Friday, June 13, 2014

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Latest Events in Venezuela

Dear Friends of Venezuela Now,

Thank you for your prayers and generous support, notes of encouragement and Godly concern. This has been and continues to be a difficult time in the midst of great blessing.

First, Samuel continues incarcerated for buying a truckload of Government controlled cement, then discovering after his arrest it was allegedly destined to a different customer. So he faces serious charges of dealing in "contraband." If true, he did so without the knowledge of this. He simply bought what he thought was legal cement for the construction of the medical clinic. It appears the owner of the cement company may have mistakenly violated the law, and Sam is caught up in it. I spoke to him on Thursday of this week and he is in good spirits, but very concerned about having the necessary funds for his legal defense. I assured him we would make sure we have adequate funds to cover the costs. We pray for your generous help with these legal fees which initially will cost $4000-$10,000.

Second, the Seminary continues to function unencumbered by the flap over the cement. All is well and church retreats continue on the campus, minor construction continues while we seek legal cement, mission teams will soon arrive, and classes will resume. We thank God for the peace surrounding the Seminary. These prayers have been clearly answered. A byproduct of the "cement episode" and Sam's incarceration has been many of our alumni and students have stepped up to taking far greater ownership of the day to day operations as well as future direction of the Seminary. This is also an answer to prayer.

Third, the Wesley Medical Center (formerly named, Wesley Clinic) will have its Grand Opening June 28th. This was scheduled earlier, but current events necessitated postponing it. The day will include a free huge community clinic. The street will be blocked to traffic and doctors and nurses from across Venezuela will be there to treat the sick, setting up treatment stations in the street. Free food, bouncy houses, games for the children, etc. will all make this a very special event. We are also excited to have found a trusted and proven Christian leader who is an importer/exporter who is working with us to produce a list of approved items we can ship to the clinic, supplies and equipment and medications. As soon as we have the list, we will share it for you to help with donations. We expect to spend about $15,000 on the shipping container and associated costs. We must raise this amount. Will you help? Of course we still need to raise $30,000 for the cost of constructing the second floor of the Medical Center.  Be sure to mark your gifts for this project: "medical."

Fourth, the recent events strongly confirmed the decision to develop the Seminario Evangélico Internacional (SEIN) on line theological degree program. This has also been confirmed by several Christian leaders across Venezuela as well as several other countries in the Western Hemisphere. So our team of 4 Venezuelans are working very hard to get courses recorded, edited and designed for SEIN, getting the online platform established, and setting up a video and audio recording studio. This will make our first beta test course available to a select group in July or August and we plan to publicly offer courses in January. We have received a generous gift to cover the costs of the studios and equipment. Now we need the startup costs for SEIN, probably $10,000. We fully expect SEIN to produce a positive income stream for the work in Venezuela. Simply mark any gifts for this ministry: "SEIN."

Fifth, most importantly the church in Venezuela continues to experience exponential growth. The students and alumni of the Seminary are leading one of the most spectacular church growth movements of modern history. The UMC de Venezuela is planting dozens of new churches, producing dynamic young leaders and claiming their nation for Christ. Baptismal services for 20-50 youth and adults are commonplace. Evangelistic services resulting in scores of new followers of Jesus are just a part of the everyday ministry of the church. Social justice ministries are exploding as they feed the hungry, clothe the naked and heal the sick. Ministries in jails and prisons, ministries fighting human trafficking, ministries to indigent children are erupting all over the country. One quick example: our "home church" in Cabudare last year amazingly conducted 7 simultaneous Vacation Bible Schools in 7 different communities. We witnessed it. What a blessing! This year they have leaders trained to conduct 22, yes, 22 simultaneous VBS community schools. Glory!

So your gifts continue to bear generous and eternal fruit, "fruit that will last," as Jesus taught us in John 15. Thank you.

Please send a generous gift for one or more of the needs listed above. Send you check to:

PO Box 1655
Duluth, GA 30096

Or click on the PayPal button below and make your electronic gift.

Thank you and may The Lord bless you richly!

In Christ,