One man’s step of obedience has impacted thousands of lives! He responded to the Lord’s prompting to translate the BTCP curriculum into Spanish for use in Cuba, and it has resulted in thousands of pastors and church leaders being equipped and trained since 1997. In the words of BTCP’s implementing partner, Alex Schafler, who translated the BTCP curriculum into Spanish, “For nearly 17 years I taught this excellent program in Cuba. Thousands of dedicated students have taken a hold of BTCP and have taught it all over the island.”
BTCP training in Cuba has continued to grow and have an effect on the local churches. Although accurate reporting is difficult due to the conditions in Cuba, we are conservatively confident of the following:
- Over 2,500 BTCP students have completed their training and graduated.
- There are currently in excess of 1,700 students in training.
- The net effect on the church and nation of Cuba will only be fully known in eternity.
Crossing Cultures International (CCI), Ric Hesse
CCI will be returning to Cuba in November 2016 to equip seminary trained leaders in Cuba to use the Bible Training Centre for Pastors to train and equip their church leaders. During our exploratory trip in March 2016 it became readily apparent that the explosive growth of the church in Cuba over the past 15 years has exceeded the ability of traditional training programs to equip sufficient numbers of leaders in the church to effectively shepherd the people.
One pastor I spoke to said that he has nearly 400 people that crowd into his church each week for worship and to be taught the Word of God, but that does not come close to meeting the needs and desire of the people in his town. This pastor oversees 10 house churches where believers gather. These house churches are often led by lay leaders, often the home owner, who have little training or preparation, but have a passion for Christ and to ensure His people have access to His word.
The vision of CCI in Cuba is to train and equip seminary trained pastors and church leaders with the vision, passion, and materials to effectively equip house church leaders with the knowledge, skills, and Christian character essential to effectively lead their house churches in accord with Paul’s word to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2.
Camino Global, Dr. Chris Matthews
BTCP has partnered with Camino Global for many years in various Central American countries. In Cuba, the partnership has involved three classes in two cities in the island and among prison chaplains. In total, slightly less than 100 men are in training via the BTCP materials. The students actively evangelized around 700 people and have led close to 300 people to faith in Christ over the past three months (April to June 2016).
In a joint meeting with several agencies using BTCP in Cuba back in 2012, it was determined that close to 1,300 men and women had been trained with the materials and graduated. Another 1,200 more were in process of being trained. The question that arose from the meeting was what does the Holy Spirit wish to do with so many men and women from this island nation? Among the Cuban students themselves is a desire to serve the Lord in missions in their island and beyond.
Some of the challenges for prayer:
- Due to travel restrictions, the ministry of BTCP in Cuba must be coordinated by nationals in the island.
- Priorities of fundraising for other ministry projects causes these coordinators to travel to the US to speak in churches and seek assistance.
- Eventually the coordinator and his family immigrate to the US to pursue a better standard of living for their family.
- The several agencies have to begin from zero again to rebuild the ministry of BTCP in the island.
- It would be ideal to have a training location in the island to provide steady Bible training for future missionaries using BTCP materials for that training.