“There are two kinds of pastors in Cuba, those who are burned out and those who are burning out,” says Carlos Peralta, the director of Encuentro Ministries in Florida and a planning team member for the Cuban Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation, a ministry of The Upper Room.
The thirty participants came from several denominations and traditions including Methodist, Baptist, Disciples of Christ, and Lutheran (ELCA), but they shared a common desire to find personal spiritual nourishment and renewal.
“When we first arrived,” says Academy director Johnny Sears, “many of the participants were skeptical about our worship and our silent prayer practices, but by the end of the week, we were embraced with open arms and with enthusiastic requests for us to come back.”
A labor of love, The Academy in Cuba took over two years of planning and fundraising to become a reality. The planning team members, as well as the faculty, donated their time and provided their own travel expenses to ensure that burned and burning out Cuban church leaders would receive the study, prayer, and opportunities for transformation they needed. The Academy in Cuba was sponsored by multiple organizations, including the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, The Upper Room, and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida, as well as The Academy Scholarship Program.
While no specific dates have been set for the next Five-Day Academy, conversations have already begun about a regularly scheduled Academy in Cuba with hope that more Cuban pastors and church leaders will experience the power and presence of God through the Academy model.
For more information about The Academy for Spiritual Formation, visit: http://academy.upperroom.org
Photos and News release courtesy of Johnny Sears and Xiomara Reboyras.