The Last Three Years – Part 1

The Last Three Years – Part 1

The last three years of my life have been invested in a project that has grown very dear to my heart. Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to see thirteen of my favorite people in the world graduate with a Master’s Degree in youth ministry.

It has been a long journey. Personally, it has been an exhausting three years, traveling each January and June, arranging for visas, charter tickets, domestic tickets, raising awareness, translating, planning, preparing, and teaching classes. I personally taught 6 and a half of the 12 courses for the Master’s program in youth ministry.

For the students, it was 3 years of reading, pre-class assignments, post-class assignments, weeks away from family, amidst personal and professional struggles. Every student involved in the program is also involved in full time ministry, leaving little time for anything else.

But the culminating moment came on Wednesday, June 11, 2008, when they called the name of 13 of my friends, associates, and students to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas from the Santa Clara Seminary, or the Baptist Seminary of Havana, or the Baptist Seminary in Santiago, or from New Pines Seminary. To see the look of accomplishment and joy on their faces gave me an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and joy.

The investment of three years has more than paid off. We are seeing a mighty work of God in Latin America, and I’m humbled to be part of it.

In part 2 of this series, I’ll write about what these students are doing with their degrees. It’s amazing.

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Back from Cuba

I got back from Cuba on Saturday morning, after 12 long days of work there. We culminated 3 years of classes with the 4 seminaries with whom we were working there. I’ll write more. Right now I’m uploading pictures from the trip. I will be taking some time in the next few days to write about my thoughts, so stay tuned.

Unknown Heroes

Unknown Heroes

There are people in life that do great things but go unseen, or their legacy is known to only a few. Today as I was grading papers from my class on Camps and Retreats, I came across one such hero.

Helen Black was a missionary in Cuba long before the revolution. She arrived in Cuba in the 40’s and founded an interdenominational campground known as “Mi Campamento.” Her work with young people raised up some of the greatest Christians who would carry on the work of the gospel in a country where it hasn’t always been easy to be a Christian.

She was also a professor at the New Pines Seminary, and “Aunt Helen” was known for her ability to teach the Bible. She loved Cuba and dedicated her life to the Cuban people. She died in Cuba at the age of 84, but her legacy lives on in the lives of Christian leaders and young people who still attend activities at the camp she founded.

I pray that my life can have an impact like Helen’s life did. She may not be known to man, but she had an eternal impact in the Kingdom of God.

What about you? Do you have any good stories of unknown heroes who have impacted you or the lives of those around you?

(Sources: CIMPEC; Noticias)

We Could Really Use Your Help

We Could Really Use Your Help

We need your help. A few weeks ago, I sent an email to our mailing list that said that we really needed prayers for the last of 6 encounters for a Master’s program we are directing in Cuba. I have been going there each January and June for the last 2 and a half years (almost 3 years), and this time will be the last trip I make for a while.

Many of the 13 students in the program have serious issues at home or in their ministries that are affecting them in their quest to complete this once in a lifetime opportunity. Here are a few of the situations that they are facing. Please pray for them.

  • Maykel’s wife is pregnant, and her pregnancy is very high risk. She is due right around when we should be in class. Maykel has been finishing up a thesis he is researching for another degree he is completing at the same time.
  • Pancho was recently told by his doctor to avoid doing anything that requires much effort due to the amount of stress that is in his life. He is taking a sabbatical from his job as the director of the youth program at the Eastern Baptist Convention, but he is continuing his studies to obtain his Master’s in youth ministry.
  • Abdiel and Leza are expecting their first child. While this is a good thing, it’s not easy to be pregnant and do the required work for the youth ministry classes.
  • Giancarlos’s wife has very serious eye problems and may lose her sight if something isn’t done soon. They say there isn’t much that can be done.

We know that these are difficulties that need to be overcome, and we are confident that your prayers will help (James 5:16). Thanks.

(Image by: Carf on flickr)