Friday, January 30, 2009

First Week of Seminary at La Piedad!

Dean David instructs the first class of Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela meeting on our own site in Pa Piedad, Venezuela, a suburb of Barquisimeto. 52 students have attended this week's class, Church Planting I. This is a critical course for pastors in Venezuela, a country where at least 40% of the communities have no church of any kind. A typical situation is that of San Cristobal where there are 600,000 people and only about 5-6,000 evangelical Christians. This presents a great opportunity for the Gospel and places a great responsibility on all of us associated with the Seminario Weselyano de Venezuela.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pressing Work Preparing for Seminary

A frantic pace is being pursued to get the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela ready for the classes that begin on Monday, January 26 at 2:00. Academic Dean David, wife Carol and Ministry Assistant, Sam are working diligently to get the proerty prepared for our first classes on this site. Great help is also being given by people like Bishop Juvenal Perez and Pastor Carlos Perona pictured here with his son.

"Thank you" to all whose financial gifts made this frantic work possible. 50-60 students will gather on this new property and be instructed in the best possible tradition of the Wesleyan movement. We pray they will leave with informed minds and hearts warmed by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in order to win the entire country and the world for Christ.

Pray for Dean David as he will be teaching the class even though he is still recovering from should surgery and knee replacement surgery.
Pray for the students to arrive safely.
Pray for security of all involved.
Pray for a move of the Holy Spirit on this first class which will set the torn for all the years and classes to come and impact the work of the Kingdom in Venezuela.
Pray for Anna as she and her helpers prepare the meals for the students.
Pray for Ana as she and her crew clean and serve the students.
Pray for Carol as she hosts the students and serves the students and staff.
Pray for Sam as he serves as Registrar and runs a thousand errands.

Also pray for God to lead Dean David to find a family who can live on the property and take care if it, especially when seminary is not in session.

One final prayer request (this time!): Pray for the Dinner for Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela to be held on March 20 at 7:00 at Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church in Johns Creek, GA, USA.

Pastor Carlos Perona and his son at the Seminary. Pastor Carlos and his wife, Dr. Maria Perona, both received their seminary degrees in August, 2008 from the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela after 6 years of study.

Plumbers working to make sure all flows well for Seminary.

Preparations for cooking taking place in advance of Seminary.

Dean David
standing in front of the mountain of mattresses recently purchased for the seminaryNotice the sling for the shoulder and the cane for the knee. This former wrestler and football player knows the meaning of "playing hurt!"

Mixing mud for the tiling project in the Bathroom of the Men's Dormitory.

Bishop Juvenal Perez, the first Bishop of the United Methodist Church of Venezuela and a 2008 graduate of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela lends a hand in getting the property ready for classes. This Bishop/Pastor is bivocational and makes his living laying tile. Here he is using his temporal skills for a very important spiritual purpose.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Prase the Name of Jesus!

God answers prayer! On December 13, 2008, the Directors of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela met to discuss our financial future. We were aware of the looming crisis regarding money required to finish the updates to the property in order to house seminary in January, the pay-off on the property in February and the news just received from our primary operational donor that all operational funds would be stopped due to the economic crisis in the US.

We were against the wall! We had to have $15,000 to get ready for January seminary. We had to find $150,000 to pay off the property at the end of February ($350,000 initial purchase price). And we had to find additional sources for funding the operational cost of the seminary.

First, a source came forward to loan the Seminary $150,000 to pay off the property in Venezuela. Such financing is not possible in Venezuela and US lending institutions will not loan money for real estate there. We praise God for the trust placed in us through the issuance of this loan from some individuals.

However, we still faced the dilemma of what to do about January Seminary. We had used all our current resources to add a working water system on the property, electrical work, and other improvements. Beds, mattresses, kitchen equipment, pots and pans, tables and chairs, etc. would be required before we could welcome the class to the Seminary. This cost of $15,000 seemed to be a problem for which we had no solution.

After much discussion on December 13, the recognition came to us that we did not have the resources for January Seminary unless God intervened. So we covenanted together to place a “fleece” before God in the tradition of Gideon (Judges 6:36ff). The fleece was for God to provide the $15,000 if He wanted us to go ahead with Seminary in January. We also covenanted to spread the word to our friends and supporters of the work to see if they would help. If the money did not come, we would not have Seminary until we raised the money.

God spoke with thunder as $26,498.00 came in during the allotted time! We join with the Apostle Paul saying, “Unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end, Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21).”

Eugene Peterson says it this way in The Message: “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the Church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!”

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!