|Over 70 students already registered for our December class, most of them new students. We expect as many as 100!
During the recent International Leadership Institute held on the campus of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela and sponsored by the Seminary, we realized many of these 80 new and emerging leaders of the church in Venezuela had no formal training in ministry.
Dr. Dan Dunn, Academic Dean, and I discussed this fact along with others such as declining enrollment at other private schools in Venezuela, the economic realities of making a living in a country which has experienced over 30% annual inflation each year for over 10 years, and is already over 60% in 2013, and the huge unemployment realities for which no official numbers are released.
But the piece of economic news that broke our hearts was when we learned one of our most faithful students, Maria, was only eating one meal a day in our cafeteria due to the cost. She did not tell us this and would be embarrassed if she knew we knew. But our staff in the kitchen noticed she was only eating lunch and began to inquire as to the reason. She humbly told them she could not afford to eat the other meals. Each meal she missed saved her about $0.25 per meal. Hard for us to believe, but that's the hard reality of life for most in Venezuela. Maria gave up eating in order to pay her tuition ($2.00US per week) and her room costs as well as bus fare to the Seminary (6 hours one way).
All this caused us to prayerfully consider:
1. The tremendous need for well-educated Christian leaders in the nation of Venezuela.
2. The question of "How many more Maria's are there who would come to the Seminary, but simply cannot afford it?"
3. Given the above, how can we expand the reach and impact of the Seminary?
So, to test some theories we were forming and confirm what appeared to be true, we decided to offer a foundational course in Biblical Studies at absolutely no cost to the participants of the ILI training, any other new students, and our existing students. So the first week of December, two Venezuelan professors, Wilmer Perez and Josue Colina, will team teach or co-teach this class.
At last report, well over 70 students had pre-registered (something Venezuelans almost never do) and our staff expects as many as 100 will attend this new class! Glory to God!
While the week of class is free of charges, it still is not free for the students. They have to give up a week of income and/or potential income while they devote themselves to this study. It also is not free for the Seminary. I estimate the cost for the class to be about $5,000US - money we simply have no budget to cover. But we have learned to trust God.
While working on how to share this news and appeal with you, Jane and I visited with a church youth group in Roswell. We made no appeal for funds, simply shared with them the opportunity for a summer youth mission team to Venezuela. At the end of the discussion, the Youth Minister announced the youth would tithe from their annual pumpkin sale to Venezuela Now. $1500! From youth!
So we know God will supply the money for this class. We just want to be sure to give you the opportunity to be a part of the source of God's provision. Now we need $3500 for this class. Would you, your class or your church be how God meets this need?
This $3500 would not seem like so much if we were not already facing a $30,000 annual mortgage payment by December 31. We have $50 in our Capital Fund. How will we pay this? The same way we have paid every payment since 2009: simply by trusting God to supply. He has each year. This year we are praying for not just the $30,000, but for the whole remaining debt, $50,000 (including the 2013 payment of $30k). Could God give us $50,000 instead of just the $30,000? Our bold prayer is that he will.
Will you be a part of a miracle of God's provision by making a generous offering to Venezuela Now, Inc? Please prayerfully consider what God wants to do through you in reaching a nation for Christ. Then make out a check, or use PayPal, and give generously as God has blessed you. Just place your check in the enclosed envelope and mail it back to us today.
God is doing some amazing things in Venezuela, too amazing to tell in one letter. But I will share one: on Thursday night before we left Venezuela, Josue Colina (yes, one of the Venezuelan alumni and professors) reported that his cell group and others from his church had just started a four-week evangelism effort in their city. The first night 167 new people became followers of Jesus!
President, Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela.
Home: 770 889 6423
Cell: 404 502 5678
Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela
Venezuela Now, Inc.
PO Box 1655 Duluth, GA 30096
Home: 2865 Hightower Rd. Ball Ground, GA. 30107