OC believes in investing in people. This may come in many forms. It may be a formal partnership. It may be a ministry done together. But more often than not, it looks a lot like friendship. Ric Escobar, OC area director of Latin America and Europe, didn’t know that a connection he made in Cuba in 1999 would come back around in 2014.
Special Connection in 1999
In 1999, due to the Pope’s visit to Cuba, the evangelical church was given equal time and ministry opportunities to hold public events that were not previously allowed. Ric was part of a small group of men who went to train and equip Cuban leaders in the church to reach out and share the gospel throughout Cuba.
Ric travelled to towns and townships around the capital, Havana. In one of those seminars he met a newlywed couple, Armando and Liset Diaz, with a tremendous hunger and thirst to be equipped. “They took voracious notes and were always on time. They had questions and looked for opportunities to spend time with the different teachers and speakers. They wanted all the notes, handouts, and whatever else we could give them,” Ric says.
Ric gave them all the materials he had with him and the couple hoped to travel to Guatemala for additional training. Ric left Cuba, thinking of them, but due to time and busyness, they lost touch.
Many Years Later…
Unexpectedly in November of 2013, Ric accompanied a seminary friend to visit a young couple associated with the Navigators who was hosting a Bible Study. To Ric’s surprise, it was the couple he met in Cuba in 1999.
“Back then Armando was arrested in Cuba for witnessing and leading Bible studies, along with being a member of a ‘freedom of expression group,'” Ric says. “After this ordeal, they were able to travel to Guatemala for training and eventually moved to the U.S., where Mandy (Armando) is working as a registered nurse, and both of them are evangelizing, discipling and leading Bible studies.”
Armando kept all the notes and material Ric had given him in Cuba 13 years ago and uses it in his discipleship materials.
Ric is now engaged in leadership development with Armando. “I am praying about making a two-year commitment to Mandy to meet twice a month to experience growing and journeying together on the leadership road.”
Would you like to give to support leadership development and mentoring by OC workers like Ric who partner with local church leaders in Latin America, Europe, and all over the world?