DTI just returned from our 8th Cuba workshop in Bayamo "Equipping the Saints" (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Frank & Jeannette Meitz (USA) and Pablo & Martha Garcia (Mexico), along with 13 Cubans worked together to equip 145 pastors and leaders over the five-day event.
Over 12 churches were represented from 5-6 denominations. Here are a few of the stories and pictures to give you a glimpse of what God is doing in Cuba.
Our goal continues to be to train (equip) the Cuban leadership so they can take on greater ownership of the workshops. This is happening as they continue to disciple in their own churches and train new disciplers.
Cesar and Roxana are the youth ministers in their home church in Palmira. After co-teaching the last two conferences, they each led their own small group breakout, Roxana teaching about 10 women and Cesar working with about 15 young men.
They told how the teaching of the DTI materials in a house church in Palmira trans-formed the life of a bystander. Each week during the teaching a woman who was doing laundry right outside the church would listen and watch the lessons being taught through the window.
God began to touch her heart with the gospel and on the third lesson she came running to the pastor and said that she had to know this Jesus that they were talking about. That night she committed her life to the Lord and has now joined the discipleship classes. Click here to watch the video testimony.
God always overcomes the challenges we face with the logistics of dividing 145 people into 11 breakout groups in a small church building that does not have classrooms.
This conference students were literally sitting in and under stairwells, in a small living room of a neighbor’s house, and outside on the street (because the smoke from the cooking wood-burning fire filled the house). Three groups noisily gathered in the sanctuary, and one day a house was fumigated so no one could be inside the house that day.
However, the Cubans do not complain and are never distracted by noise or inconvenience. They are excited and happy to be learning and growing.
One of the logistical challenges was having enough chairs for all the students for the small group breakout teachings. Bernice, the host pastor's 23-year-old daughter, finally was able to rent the chairs for us and arranged to transport them to the church - by horse drawn carriage!
Bernice also arranged for the printing of the DTI manuals in Havana, as well as singing in the conference.
The DTI manuals continue to be precious and one of the most prized possessions for the attendees. They are printed in country for less than a third of the cost of printing them in the US.
Pastor Julio, who attended our second conference in 2010, said that five years later he is still using that same book -- and that it is falling apart because of continual use.
The people are so hungry for the teaching that they are copying the manuals by hand because of the lack of resources to print manuals throughout the year.. ...Read more
Implementation. Even in Cuba, it's easy to attend a workshop and do nothing with what was learned, despite good intentions to implement. We don't want that to happen in our workshops!
Therefore on the last day of the conference we provide an implementation opportunity for the pastors to gather with their leadership and spend an hour mapping out the strategy of what they will do when they return to their home church.
The results have been dramatic, as evidenced by the many testimonies we hear about how the discipleship process is changing lives. People are growing in their faith and their lives are being transformed. They are turning away from alcoholism and abuse and marriages are being healed.
Additionally we see some pastors and leaders returning to a conference for the second or third time to gain additional insights and understanding because they've made a commitment that the DTI materials is the bed rock of the spiritual mentoring process in their churches.
This family gave an amazing testimony the first night .... Pastor Francisco related how this woman would yell that she hated him when she walked by his home, so he and his wife began to pray for her salvation and eventually had the opportunity to share the gospel with her.
She accepted the Lord, even though she had been a Satan worshiper. When she came home to her shrine, the statue/ idol toppled over and smashed into many pieces. She took this as a message from God.
Francisco began to disciple her using the DTI materials and has seen tremendous growth in her faith and spirit. During this time her husband, who had been in jail for 15 years, was released and came home to a changed wife. She eventually led her husband to the Lord and discipled him.
Her husband shared with his son about his faith and changed life, which was one of depression and constantly being in trouble with the law. The son, who was also a rebel and outlaw, came to the Lord and is being discipled by the father. The husband-and-wife now lead a church plant in their community and are revitalizing their neighborhood.
This story is an example of 2 Timothy 2:2, where the Apostle Paul lays out a four generation discipleship model. In fact Francisco considers Pablo his spiritual parent so, in essence, there were five generations of disciples at this conference.
After meeting with the Hermanos en Cristo leadership (Pastor Luis and Pastor Julio), we set a tentative workshop for January 2017. In order to maximize resources and minimize expenses, (this past conference expense was about $9000 USD), we hope to do back-to-back conferences, probably in Cienfuegos and Villa Clara provinces.
One of our lead trainers, Pastor Ramon will host and organize the conference. That means he will travel to the different towns and cities in his province to promote DTI to the churches that are not using it and encourage the pastors to pray about attending the 2017 conference.
PLEASE PRAY for ...
Logistics for the next conference in January, 2017 (location, food, transportation, visas, attendees, etc)
Finances for the conferences — Estimated at $9,000 for one (we hope to do two back-to-back)
Resources for DTI manuals — which can be printed in country more economically.
Also prayerfully consider giving monthly just for the manuals so we can print more and more often.
Click here to securely give on-line for the Cuban ministry. Or send us an email to discuss on-going contributions by clickinghere.