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The above photo is a view of Havana from the statue of Jesus that overlooks the harbor. It’s a spectacular view, but it’s not the best thing about traveling to Cuba. The best part of visiting Cuba is not the gorgeous view of the harbor or the vintage cars or even the delicious coffee. The best part of visiting Cuba is visiting the friends and collaborators in the ministry.
I had the enormous privilege of visiting Cuba from February 13-19. I traveled with Jeremy White, executive pastor of Springdale Community Church here in Louisville, and the purpose of the trip was to visit the three Centers for Youth Ministry that are teaching YMI curriculum in their Seminaries across the island.
It was so much fun to see many of my former students, connect with them again, hear the stories of what God is doing in their lives and how He is using them to reach and disciple youth and their families. I want to take a few minutes to introduce you to some of them.
The new Seminary director is Barbaro, one of my former students. He is doing a great job to lead the Seminary into a new phase of development with a new leadership team. On his team is Abdiel, the director of the Center for Youth Ministry. Abdiel and his wife Leza are also graduates from the Master’s program in youth ministry that we taught from 2006-2008.
The youth ministry program in Havana is lead by Abdiel and has a great team of professors who are teaching and training students to minister in the local church. While I was in Havana, I preached in Abdiel and Leza’s church and had the chance to meet their children, who I hadn’t met before. Afterwards, we spent a great afternoon in their home.
After spending some time in Havana, we went to the center part of the island and met with the Seminary in Santa Clara. Nelson is the new director of the Center for Youth Ministry in this Seminary. He was not one of our original 13 students, but he took the courses from one of our graduates and now leads the program. He is a great young leader with a lot of potential. I am excited about what he is doing in Santa Clara and around the center part of the country.
After meeting with Nelson in Santa Clara, we made the long trip to Santiago. We stopped off in one city close to Santiago and saw a former student of mine, but we didn’t stay long. We were on the way to see one last Center for Youth Ministry and the director whose name is Randy.
Randy has been the director of the youth ministry degree program in Santiago for a few years now, and it was great to see him and meet his team that is working with him both at the Seminary and in the youth department of the Eastern Baptist Convention.
They have been working through a lot of challenges and are doing some great things to train local church youth workers and provide them with resources. While we were sitting in their office, they were finishing up a book of Bible studies that will be used in youth Sunday School classes all over the Eastern part of Cuba.
I wanted to spend this trip reconnecting and encouraging the ministry that is going on there. Overall, I think it was a great success. Thank you so much for your prayers and support of our ministry.
Please keep praying for each of these Seminary programs as they continue to train youth workers for local churches.