Prayers for Venezuela: John 1:43-51
The Gospel of John insists from the very beginning on the incarnation of Jesus, the Messiah. This emphasis is crucial for the Christian faith because it confirms a profound conviction: Christianity is a historical faith! All the arguments presented in this interesting narrative are based on a key statement: “From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (1.16)
In verses 43-51 the story moves to a missionary moment when Jesus goes to Galilee, calling men to become his disciples, even in the midst of doubt and uncertainty. Jesus proclaims the truth of the gospel and the certainty that they will see “greater things” (1.50b) coming from God.
On December 17, 2012 the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela celebrated in a public worship service, the 90th birthday of Bishop emeritus Amelia Rodriguez, the widow of the founding bishop of the Pentecostal church, Exeario Sosa. It was a time of real joy and singing (she is a talented and accomplished piano player and choir director).
Amelia Rodriguez pastured a small congregation in Uveral, Poertuguesa for many years. Her ministry there included organizing a children’s choir. She also helped in training musicians for the denomination and one of her children, Bishop Eseario Sosa, is a composer on his own and well-known in Latin America and the Caribbean in ecumenical circles for his many songs, some of them translated into English.
The main theme for this big celebration was, “God’s Abundant Grace”. I preached on 2 Corinthians 9.8-15. The emphasis in my sermon pointed to the fact that Paul stresses the need to be grateful at all times. Paul also claims that the grace of God is to be shared. And we have to give thanks to God, again and again for all God’s blessings. And we gave Amelia Rodriguez a standing ovation. Her 11 children, 32 grandchildren and 42 great grandchildren applauded with love and gratitude. The whole congregation was rejoicing!
Oh, God for the life of Bishop Amelia Rodriguez we give you thanks. Her many gifts are an expression of your grace and caring love for her, her family and the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela.
We pray for Venezuela, a country facing many challenges and crucial moments. We pray for a reconciling process towards the national election of October 7, 2012. May your peace be a source of abundant life and the promotion of justice in times like these.
We pray for Presiding Bishop Gamaliel Lugo, Auxiliary Bishop Eseario Sosa, the regional coordinators and the National Pastoral Council of the Evangelical Pentecostal Union. Give them the vision and the patience to lead this Pentecostal denomination. Grant your wisdom to local pastors in their congregations and to the national coordinators of health, educational, communication and youth ministries spread all over the country.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Venezuela:
Every year for the last few years the Global Partners Committee of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ in the Central Rocky Mountain Region/Conference has organized delegations as part of an exchange program with the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela. The medical delegation, that usually goes in October, which includes doctors, nurses and health counselors, is the most impacting of these kinds of delegations. The impact includes the healing moments, but also the spiritual growth of those involved, the sisters and brothers of Central Rocky Mountain and the sisters and brothers of the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela. I have seen how they share moments of healing, giving and receiving, God’s grace. And a real partnership has been established. A mutuality in mission has been nurtured and matured, in an ongoing experience of solidarity and learning, been good stewards of God’s love. These delegations travel to isolated areas of Venezuela, including the Wayu indigenous territory, small towns like Piritu in Portuguesa state and in the highlands of Carache in Trujillo State. And the people of Venezuela are forever grateful!
(Prayer & Mission Moment by Carmelo Alvarez)
Video Resources on Venezuela:
- History of GM Partnership in Venezuela: Carmelo Alvarez http://globalministries.org/resources/multimedia-resources/videos/video-mission-moments/venezueal-partnership-alvarez.html
- Social and Political Context of the Work of the Church in Venezuela: Carmelo Alvarez http://globalministries.org/resources/multimedia-resources/videos/video-mission-moments/venezuela-context-alvarez.html
Global Ministries International Partners in Venezuela:
- Center for Theological Studies of Venezuela(CEVET):
- Union Evangelica Pentecostal Venezolana (UEPV):
For more info about partners and projects in Venezuela: http://globalministries.org/lac/countries/venezuela/
Global Ministries Missionary to Venezuela:
Carmelo Alvarez has been appointed to serve the Latin American Evangelical Pentecostal Commission (CEPLA) and the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela (UEPV) based in Chicago, Illinois from 2002 to 2010. He serves as program consultant and visiting professor for the CEPLA and the UEPV.