One aspect that arose from the conversations about Masters’ level courses was the need for biblical languages in Cuba.
There was some Greek being taught, and a little Hebrew, but very little.
We knew of Hebrew teachers in seminary who were unable to read even one verse of the Old Testament.
In God’s goodness, and through the provision of a number of generous people around the world, we’ve been able to introduce a programme to alter substantially the quality of biblical language teaching in Cuba.
In 2015, ten professors from six denominations were brought to Tyndale House, Cambridge, for a nine week intensive in Hebrew. All teaching was in Spanish. Each person had been proposed by their seminary, and selected through an exam (there were 15 who took the exam, but we ‘only’ had funding for ten).
Six of these ten returned for a further six weeks intensive in April and May.
The results were spectacular. Whilst at the beginning, not one could read a whole verse of the Old Testament without help, by the end, all six could read four chapters of the Old Testament in a day, without help.
Four of these six are returning to study in July and August 2015, to continue intensive language training.
We estimate that these ten will be responsible for Hebrew teaching in nine different denominations in 2016, including one in the Dominican Republic. We have been told that hundreds of people will begin Hebrew language training in September in seminaries across the island.
Two of the ten will become full time Hebrew teachers, with the commitment to train others to their high level, and for them to keep improving.
We will also seek to continue to support these ten, and others they include in their group, in further studies, through week long intensives in Cuba. (If you know someone who speaks Spanish and has good Hebrew, please let us know – we’d love them to get involved in Cuba! Contact us!
Meanwhile, under God, we are beginning plans to repeat the same programme for Greek in 2016.
On Wednesday 3rd June, 2015, there was a presentation by nine of the ten in the Havana Baptist seminary, to share the successes of what they learnt, and how already they are understanding God’s word in a richer way.
Cuba para Cristo shared a vision which we pray will see supporters from around the world unite in the service of denominations across Cuba. The vision was 2,020 for 2020 : that is, 2,000 people studying Hebrew, with 20 people at a sufficient level to begin PhD studies at Cambridge university or equivalent. We shared a similar vision for Greek.
No one denomination will be able to achieve those numbers. But together, it is highly possible – and will, we are sure, result in tremendous blessing for the church of Cuba, and therefore, we trust, the country as a whole, as they come to know the glories of God more wonderfully through a better knowledge and understanding of his word. Again, if you’d like to be part of this vision – a vision we trust will change the church in Cuba and across Latin America, then we’d love you to be in touch!