Posts Tagged ‘Los Pinos Nuevos’

Cuba Rocks My World

Havana at night

The main reason Cuba rocks my world is because of the people. They are an amazing  and resilient people. All they’ve suffered through, which is heart breaking, yet God in His grace has used their pain to draw them to himself.

I find it hard to walk through the streets of Havana and see the long lines as the people wait to buy some very basic products for their needs. One particular instance comes to mind as I saw a young man wearing a baseball cap. The hat represented a Major League Baseball team. I wondered where he got the cap in a place where there seems to be so little. I was reminded of the stores in the USA that only sell hats for sports teams. There are wall to wall hats! The contrast of abundance to scarcity hit me.

Hunger & Hope

Our Cuban friends, Yamil, Yuni, Melissa, Ariadna and Frank with Jim Moon and Dave

It saddens me to think of all that my Cuban friends have suffered through over years. One of them told me, “we all have the same, we share the same misery.” Yet, I see a people who the Lord has made hungry for something more than this life has to offer. That brings me some comfort, since Hannah died I too long for a hope that this world can never provide.

These are some of the reasons I love getting to know my new Cuban friends, and to be able to encourage them and to learn from them. They enrich my life, as I hope I’m able to strengthen their faith and life in Him.

While I was in Cuba I helped train our friends from Los Pinos Nuevos in their coaching skills. I was with many of them last year for coaching training as well, and it was so good to see how much they’ve grown and improved.

God’s Rich Blessings!

Growing together in coaching

I feel in many ways that even though I go to help them on their journey as they aspire to multiply coaches in Cuba, and ultimately to see the church expand, but I’m the one who comes away having been blessed.

Dawn and I prayed even before our dear, daughter passed away for an increased reach in our ministry. We long to see the expansion of the gospel as we serve the Lord. Since Hannah moved to heaven that desire has only grown.

I give thanks for our amazing Cuban friends. They truly rock my world, and the Lord uses them to strengthen my faith. I can’t say I understand it all, but I want more of whatever the Lord has to give. I want more of Him, and I pray that this desire will overflow and spill over so that many are blessed and the kingdom expands for God’s glory. Give us more Lord! Hallelujah!

In His Grip, Dave

Learning From a Pioneer, Dr. Allen Thompson

Dr. Allen Thompson, The Master at Work

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

Interaction during the training

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

The Students enjoying themselves while learning.

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

Not What I Expected


I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to Cuba. I had heard about the poverty, and the oppression, but I didn’t know what I would encounter. It broke my heart to see how much the people have suffered, as I listened to their stories. Despite the pain many have found Christ, which has given them hope to overcome their circumstances.

Cuba is a tale of two cities. There is plenty of natural beauty in the country. Yet there is also much darkness and pain. In Havana many homes and surrounding buildings were built more than 100 years ago. What wonderful architecture! It reminded me of some of the cities I’ve been to in Europe. Sadly, many of the buildings are crumbling. They are not able to maintain them. Most of them are in need of a paint job and more.

The Amazing Growth of the Church

Allen Thompson & Jim Moon Jr. who led the training team

There’s much more to the story as the church is busting at the seams. Wow! So exciting to see God at work. The government doesn’t allow them to build new churches, so they have to meet in houses.

The people do not have many options for entertainment. Internet access is very limited. The TV is controlled by the government, so not much in the way of interesting shows to watch. They also don’t have many movie theaters.

This leaves the people with a lot of time. They are relational. The leaders of the churches build relationships with people in their neighborhood. Then they invite them to study the Bible. There is much spiritual hunger, so the people come. They encounter Christ in the gospel, and the church grows.

One of the missionaries, Allen Thompson, that I spoke to said that it was like the people were living in a prison. Then he added that he hoped that the country doesn’t open up too soon, because the Lord is using all the oppression to make the people hungry, and the church is multiplying like never before!

Pastor Pachy told us he thought there were 40,000 churches or more in their network. The network he leads, Los Pinos Nuevos is just one of the networks in the country.

Such Beautiful People
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Dave with some of my new Cubans friends Frank, Ariadna & Melissa

I loved the opportunity to connect with the Cubans that we worked with over the week. That was definitely a highlight for me. They are beautiful people. The light of Christ shines through them. They’ve been through so much! Yet they aren’t depressed and down. They are a people of hope, and it is clear that the gospel has gripped their hearts.

As we got to know each other during the week they began to joke with me. We had fun interacting with one another. They also shared their stories, and their perspective on Cuba. Truly amazing!

God gripped my heart, and gave me a burden for my new friends and their country. I hope to be able to build on these relationships, and encourage them in their faith.

I went to Cuba to help with the mentor/coach training, but I came away with much more than I gave. I learned many valuable things while I was in Cuba that I hope to be able to implement in our ministry in Mexico. I will post more about my trip and the  insights later this week.

Thanks for Standing With Us In Prayer

Thanks so much for praying for my family and me. Dawn, Hannah and David Jr. did well while I was gone. Jonathan is in Colorado, and we see the Lord’s hand of favor and protection over him as well. God answered in many ways as he cared for my family, and gave me such a wonderful experience. We are more than conquerors in Christ!

In His Grip, Dave