Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MissionDunns: More Venezuelan Baptisms!

We received a great report from Dan Dunn regarding pastors Thoby and Elizabeth Ramirez in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela. See our previous post with their testimony. Also visit Dan and Nancy Dunn's blog for a full report. Praise God for what is happening through the lives and ministries of students of Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela!

MissionDunns - Serving Christ's Kingdom in the Americas: More Venezuelan Baptisms!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Restoration UMC Gives and Receives

Rev. Carlos Pirona, pastor of Restoration United Methodist Church of Barquisimeto, Venezuela and recent graduate of our seminary presents Professor David, Academic Dean of the Wesleyan Seminary of Venezuela with a check. It is for 3,000 BFs. (about $1400 USD at the official exchange rate) for the construction of the seminary. These funds were collected during the Sunday morning worship service when they dedicated their new sanctuary. It was a portion of the first fruits offering with which they wished to bless the seminary. This represents a very sacrificial gift by this congregation.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Venezuelan Servant Leadership

Pastor and seminary student Alexander Camacho leads remodeling work at the Wesleyan Seminary of Venezuela.

Work teams from the States are needed at the Seminary. But often some work needs to be done in preparation for those teams. Due West United Methodist Church of Marietta, Georgia has sent a team (February 20 to28) to lay cement block for the Seminary’s security fence. However, prior to their arrival footings and a foundation had to be dug, steel rebar tied and cement poured. Alexander Camacho gave two weeks of his time to lead this work so Due West could lay the block when they arrived.

As improvements are made on the seminary facilities security becomes a more serious issue. Theft is a threat with which we must responsibly deal. As in almost all of Latin America, effective security fences are constructed of concrete and are usually over 10 feet high. This wall will be 11.5 feet tall and must surround the entire property. The partnership which exists between Methodists in the US and Methodists in Venezuela strengthens both and represents Christ in a secular world.

Please contact us if your church would like to send a work team to the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela. God will bless your church and the church in Venezuela. Become a part of what God is doing in a very critical place in the world.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dan Dunn's Good Report

Dan Dunn recently returned from Venezuela and shared this report on his blog at missiondunns. We are glad to celebrate what God is doing in Venezuela through the ministry of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela.

"We want to share the story of Pastor Alberto Mendoza with you. He is one of the Seminary students in Venezuela, and the Seminary has transformed his ministry. He told Dan two weeks ago that the Seminary taught him how to disicple people, how to develop small groups, how to study the Bible, how to preach, how to design worship experiences, and how to engage in community ministry. Concerning the latter, his church is partnering with another church in his town (also pastored by a Seminary student) to build a Senior Citizens' Center and feed senior citizens Monday-Saturday. Wow! What a blessing to play a small role in helping nurture this kind of strong Christian leader. He has all the tools for ministry and simply needs some gentle guidance."

Pastor Mendoza is a retired Medical Doctor and former Chief of Staff at the local hospital. His discernment of a call to ministry led him to attend the Seminary now enjoying its first year on its own site near Barquisimeto, Venezuela. He has developed a very credible ministry in Nirgua, a beautiful city a couple of hours from Barquisimeto. Pray for this new ministry to the Senior Citizens of Nirgua. There is great need there for the ministry he so selfishly and humbly shares.

Work Continues at the Seminary

Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela students Jairo and Yaneth Hernandez take time off from their regular jobs in order to work together as a team to place the tile in the seminary’s second bathroom in the Men’s Dormitory. Yaneth mixes the cement by hand and Jairo places the tiles. They are also plumbing the showers. Praise God for His servants that love the training they get at SEMWESVEN.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Restoration UMC Celebrates New Sanctuary

Reverends Carlos and Dr. Maria Perona led their congregation in celebrating their new sanctuary on February 1, 2009 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. About 700 members attended this great celebration and over a dozen made a first time commitment to follow Christ. Professor Dan Dunn, Dean of Students of the Serminario Wesleyano de Venezuela and John Butler, a long time supporter of the work of the UMC in Venezuela, attended this historic worship celebration.

In 2002 a mission team from Mount Pisgah UMC in John's Creek, GA partnered with the congregation to begin this long construction project. On February 1, pastor Perona thanked Rev. Dunn for being one of the first to believe in the work God had called he and Maria to do in this growing poorer community in Barquisimeto.

It was also Pastor Perona who led in receiving the work of the UMC in Venezuela. As the President of the Ministerial Association, he invited Warren Lathem to Barquisimeto to preach an outdoor evangelistic crusade. This association eventually led to Pastor and Dr. Perona enrolling in the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela. Their endorsement and enrollment was very important to the serminary in gaining the support of the local Christian community.

Carlos and Maria were among the first graduates of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela in August, 2008. Dr. Maria had previously become a Pediatrician and has a practice in the community where they serve. Carlos was an engineer before responding to God's call to ministry and subsequent enrollment in the seminary.

We rejoice with the Restoration United Methodist Church and our partners in ministry, Pastors Carlos and Maria Perona. May God bless them as they continue to give leadership to the work ot the Methodist Church in Venezuela. And May God bless the 8 congregations they are currently serving.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jesus Taught Us To Build On A Sure Foundation

More digging down before the wall can go up. Have you ever seen someone bend steel re-bar by hand? You saw it here first! (See previous post for more explanation.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Not Glamorous But Necessary For The Kingdom

Almost no one wants to dig ditches or pour footings for Jesus. Most of us want to serve "on flowery beds of ease," as the old Gospel song says. However, great work for the Kingdom requires doing whatever is necessary for the sake of the Gospel. How many miles did the Apostle Paul walk to spread the Gospel throughout Asia Minor and eastern Europe? How many times was he beaten, shipwrecked, cold and hungry? Why would he endure such hardship for the sake of the Gospel? He had been captured by the grace of Jesus and was compelled to share that Good News.

Sharing that Good News in 2009 in Venezuela through the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela requires digging in the hard ground to pour footings for the security wall surrounding the property. At this time, this is the most pressing structural need of the Seminary. Not glamorous, but necessary for the Kingdom.

Therefore, the work is progressing in preparation for the arrival of a mission team from Due West UMC, Marietta, GA. The foundations will be poured so Due West can construct the walls around as much of the property as time will allow. They will need to be folowed by successive work teams to complete this very large project. Not pretty, but absolutely necessary.

"Thank You" to those who have given, to our Veneezuelan partners who are working and the team from Due West UMC. It matters! For eternity!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Testimony of Student/Pastor Ramirez

Toby Ramirez is the pastor of the House of God United Methodist Church in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela and a 6th year student at the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela. This leader of the United Methodist movement in Venezuela recently had this to say about the seminary:

"The Wesleyan Seminary has affected my life in more than a positive way, in a great way, because without the Wesleyan Seminary I would not have been able to withstand or persevere in the practical day to day ministry. Pastoring is not easy, nor is teaching the word of God but the Wesley Seminary of Venezuela has affected my life. For the first time I saw holiness in the Bible and also learned the inductive Bible study method. I have come to know persons very different from me who have been examples of how to love and serve the Lord, such as the brothers that come from the United States, Pastor Warren, Dan Dunn, David Cosby and many others, as well as their wives, who have been touched by the power of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have learned many things that I have put into practice in my church and shared with other pastors. I have shared the materials I have learned at the seminary with other people and in truth it has been a beautiful experience. We give thanks to God and to all the brothers that have given each dollar and given other things they have sent down, I give thanks to God for you all. Thank you for helping to see that Venezuela would also be won for Christ. God bless you."

We (all of us at Venezuela Now, Inc. and the Wesleyan Seminary of Venezuela) are so blessed to know wonderful people as Pastor Toby and Pastora Elizabeth Ramirez. What a great opportunity God has given us to be in partnership with such effective Christian servants.