Increasingly, our contacts with pastors and seminaries are resulting in us being able to help them by providing people to do some training, as well as our other forms of hands-off support for teaching. Here’s what we’ve managed so far!
July 2002: CpC’s first Bible conference at a Seminary in Eastern Cuba. We were invited to take over the seminary for three days, serving 45 pastors by expounding a book of the Bible and modelling expository teaching.
March 2005: We were handed over the seminary again for a week of lectures to all the seminary students and a dozen visiting pastors of various denominations. One speaker demonstrated how to teach the first module of the Moore Correspondence course, which itself provided invaluable teaching for the students. The other gave lectures on an overview and application of the book of Isaiah, and on how to train misioneros to run interactive Bible Studies.
September 2005: CpC was delighted to be able to supply salaries to allow both the Eastern and Western seminaries to appoint their first full-time lecturers, two each, and to provide a scholarship fund for students. (Up until this date, lectures at the seminaries were given entirely by local pastors in their free time, which was a drain on their mission.)
October 2005: One of the March lecturers was set aside by his home church to prepare over the summer and return to Cuba for another month. A post-graduate course on Jeremiah was offered to pastors and laymen studying for a qualification. Two week-long courses on Romans and Old Testament were given to a handful of misioneros. They were studying the pastor completion course (see below) and had to hitch-hike far and wide from their mission fields to attend. They reported instant usefulness in teaching their congregations and were amazed to learn and sharpen such things as justification by faith and how to preach Jesus from the whole Bible. A final week in a seminary extension further inland opened up the Romans course to misioneros studying for the completion course who were too far from the first seminary.
January 2006: Latin Link, have supplied us an English teacher via their Stride scheme. He has lengthy experience of the Caribbean and will spend a year teaching English (while learning Spanish!) at the Eastern seminary. Teaching English is vital because most books in the (meagre) library are in English, most useful Christian resources in the world are in English and many training courses (such as the 2007 summer school, below) are run in English.
April 2006: God willing, we will see an exciting development with our first conference in a seminary in the West of the island. We’re delighted that the principal of a Bible college in the UK will be delivering a week of lectures in the Eastern seminary, followed by another, inaugural, week in the Western one.
He will be joined by an old CpC hand and both their wives, plus a small group of people with an interest or curiosity in the church in Cuba, who will go along for a “holiday with a purpose”. They’ll be doing touristy things but may have opportunities to meet some of the workers whom we support. Do get in touch if you might like to join them.
Following that, a lecturer will return to the the Eastern seminary to teach a two week-long course on exegesis on the misionero completion course.
2007: We have lined up a very experienced trainer of trainers of Bible teachers to head out for some courses.
Summer 2007: There is a summer school in London for overseas workers who want to set up a course like the Cornhill Training Course. We have identified a Cuban brother with the right experience and standing, and sufficient English. We hope to raise the funds to have him attend the course; but of course, accommodation in London won’t be cheap!
2008 : Our principle of training has always been to work with the existing theological institutions in Cuba. This is to show respect to the faithful who have been serving sacrificially in the country. We identified a pastor in one seminary, in Santa Clara, who had sufficient English to study in England. So with thanks to God, and the support of the Cornhill Training Course, we were able to broker an invitation for Alexis Perez and his wife Lourdes to study at ‘Cornhill’ for the academic year 2008-9, with the commitment to return to teach in the seminary and denomination which sent him.
2010: In the autumn of 2010, we were instrumental in ten Cuban church leaders travelling to the Lausanne Conference in South Africa. Whilst Lausanne very generously provided them their flights, Cuba para Cristo was privileged in helping them obtain UK visas (so they could transit), and in looking after them whilst in England before and after the conference.
During this trip, the Rector of the Havana Baptist Seminary, Hermes Soto, shared his vision that there be Cuban pastors, living and working in Cuba, able to teach at an internationally-recognised Masters level in their seminaries. We have been privileged to work alongside this seminary, and others, to help them develop this vision.