Friday, October 21, 2011

October Exciting News From The Seminary

Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela
Last week Dan D and Chris W have just completed teaching Personal Evangelism on the campus of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela.  This is a wonderful course which gives a lot of very sound theological truth to the students as well as several practical models teaching them how to do personal evangelism. As you read this, Dan is teaching an intensive inductive study of the Gospel of Mark. These Inductive Bible Study Courses have been life-shaping for the students in the Seminary and their congregations. They effectively equip the church to guard against the many theological distortions present in the church in Latin America.

As you may recall from our last letter, Jane and I were scheduled to be in Venezuela teaching and preaching at this time.  However, due to my Mother’s declining health she was placed in Hospice Care and we prayerfully decided our first obligation was to be with her during what the doctors believe to be her last days. 
While we regret not going to Venezuela, we still plan to go down to teach in January and February. In the meantime, the work of the Seminario Weselyano de Venezuela will continue to have its remarkable impact on the leaders of the church in Venezuela.

In addition to the Evangelism Course Dan and Chris  taught this month, alumnus Dr. Alberto M taught students how to Lead or Teach Self-Confrontation.  They have already spent three courses learning and experiencing the material. This course teaches them how to take this excellent material back to their own churches and use it with their own congregations. This kind of experience has not been readily available to the church in Venezuela in the past.

As you know, this ministry only exists because people like you have heard God’s voice and have responded generously on behalf of this ministry. We are constantly amazed at God’s provision.  Just when we think we are at the end of our means, God supplies. God does this through you.

Therefore, I want to thank you for the great impact your prayers and giving are having in Venezuela.  Lives are being transformed by the grace of Jesus and a nation is being impacted for Christ.

For example, one ministry born out of the seminary occurs every Saturday evening through the Ondas de Paz UMC. Pastors and members take food and beverages to the main hospital in Barquisimeto. The medical experience in Venezuela is very different from what we experience here.  Families gather at the hospital and provide much of the care received by the patient.  It is a time of great stress and financial difficulty.  The church takes the food and distributes to the waiting families and often to the patients. They also share the Gospel of Jesus as the opportunity arises.  Many have come to faith in Christ and have joined the church through this one ministry.  It is one of dozens born out of the educational experience of the pastors in the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela.

Your giving makes that life changing experience possible. However the Seminary continues to require your support.  Not only do we provide the faculty, staff, books and materials for the students at a very small cost to them, we provide a campus which houses the Seminary. And when the Seminary is not in session the campus hosts a retreat ministry for the churches in Venezuela.  Many have come to Christ on the Seminary Campus through this ministry. This has become a vital part of our ministry to the United Methodist Church of Venezuela as well as dozens of other churches. In the next few weeks we will be announcing an exciting ministry addition to the work of the Seminary.  God has already confirmed this direction in many tangible ways and we are almost ready to tell you about it…but not quite.  Please pray with us regarding this new thing God is doing.

What are our specific needs?  First, we need your prayers.  This is critical. There is an enemy which is trying at every turn to stop the ministries of the Seminary. For example, on Monday of the last session several students were prevented from getting to the Seminary due to streets being blocked by demonstrators.  Some might see that as coincidental, but not if they have worked in Latin America. There is a spiritual warfare being waged and the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela is on the front lines. Also please pray for Dan and Nancy  as they not only deal with the Seminary and the day to day challenges of living in Venezuela, but also as Dan continues to write and edit the final version of his PhD. dissertation and prepares to defend it before the faculty of Asbury Theological Seminary.

Secondly we need your gifts.  We just had to add two new water tanks (cisterns) to the campus at considerable cost due to the unreliable supply of water from the city.  In just two months we have to make our annual mortgage payment.  We have a modest loan, interest free as long as we pay the principal on time.  Each year we have to pay $30,000. This year’s payment will mean we have almost cut the original loan amount in half.  We desperately need your help to pay this mortgage. 

You may send your gift to:
Venezuela Now, Inc.  PO Box 1655  Duluth, GA  30096
Or you can give through PayPal.

Please prayerfully consider making a very sacrificial gift for this work.  Jesus is be glorified through your sacrifice and eternal lives and destinies are transformed.
Thank you for your generous gift for this ministry.  I am touched by your love and generosity.
In Christ,
Warren Lathem

PS  No US citizen receives any compensation from the gifts you give for the Seminary. We do pay the salaries of our staff in Venezuela, but the North Americans have to raise their support in addition to what you give for the Seminary.