Thank you so much for praying for our volunteer team who traveled to Cuba. They arrived back safely last night and are giving glowing reports of what God has done. I’ve asked them to write some of what they experienced in their own words and I will share some of that with you in separate emails.
The graduation went well. This was both the first students graduating in Cuba and the first Spanish speakers to graduate. The team trained facilitators for 35 new schools in the the provinces they were in.
Here is the first report written by Hunter McKenzie, one of the team members who trained facilitators in Cuba last week. He is an architect who is a member at First Baptist at a church in South Carolina. Hunter, Andrew & Marlen, who also came on the trip, broke away from the rest of the team and headed to the province of Pinar del Dio where they trained facilitators.
Hunter is on the far right
“We had an absolutely wonderful trip in Cuba. The church service and graduation ceremony on Sunday was a great success. You could see the joy and feel the sense of accomplishment on the graduate’s faces as they received their diplomas. One lady even gave her diploma a little kiss after she received it and sat down.
After our lunch on Sunday we went our separate ways, and Andrew and I traveled to Pinar del Rio. We met with Pastor Argudin on Sunday evening, and he shared his testimony with us as well as the history of how he was called to build the church in Pinar del Rio. On Monday we had 11 students arrive to begin the facilitator training. They ranged from a 13 year old girl, who had to ask permission to be absent from school, to older ladies who were in their mid sixties.
25 students graduated!
There were also young men there who were leaders in their churches as well as a 28-year-old man who had his masters in physics and mathematics and taught there as a professor. It was obvious from the moment we began the training sessions that these students were fully engaged and hungry to receive the Live School training. This was only my second time doing facilitator training, however, Andrew said that this was the best facilitator training session that he has been a part of. We heard multiple times from the students that the Live School training is something for which they had been praying for a long time.
Facilitators in training.
Each one of the students seemed very committed to understanding the roles of the facilitator in order to run their schools well. After the first day of training it took one of the older ladies three and a half hours to get home due to the poor reliability of the bus system in the area. We didn’t know if she would come for the next day of training, however she was early for our 9:00 am start on Tuesday.
Most of the students ended up staying at the church compound throughout the training, which gave us a great opportunity to get to know them better. On Monday evening, Andrew, Marlen, and I went to play dominoes with Pastor Argudin while the students organized an impromptu worship service in the chapel. They sang for hours, and when we were walking past the church on our way to bed, we found them on their knees, holding hands in a circle in passionate prayer. We joined in for a few minutes, and although we did not understand what they were saying, their passion and faith were very evident.
During the training on Tuesday, one of the middle aged women received a call that her mother was not doing well. We took a moment to pray for her mother and that this would not distract her from the training. Within less than an hour she received another call saying that her mother was doing better and was able to focus on her studies.
At the end of the training, we held a prayer for each facilitator individually that they would be protected and guided as they find their students and begin their schools. There was an incredibly sweet spirit and sense of unity throughout the training days and it was a little sad to see it end.”