How does a national convention of Baptists celebrate its sixtieth anniversary? What better way than to develop a strategy of evangelism for four mountain states? In a few days, I will be traveling to Venezuela for a prayer seminar and evangelism clinic with pastors from the Venezuela Baptist Convention, pastors who believe that the best way to say “thank you” to God for making it possible for them to have the freedom to preach the Gospel. Many of these pastors and their people remember when evangelicals did not have this freedom and were severely persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church.
Now, after six decades, the Baptists want to see a great harvest of souls brought to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They want to claim the “greater works” promise made by the Lord Jesus Christ in the Upper Room just hours before He went to the Cross (John 14:12-14). Jesus looked to the future and predicted that His followers would do “greater works” than He had done. Anyone knowing His works and words would ponder, “Incredible! How can this be?” Jesus was quite plain. He told them that when He returned to the Father that they could do something that they had never done before—come to the Father in His name asking Him to work. Prayer is the work that must come before all other work. The leaders of the Venezuela Baptist Convention have a vision of reaching many for salvation and they understand that they must do the prayer work. God is able! God is willing! God is waiting!
This is Phase Two of three phases to celebrate the sixtieth year of the convention. Phase One was completed in March and involved a team traveling to major cities in Western Venezuela along a thousand mile arc westward beginning and ending in Caracas teaching believers the power and purpose of prayer since prayer is the work that must come before all other work. In addition to Caracas, the cities chosen were Valencia, Barquisimeto, Acarigua, Guanare, Barinas, Merida, Santa Barbara, Valera, Maracaibo, and San Cristobal. Pastors, leaders and believers from each area were invited to a seminar usually hosted by First Baptist churches. There were twelve seminars with 1,600 in attendance. The number included 140 pastors. Those attending came from 183 churches. The aim was to whet the spiritual appetites for Phase Two —a week of concentrated training for 500 pastors in prayer and evangelism at Camp Carabobo (130 miles from Caracas). This phase is scheduled July 31—August 9.
The pastors then will travel to four states in the Andes Mountains (Portuguesa, Maridi, Lara, and Zulia) and evangelize for two weeks. This will be Phase Three. The goal is to win many Venezueleans to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Financial and prayer support. In order to provide the prayer seminars, we need financial and prayer support for each venture. Usually, I write to our partners and friends laying out a budget that covers travel, food, lodging, and prayer seminar workbooks. The approach that I follow is simple: trust God and tell the people. This letter, however, is different; I am asking for prayer support. The amazing thing is that we exceeded the March budget by $2,341, enough to cover the expenses for the August work. Pray for traveling grace for Adam Nathanson, my interpreter, and me. Pray that the Holy Spirit will bless every word spoken so that those attending will understand the purpose and power of prayer.
At least one more trip to Venezuela. Already, the leaders have asked that we replicate the March program in Western Venezuela in Eastern Venezuela. Adam Nathanson and I have agreed to do this and we plan to settle on the dates during this trip.