Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Follow the Dunns

Dan and Nancy Dunn, partners in the work in Venezuela where Dan is Dean of Students and a professor for the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela, have a new blog. You can access it at: I hope you will visit their site to keep up with all they are doing. Here is a quote from Dan and Nancy:
Dan and Nancy are cross-cultural ministers who live in the United States and partner with Christians to help serve God's Kingdom in America, Venezuela, and Costa Rica. They focus on leadership training, prayer and healing ministries, and supporting ministries who focus on reaching children.
Dan has been instrumental in the work in Venezuela. His first foreign mission trip was to Venezuela in 2002 and it completely changed the direction and focus of his ministry. For the last two years Dan and Nancy have been living in Wilmore, KY where Dan is pursuing a PhD. in Evangelism. His ministgy goal is to train effective leaders for the church both in the US and Latin America. With Dan's remarkable intellect he has rapidly learned Spanish is has become quite fluent greatly enhancing his ministry in Venezuela and Costa Rica.

Additionally Dan and Nancy are Board Members of Venezuela Now, Inc. In that capacity Dan was also a co-founder of the Seminario Weselyano de Venezuela.

Please keep the Dunns in your prayers as they sacrifice for the ministry during this time of preparation and as they serve our Lord in the US, Costa Rica and especially Venezuela. Here is a report of their most recent work regarding Venezuela. Read more on their blog.

"Last Wednesday night Nancy and I had the joy of speaking with a group of about 20 Asbury students about the work God is doing in Venezuela, and ways they could pray and think about partnering with God in that work. Through God's amazing grace, 5-7 men and women are seriously considering an exploratory trip to Venezuela in January to begin discerning whether and/or how God might want to use them to reach lost people there. God's continued provision that allows us to be used as small instruments in His hands to link people with the work in Venezuela and Costa Rica truly is incredible. It has been an enormous blessing to actually see what we envisioned as part of our ministry coming to fruition. Please pray for these students as they continue in their discernment process."

Friday, October 26, 2007

October Seminary a Success

In one intensive week of seminary over 50 Venezuelan and two Columbian students and pastors completed the classroom work of three courses. Rev. Donna Goff taught the two credit hour Minor Prophets. The Dean of the Seminary taught the two hour course, Holiness in the New Testament. I (Warren Lathem) taught a 6 credit hour Practicum on Community Ministries. This practicum is part of the Practice of Ministry curriculum and a requirement for graduation. It requires extensive work in a local church over the next seven months and the proper reporting required for course credit.

Again, the Holy Spirit descended on the class in a way that defies human orchestration. On Wednesday afternoon after a harrowing experience by a couple of our team, the class gathered to celebrate God's protection and provision during the afternoon worship time. And God moved with power and glory. It was a time of great intimacy with the Holy One.

Please pray for these students and pastors. We were blessed to have a number of first time students including an attorney from Puerto Ordaz. They all remarked on how impressed they were with the quality of education being provided by the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela. For their recognition of this reality and for God's continued provision, we are most grateful.

On Wednesday night the United Methodists gathered at Pastor Carlos Perona's church, Restoracion, for a great worship service. Bishop Juvenal Perez preached a powerfully evangelistic sermon to the 250-300 gathered. All of the United Methodist seminary students were in attendance as well as 5 North Americans. God's spirit was poured out on the service and several persons made a profession of faith in Christ.

On Sunday we were blessed to attend worship at Lugar Altissimo. This is the church we were privileged to build in memory of our son, Ray W. Lathem, III and in honor of Jared Lathem. One of the young lay leaders, Wilmer, preached. He and his wife Juni have a beautiful baby boy named Wilmer, Jr. We, the Americans, were all touched by the outpouring of God's Spirit in the service. After a wonderful meal at a local restaurant, we made the drive to Caracas and flew home on Monday, ending a great week of magnificent blessings.

Friday, October 12, 2007

October Seminary Offers 3 Courses

The October Seminary week begins Monday, October 15, 2007 at 2:00 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. Rev. Donna Goff will teach a 2 credit hour course on the Minor Prophets. Our Academic Dean will teach a 2 credit hour course on Holiness in the New Testament. President Warren Lathem will give the classroom instruction for a 6 credit hour Practice of Ministry Course: Community Ministries. This course requires a very intensive application within the local parish.

This is Rev. Goff's second teaching foray in the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela. However, she is a veteran of the work in Venezuela. Serving in her capacity as Minister of Missions at the McEachern UMC in Marietta, GA, Rev. Goff has led her church in its historic partnership with the Rey de Reys UMC in Punto Fijo, Venezuela. The pastor,Juvenal Perez, of this Venezuelan church was elected to be the first Bishop of the United Methodist Church of Venezuela. Bishop Perez and his wife, Nohely have been faithful students in the seminary since its inception.

The Academic Dean on October 12 finished a week of a special seminary class on Inductive Bible Study. At last report 18-20 students had enrolled in this course. This course in the Inductive Method is a prerequisite for all Bible courses. It has been offered twice before in the last 6 years. However, as we continue to attract new students, we must offer the prerequisite courses more often than indicated in the plan of the regular curriculum.

President Lathem's Practice of Ministry course, Community Ministries, is designed to lead the student/pastors to develop effective ministries beyond the normal worship/study routine so prevalent in Venezuela. This is in the best Wesleyan tradition of holiness of heart and life or living our our faith in specific tangible ways that offer healing, help and hope to people beyond the local congregation.

The Dean has just finished another week of instruction in the Church Planting Institute in Puerto Ordaz. This is the second week of this training offered both in Puerto Ordaz and Barquisimeto. The third courses will be taught in Barquisimeto in November and in Puerto Ordaz in December.

In November the Dean will also welcome a Georgia Orthopedic Surgeon for a week of exploration and fact-finding that is the prelude to a potential medical mission to San Cristobal, Venezuela. Also in December, the seminary will host the International Leadership Institute in Barquisimeto. This event is sponsored by the McEachern UMC.

Please pray for this week of seminary and for safe travel. Pray for the Institute of Church Planting. Pray for the Doctor and the potential medical mission. Pray for the Leadership Institute. Also pray for more partners to join the work of this important mission to Venezuela and Latin America.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Bishop and Mrs. Davis Make Huge Commitment to Venezuela

Yesterday Bishop G. Lindsey Davis, Episcopal Leader of the North Georgia Conference of the UMC, announced his commitment to designate a major 2008 Conference offering to missions, half of which will be designated for Venezuela. The announcement was made at the North Georgia Conference United Methodist Women's Annual Meeting at Marietta First UMC. This offering will be the result of a love offering the Conference will receive to thank and honor the Davis's for their 12 years of exemplary service to the North Georgia Conference. At the end of this Conference year, they will be reassigned to a new conference where they are likely to serve until they retire.

This beloved couple has given exceptional leadership to this Conference in our investment in Mission. Mrs. Davis (Jennifer) has poured her life in sending youth on mission trips through Honduras Outreach, a ministry established by some faithful North Georgia Methodists. Bishop Davis has made two trips to Venezuela. The first was when he took the entire North Georgia Conference Cabinet on a mission trip to Venezuela in 2005. This was the first time a Conference Cabinet had traveled to another country for a mission trip. Bishop Davis returned to Venezuela in January, 2007 to teach in the Seminario Wesleyan de Venezuela.

This is a wonderful development for Venezuela Now, Inc. due to at least three reasons. First, this will be a significant source of funding. Secondly, this raises the visibility of the work in Venezuela. Thirdly, it provides a legitimacy to this ministry that we more than welcome and need.

Additionally, Bishop Davis has invited Venezuelan Bishop Juvenal Perez to attend the next session of annual conference in Athens, GA in June of 2008. We are praying for Bishop Perez to be successful in obtaining a visa to be able to attend.

Please begin praying for Bishop Perez' visa application to be successful and pray for a very generous offering at Annual Conference.

Pictured here is Bishop and Mrs. Perez (he is in front in the yellow) and a recent Seminary Class.