Serving the Church in Latin America

The Guatemala Connection

Late last year Phil was invited to join Carlos and Raydel in the Dominican Republic (DR) and then travel to Guatemala to introduce the CLI  training program with some leaders in that country. Unfortunately Raydel’s new passport from Cuba was delayed and so it was down to only two amigos to go to Guatemala.

After landing in DR Phil traveled with Carlos to minister on Sunday in a church and spend some time with the pastor. Unfortunately, due to illness, Phil returned to Canada without going as planned to Guatemala. So now it was down to one amigo, Carlos.

Carlos decided to go and spend a few days with his contact in the country. Louis is a pastor he knew from their partnership in Latin America with another organization. Carlos was able to minister to this dear brother who was going through a deep emotional and spiritual valley.

He was also able to minister within his church and with the church leadership. Carlos introduced him to the ICM training materials and the ICM Christian Leadership Institute (CLI) ministerial training model. Pastors from several other churches in the city met together and were interested and so plans are being considered for the DR team to expand the ministry into this country.

Over the next decade the CLI training model is the new model with which we are going to provide leadership training that is both relevant and sustainable in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is a relational based mentoring model, but with intensive content for leaders at this level of leadership. Later this year, Carlos and Raydel are also making plans to go to Puerto Rico to follow up an invitation to expand the training there. Future plans include responding to an invitation from a friend from DR who is now serving in Columbia.

The work in Dominican Republic itself also continues. The CLI program continues to train young leaders throughout the country. A denominational leader recently did a seminar based on Phil’s recent materials “Finishing the Race,” which is focussed on helping leaders in the latter season of their ministry. Phil first introduced this to leaders in DR in 2022 and it is encouraging to see leaders not just benefit from the training themselves, but then use it to train others. More ripples in the pond. .

The Cuba Connection

Dominican Republic has become our central point for the ministry in Latin American and the Caribbean. Due to its geographic location, national stability, and trained MCNet coaches, the training is not only expanding in this island nation, but also now in the surrounding countries.

For many years, Phil and other members of the ICM team, trained leaders throughout every region of Cuba. Along with their ministry partners, they were able to lay a foundation throughout the country working with many leaders from several denominations and fellowships. It was during these years that Phil first met Raydel in Cuba and he then joined the MCNet team.

For several years now, Raydel has been living with his family in Dominican Republic and has developed the training throughout this country. He is now preparing to do the same in the neighboring nations. Over the last few years he and Carlos have hosted some of the Cuban MCNet coaches in DR for further training and emotional and spiritual renewal.

Recently, not only the Cuban leaders but also their wives were able to get visas to visit DR. It was the first time that the wives had been outside of Cuba. This was not only a great time of leadership training and spiritual renewal, but also gave them a short break from the pressure cooker of what is life today in Cuba. Living in Cuba today has become one of survival.  Life is very difficult. There is very limited food and fuel and so they cannot even travel outside of their city to do training in the country. They can just serve in their own city, traveling via motorcycle.

Tens of thousands of church leaders have left Cuba in the last year. Every denomination and church group has had to reorganize, regroup and be intentional about raising up new leaders. In one city, all eight pastors of the eight churches in the city have left the country.

It was such a blessing for our Cuban coaches and their wives to be able have some R&R, learn some more leadership skills, as well as the practical opportunity to purchase medicine and food to take back to their country. Made possible through the DR team. Fellowshipping with others, without the oppression which is the reality in Cuba today, was a breath of fresh air for these leaders. It was a privilege for the Carlos and the DR team to be able to provide for them a time to rest for the one week they were in DR and get recharged.

The Church in Cuba is in critical need of training new leaders. Our mentoring training model, which we first introduced in the country some fifteen years ago, is a relational rather than academic, institutional approach. In this way it is both financially sustainable and reproducible. We are seeing the fruit in their lives and ministries in Cuba and throughout the region.

Please continue to pray for these leaders in Cuba who are serving under extremely difficult circumstances. They have decided to stay and pay the price, both personally and as a family, in order to provide leadership to the Church in Cuba. Pray also for the team in DR who has a vision to serve the leaders in many countries in the region.

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