Learning From a Pioneer, Dr. Allen Thompson
I was blown away by all that the Lord is doing in Cuba. Fortunately, I ended up arriving in Havana one day before we began the training. This gave me some time to interact with Dr. Allen Thompson, a long time missionary to Cuba. Allen’s parents first came to Cuba as missionaries, and they helped start the Los Pinos Nuevos Seminary.
Dr. Thompson served in Cuba as a missionary, but he was forced to leave when the revolution began in 1960. Allen is now in his 80’s, but you can’t tell when you are around him. He has so much life and energy, and he is still going strong. I pray that the Lord will still use me in a similar way when I am in my 80’s.
Allen and his family have such deep relationships in Cuba, and they’ve stayed connected to their many friends over the years. This foundation laid years ago led one of the leaders to call Dr. Thompson five years ago. Pastor Pachy, who is now leads Los Pinos Nuevos called Allen and asked for help. Allen had been working with Redeemer New York’s City to City worldwide outreach, but when Pachy called he came to help.
The Explosive Growth of the Church
The people had a foundation from the seminary, but many of them were legalistic, so Allen and the people he brought in to help began to teach and preach the gospel. This brought about transformation and a hunger for more.
The fact that the people are very isolated, and even bored because of the lack of entertainment gave the people a greater hunger to study and to learn. That’s how the church began to grow.
Pastor Pachy says he doesn’t know exactly how many churches they have, but he estimates that they have about 40,000! I mean that is amazing and explosive growth. It sounds similar to the type of things that happened through the house church in China.
The Fuel of Prayer & Training
As I interacted more with Dr. Thompson I realized that prayer played a big part in the movement. They believed in it. They taught it, and they practiced it.
Another important component was gospel centered training. Allen said they use non formal training, which means that they don’t give certificates of completion, and the lessons are adjusted to the culture and the level of the students education.
One of the principle ways that they measure success is that they ask those taking the training if they are sharing the material with others. Most of them are. They encourage them to share the material as soon as they’ve taken the class.
That’s how multiplication happens!
While I was there I began to dream. I began to wonder how could we use this in Mexico. We don’t have all the same circumstances in Mexico, but surely parts of this model would work. I think it’s a brilliant idea to encourage the students to share what they’ve learned with others as soon as they can.
Pray with us that the Lord will guide and lead us and show us the way!
In His Grip, Dave