transforming the very fabric of that city?

How would you tell about a church with a vision of doing ministry with needy children spending 10 years building a building to house orphans and abandoned children and now are simply waiting on the state approved children to arrive, probably this week?

What would you tell about a church whose co-pastor is a Pediatrician with a PhD. in Family Systems starting a Medical Clinic for the poor and a ministry with single, unwed mothers and their children. (Una Esperanza), a problem of epidemic proportions in Venezuela?

How can I tell you about the 15 year old girl who is a Seminary student and worship leader in her church? She is so effective that even with the almost deafening volume of Venezuelan worship music sound systems, the congregation's singing and praising God drowns out the amplified singers' voices? How does one adequately describe that when in many churches in the US a singer in the congregation feels like he/she is the only one singing?

How does one begin the reporting of jail and prison ministries, evangelism outreach, feeding programs for the elderly, habitat house-like ministries, conversions, physical healings, deliverance ministries, hundreds of children being converted and discipled, the massive groups of youth and young adults emerging as world class Christian leaders and so much more?

At the Center of this ministry of Jesus is the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela.

The central focus of our ministry here is the Seminary. It is the hub of the wheel of the work. We just completed our 12th year since our first class in a rented room in 2002. Our campus in Cabudare, Venezuela has six buildings and those are being significantly enlarged and improved. But the story is not cement and rebar. The story is the lives and ministries being formed here. Two weeks ago over 80 students enrolled in three classes. Unfortunately the nation-wide political demonstrations forced the cancellation of one of those classes and the abbreviation of the other two. Yet they were of significant help to the students according to their own evaluation. Mission Pastor, Carey Akin from Mount Bethel UMC in Marietta, taught the students the necessity of and effective methods for the development of a deep, lasting and personally transforming relationship with Jesus Christ as the foundation of a life-long effective and faithful ministry. In the middle of the political conflict raging here, I taught a Master's Course on Conflict Management and resolution. The graduate students really responded to this material and we are planning a follow-up course in the fall. This is such an important topic in Venezuela and Latino culture. Next week, Dr. Michael Cash from Trinity on the Hill UMC will teach a New Testament Survey Course on the Gospels and at night alumnus Oscar Rodrigues who has a degree in environmental engineering will teach a course: Creation Care using Biblical teachings on our role in caring for God's creation.

The Seminario Evangelico Internacional

More about this later, but I just want to give you a first preview of the development of an international online ministry we are developing for the four hundred million Spanish speakers  in the world. The education of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela is about to go viral!

The Wesley Clinic

We will open the clinic in April or May. This is a huge addition to our ministry in Venezuela. Soon you will receive a separate newsletter just about the Clinic.

Well there is more, but this is enough for one report, except for this: Venezuela is strategic to the evangelism of the Latino world and as a witness to the nations since it is such a cosmopolitan nation. Because of this there is much opposition to the Gospel here. The Author of Chaos, the Father of Lies has created unimaginable chaos, deceit and darkness. Truly demonstrative demonic forces ensnarl and enslave the people. Political and religious leaders openly invoke the powers of Satan, black magic, Animism, Sanataria, idolatry and pure evil to destroy and control the people of this great nation.

But we have this good news as reported by the Apostle John, "God is light and in him is no darkness at all." The church here shines like a city set on a hill. The light is shining into every dark place, from the Presidential Palace in Mira Flores to the mud hut in La Piedad. You are making this possible through your prayers for and gifts to Venezuela Now, Inc.

Please prayerfully consider making a significant, sacrificial gift to this ministry today. I remind you, no US citizen receives any compensation from these gifts. Send your check to:
Venezuela Now, Inc.
PO Box 1655
Duluth, GA. 30096

God bless you as you give!  "We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.."