For several years, TWR Canada had been working with RTM (TWR) Cuba director Alberto Gonzalez on the development of new radio programs. The desire was to create programs based on needs identified in listener letters. But things kept falling through. A technician joined the team and began creating programs, but then lost interest. Alberto found a producer who was interested in assisting, but then he moved away. It seemed like it really wasn’t God’s timing for these new programs to take place.
Not his timing … yet.
Alberto didn’t give up. One program that was especially needed was biblical counselling. Over the years, RTM Cuba had received a lot of response to the program, Messages of Faith and Hope. So many people needed Godly counsel. Cubans were struggling under the political climate and economic conditions, as well as individual and family troubles. Alberto wanted to help.
TWR Canada reached out with Hope for the Heart, a Biblical counselling ministry we had worked with on projects in West Africa and Central Asia. Could they get involved somehow?
Trainers from Hope for the Heart were eager to get involved. They proposed holding a biblical counselling training session for Cuban ministry and church leaders. Their training focuses on dealing with life issues and finding healing and counsel from God through the Bible. The goal of their training is to train leaders who can then teach others. What a tremendous gift from God!
In November 2016, more than 60 pastors and leaders from all over Cuba attended the first workshop in Havana. Attendees were delighted with the training and eager to apply what they learned to their existing churches and ministries. Two more workshops were held in 2017, where more leaders were trained in biblical counselling principles. Attendees reported that this training was very valuable. One reported: “This helped me a lot. Haley [HFTH trainer] talked a lot about being dependent on God’s Word even when it seems very dark, and there is no hope. I think about the stories about women that lost their husbands and long to have a child. This is very hard for them, but at the end we see the hand of God. That is the only answer.” Another attendee learned that, “The ultimate word in counseling for us is not found in psychology or sociology. Those are man-made philosophies. The Word of God contains the ultimate word. Why should we work with man-made tools when we have the Word of God?”
From these workshops, several key leaders showed interest in being involved in a biblical counselling radio program. That same year, Alberto met a young man who had expertise recording Christian programs for his church and wanted to assist with RTM Cuba’s new programs. That young man’s father was a radio technician and agreed to edit the programs. God was bringing people together to make this program happen.
But God surprised us. He did not just bring about a biblical counselling radio program as we had hoped. He began a movement. Since those first few workshops, RTM Cuba was able to offer another biblical counselling workshop to more church leaders, led by some of those leaders who attended previous workshops. Through this, we see God creating a movement for Cubans, led by Cubans, as this valuable teaching is spread to more and more people.
Early in 2018, our transmitter on the island of Bonaire increased its power so almost every area of Cuba can now receive our signal. During a live broadcast to celebrate this increase, the first counselling program was aired. Many listeners called or emailed messages to ask for these programs to continue, testifying that they are so important to believers.
Many episodes of the biblical counselling programming have been produced, and production will continue. As well, two more biblical counselling training workshops are scheduled for later in 2018, again led by Cubans.
We see God’s hand throughout this whole process: training and educating church leaders through counselling workshops, bringing together the production team and increasing the signal so that almost every Cuban can listen to these programs. Please pray that many lives will be changed, encouraged and rooted in the Word of God through this initiative.