Mustard Tree Missions completes
ninth mission trip to Venezuela
MEETING KEYNOTE SPEAKER Mindi Shiver, left; her dad, John; Rick Burton; and Chris Cisneros stand together in Venezuela. Burton, of Meridian, is international director of Mustard Tree Missions, which completed a three-week mission trip last month to Venezuela. John Shiver of Tampa was keynote speaker for the "Grand Evangelistic Campaign: The Answer." Cisneros is the Venezuelan director of Mustard Tree Missions. Submitted photo
Editor's note: The following article was written by Rick Burton, international director of Mustard Tree Missions, a Meridian-based Christian mission organization founded in 1997. Burton and 11 other area
residents were missionaries in Venezuela this summer.
By Rick Burton/ special to The Star
Aug. 9, 2003
In early July, several representatives of Mustard Tree Missions completed a three-week mission trip to Venezuela, the ninth such trip by the organization since 1997.
During our stay, Mustard Tree Missions sponsored three conferences at the Hotel Principe in Barquisimeto, which was attended by more than 650 people representing 168 churches.
Sessions were conducted by the following individuals: Women's Conference Lokey Burton, Doris Gamble, Sarita Rainey and Nelda Skinner, all of Meridian, and Barbara Willis and Dianne Willis, both of Choctaw; Discipleship Training Conference James Graham of Enterprise, Thomas Ben Jr. of Choctaw and Nigel Burrows, Northern Ireland; Pastors and Leadership Conference Milford Gamble of Meridian and John Shiver of Tampa, Fla.
Shiver was keynote speaker for the "Grand Evangelistic Campaign: The Answer." During the four nights of the campaign, more than 22,000 people attended and more than 5,200 first-time salvations were recorded.
The Miracle TV Network broadcast the campaign in Barquisimeto and by satellite to more than 120 stations throughout the Spanish-speaking world, including Spain and Portugal, reaching millions of people.
In addition to the salvations, God touched the people of Venezuela in many ways. Some examples include the following:
God's hands touched a young boy (about age 14) confined to a wheelchair. He walked for the first time in his life.
A woman hospitalized for quite some time was told by doctors she had only five to six hours to live. She asked her pastor to take her to see loved ones and friends for final good-byes. While driving around Barquisimeto, they heard about the campaign on the Christian radio station and went to the baseball stadium.
The woman entered the baseball stadium in a wheelchair and her pastor carried her across the infield for prayer. She was healed and walked out of the baseball stadium. When she told her family what God had done for her, eight of her daughters received Jesus as their Savior.
University, training school
Information about Mustard Tree Missions University and Discipleship Training School was presented to officials. The school includes classroom instruction; a basic English language course; a two-week national outreach in various cities throughout Venezuela; a four-week international outreach in Aruba, Trinidad, Tobago, Curacao and Columbia; and elective training in various technical and artistic skills. Students spend 40 hours for 12 weeks (480 hours) in classroom instruction for 160 credit hours.
After reviewing our curriculum, the Rev. Freddy Perez, director of Seminario Evangelico Pentecostal Asambleas de Dios Bible College in Barquisimeto, extended full accreditation to Mustard Tree University. Upon successful completion of training, students will be awarded dual diplomas from Mustard Tree University and SEPAD Bible College.
Mustard Tree University's first class will graduate on Nov. 21.
Mustard Tree also conducted four special services primarily for teenage and college-age students with teachings from Thomas Ben Jr. and Kristi Willis, both of Choctaw, Mindi Shiver of Tampa, Ashley Bird of Scottsdale, Ariz., Maura Sullivan of Ocean City, N.J., and Erin Connor of Charleston, S.C.