The following is an except of a letter Warren Lathem wrote for Venezuela Now, an e-newsletter whose purpose is to support the work of the United Methodist Church of Venezuela in reaching the lost of that country for Christ.
Dear Friend of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela,
As I write this to you I am thanking God for your prayers, love and support for the work in Venezuela. I simply want to say, “Thank You,” report that your work is not in vain, share some good news with you and share how you can continue to be supportive of this ministry.
First, “Thank you.” As Paul said to the Saints at Philippi: “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart…”(Philippians 1:3-7),
Paul said it perfectly. Your partnership in this ministry is the source of great joy in our lives and is making an eternal difference in the nation of Venezuela. Lives are being changed, a nation is being impacted for Christ and the work of Christ is being done. I have often said this is the most rewarding and exciting ministry of my life, 40 years of which have been spent in fulltime ministry. Even in my current status of “incapacity leave” I continue to devote my full attention to the work of Christ, specifically in Venezuela. While other great ministry opportunities come to me, this is the one that owns my heart.
Last week I was privileged to represent the Seminary at the Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church at the gracious invitation of Bishop Lindsey and Jennifer Davis. The Seminary was designated the recipient of ½ of their mission offering. This very generous offering will help us make our annual mortgage payment, make some critical improvements on the campus, provide materials to the students and create more Seminary Extension opportunities across the nation. What a joy it was to be received so graciously by the members of the Conference and several relationships were formed that will reap great benefit to the work in Venezuela. I was even offered an appointment at West Bend UMC, the first church I ever pastored! In some ways it was very tempting! Those were good days in our lives.
We have more good news to tell you, more than can be contained in one letter. However, if you click DOWNLOAD TESTIMONIES, you'll find a couple of great stories of the impact the Seminary is having in Venezuela. (click "cancel" when you see the enter user-id and password box, then the testimonies will appear).
A recent survey of the students indicated they believe this Seminary is the best theological education available in Venezuela and most would have no access to theological training were it not for the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela. One of our students, Josue, is one of the most gifted worship leaders I have ever encountered in the world. He was led to Christ by a fellow student, now graduate and professor in the Seminary. Josue led worship each day while I was teaching and he did so with such rich humility and spiritual maturity and sensitivity....
... invite me to come speak to your church or small group and I promise they will be excited about the work God is doing in Venezuela. Just email or call me and we will work out the details. Have PowerPoint, will travel!!
Again, thank you, and may the Lord bless you 100-fold for all you give to the work in Venezuela.
“Your work for the Lord is not in vain.”
To read more about the ministry of the United Methodist Church in Venezuela or Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela, visit http://venezuelaforchrist.blogspot.com/.