US Missions Foreign Missions
REPORT OF ONSITE VISIT TO THE
TRANS-CULTURAL MISSIONARY TRAINING CENTER
February 16 – 20, 2008
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I have just returned from a most spiritually rewarding trip to Venezuela in order to discover facts and to set-up a Mission Opportunity to assist with the completion of the Trans-cultural Missionary Training Center in Valencia, Venezuela. It is being built on the grounds of the 160 acre National Assembly Grounds, Camp Carabobo, of the Venezuelan Baptist Convention. I was hosted by IMB Missionaries Paul Tinley and Violetta Ramirez, who will be our Hosts in April. Also attending was Missionary Hugh Redmond as Construction Coordinator.
After making a thorough inspection of the existing construction status, we met with Alexander Montero, the Executive Director of the 460 Churches of the Venezuelan Baptist Convention, as well as Jacobo Garcia, the Director of the Venezuelan Baptist Mission Board. I had worked with each of these wonderful, spiritual leaders in May of 2004, when I designed the Training Center. This building is the first Phase of a seven (7) Phase project which will allow their Mission Vision to grow, over the years.
I met a Venezuelan couple who travel to a remote Indian Tribe in their Country three times a week, and still have full-time jobs. I also met another couple who live among the Indians whose homes are over the swamps and earn their living as fishermen, with dug-out canoes. I met another young lady who is praying about joining the Venezuelan missionary in Marocco, who has established a home for the disabled people, who are outcast by their society. That compassionate Mission is leading those Disabled to know Christ and is influencing the family and friends of those people to inquire more about Jesus. They also have a Missionary couple in India. These are their opportunities to share the Gospel. Their Mission work is already underway and funded by them.
Venezuelan Baptist Missionaries are currently trained in a former Missionary home and in local Churches. They need to have a more concentrated teaching opportunity, with onsite lodging, and led by one to three teachers. Potential Missionaries will come to this Center for training from throughout Venezuela and perhaps other South American Countries.
To say the least, I was inspired by their dedication, their vision and the creative ways these fine Christians are sharing Christ beyond their neighborhoods! We can learn from them.
I am convicted that God is definitely leading the Venezuelan Mission Leaders to do evangelism, with their career Missionaries, which cannot be done by Americans, or any other Westerners. We cannot get Visas and would not be received well by Middle and Far Eastern people. The IMB has stated that this is a major step towards sharing Jesus with Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist nations where we are not welcome. This project is an opportunity for some of us to actually help with getting the Gospel to those people, in a meaningful way.
A building like this will continue to house in-depth training for generations of their Missionaries. It is also obvious that the time when all Americans may have to leave Venezuela is much nearer than we want to think. Half of our Baptist Missionaries have already lost their Visas or have had unfortunate complications with their ability to stay, long-term. This Center could continue to produce good work and leadership for God, even after we are unable to have IMB Missionaries there.
Builders for Christ will send a Team to Camp Carabobo, Venezuela on Friday afternoon, April 4, 2008, and return on April 13, 2008. We have six (6) individuals committed, at this time; we need about 30 to do the work necessary to get the entire Training Center far enough along that it can be completed in May.
The work we need to do includes: building the Electrical Panels and Service Entrance; extending the underground Power Wiring from the Public source about 1,000 linear feet; installing about eight (8) room sized Air Conditioning Units and their Condensing Units/Refrigerant Lines; installing Plumbing for a small Kitchen and for the third Toilet Room in the Center; installing duplex outlets, switches and pulling the wire to them in most of the Center; installing lay-in ceilings in most of the rooms, including lighting fixtures and wiring of them; installing several Exterior lights; pouring about 1,000 linear feet of sidewalk; installing a Supplemental Water Tank and piping; some insulating and weatherproofing; some painting; cleaning of Interior and Exterior brick; spraying a water repellant coating on some of the Exterior brick; touching-up the mortar around the Electrical devices throughout the building. Several of these tasks can be completed by anyone and most require one to four assistants to accomplish the work. These assistants can do invaluable work with modest instruction by those already committed to go on this Mission.
I have asked the Mission Board to buy all of the tools, except our personal tools and very special tools for Plumbing and Electrical work. I gave them a list of ninety, for starters.
I also began a complete list of the Materials required to complete the building and asked them to buy all of it now, not at the last minute, and stock all of it in the building for us. Some of us have agreed to give the Venezuelan Mission Board enough money to buy two-thirds of what they will need; they agreed to prioritize funds to buy the rest. I reminded them that we must have every piece of Material to do our work, without having to go back and forth to the Supply Houses.
I also asked them to have a few Laborers available to do the manual labor of our work. I told them that “many of us are not young or strong, just dedicated and led by key individuals who are already among those committed to go”. For instance, these local workers will excavate the trench for the Electrical Power Line extension before we get there. They will place the small gravel bedding in the trench and mix the concrete protective encasement in a mortar mixer, and pour it, under our direction, after we install the conduit and wire. Likewise for the sidewalks. We may have local Electrical personnel join us.
Each Team member will make their own reservations to Miami, Florida, on the afternoon of April 4, 2008 and rendezvous at the Hampton Inn Airport South (Blue Lagoon), beside the Airport (Hampton Inn, 777 NW 57th Avenue, Miami, FL; telephone 305-262-5400) Lawrence will make these reservations, two persons per room, unless you ask for a single room. Each individual will make their own reservation and pay for their own ticket to and from Miami. However, Lawrence will make reservations for those of us leaving from Birmingham. Lawrence will make reservations on American Airlines Flight 935 from Miami to Caracas, departing at 11:40 am, Saturday, April 5, 2008. The IMB Missionaries will meet us at the Airport in Caracas and carry us to Camp Carabobo for the night, at the Training Center. We will sleep in the three rooms that are 90% complete (pictured above), including air conditioning, there. We will eat all but four of our meals in the Assembly Grounds Dining Room, at Camp Carabobo. We will be careful about what we eat. Sunday we will worship at First Baptist Church in Valencia and return to the Training Center to begin setting-up our work that afternoon. We will work until mid-day Saturday, then the IMB Missionaries will take us to an Airport Motel in Caracas. Our American Airlines flight departs at 9:15 a.m. (Airport arrival will need to be 6:15 a.m. on Sunday morning). Once in Miami (at 1:05 p.m.), each of us will continue home on our own. We will need 2½ hours from arrival to departure from Miami for all factors. For those departing from Birmingham, I will make the reservations on Delta, departing at 1:29 p.m. on April 4, 2008 and returning Sunday, April 13, 2008, at 8:54 p.m.
SCHEDULE OF PAYMENTS
- $1,500 due upon commitment to be a part of the Team, not later than March 18, 2008, to Lawrence. Make checks payable to: Builders for Christ. These checks will be deposited into Brookwood Baptist Church’s designated fund account.
- Balance of $450 due by March 27, 2008, to Lawrence.
- The actual price of each person’s trip fee may vary, depending upon the cost of air travel on the date your commitment is received. We will purchase airline tickets daily.
For all those committing to the project, I will furnish more detailed information and coordinated reservations. The concept is that I will make all reservations starting with the Hotel in Miami (after Supper) and ending with the American flight back to Miami. I intend to cover all expenses including tips, gasoline for the Mission vehicles, meals, lodging, and American Airlines tickets. Again, I will purchase the tickets from Birmingham to Miami, and back, for those desiring that I do that. The total expense for everything from Miami to Miami is about $1,505 and $445 for the flight there, if from Birmingham. These are the prices, today. Booking flights later exposes us to increased expenses. You will cover your meals in the USA.
You will need a current Passport, but not a Visa. Sometimes this takes awhile, so be sure you have this in process, at once, if needed. You will fill out an Immigration Card on the plane to Caracas and on return.
Count on me to follow general description with a much more detailed Agenda. I will furnish that to all of those committing to the project (Option One) and to those intending to go, but not ready to commit (Option Two).
Let us remind ourselves that our work is not a construction project, it is a Spiritual Mission for advancing God’s Kingdom. This project is sure to have a multiplier effect on that purpose.
Please pray about joining us, yourself. Likewise, share this letter with many others you know to allow God to stir their hearts. Obviously, we need to buy tickets very soon, if we are to avoid substantial airline price increases. I look forward to hearing from you, if you feel led by God, very soon.
In His Service,
Lawrence L. Corley
… A network of Baptist Laypersons with a vision in their hearts to build churches for Congregations who are actively leading others to know Christ as Savior