Connect with Barry

Relationships gain more value to me the longer I live. Connecting with people motivates me. This section of Reach Out's website gives me the opportunity to make those connections with you. Every month I write an update on the ministry of Reach Out that I design to both encourage and challenge. It spans the globe and tells inspiring stories of younger generation leaders who have focused on Jesus and have seen much fruit produced through their lives and ministries as a result. As for you, I hope your vision expands as you see ever more clearly that "He who abides in me [Jesus], and I in him, he will bear much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).  

"Divine Connections" in Cuba!
God connects people in relationships, and then over time, and without us even knowing it, He turns those relationships into “divine connections” that do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or think…through his power at work within us…throughout all generations… (Ephesians 3:20-21) That’s precisely what the Holy Spirit has done with Reach Out in Cuba! I stand in awe at how God has created so many “divine connections”. One of my favorite stories illustrates how remarkably God is multiplying ministry in Cuba.
Minutes after clearing customs in Holguin, Cuba our USA team of 12 found ourselves on the bus with 40 of Reach Out's Cuban Eagle Leaders—Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry (JFYM) trainers. Over the 11 days we would meet with 70 of them in three locations. Once we were on the bus, Lawanna and I immediately saw our dear friends—Edel and Odalys.
Edel serves as one of Reach Out’s six Regional Leaders and Odalys translates for us. Over the years we have enjoyed their friendship, so we had dinner together.
Edel could hardly wait to show me a picture he had discovered on Facebook of Kurt Nelson and me. He had no idea that we knew each other. So why his enthusiasm? 
In 2006 an American missionary knocked on the door of Edel’s grandmother’s home. Edel answered. Kurt Nelson asked to come in, shared the gospel with Edel, and invited him to a youth meeting on Saturday night. He went. Since both his father or mother had left him, Edel “felt a lack of love in my life that I was looking for, but I could not find.” At the church people loved him, and in due time “My life changed forever when I invited Christ to live in my heart.”
In 2008 Kurt came back to Cuba. “To Kurt's surprise, there I was. It was a very emotional meeting. He gave me a NIV Bible, which I still keep with great affection.” Then he came again in 2010 and 2012. “Alongside Kurt, I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with others in the same way that Kurt had done with me.”
By the time Kurt came again in 2014, Edel was a third year seminary student, studying to become a youth pastor. “I remember that for Kurt and his team it was very rewarding to see that their work in the Lord was not in vain. ‘My true son in faith’, those were Kurt’s words when he said goodbye.”
Barry tells the rest of the story... (2:22)
Only God can create multiplying “divine connections” like this—and their value is incalculable in advancing the Kingdom of God! If this story inspired you, and knowing that all of our Cuban leaders have an inspiring story, enjoy reading these stories too. 
More Inspiring Cuban Leader's Stories
Marcos Ruben Ramirez Pupo —"My wife and I met in a nightclub. I was a 22-year-old actor and she was a 14-year-old street girl. Drugs and alcohol were a daily part of my life. I got married and had a baby girl. When my daughter was two years old, my wife and I divorced..."  Read More
Lewis Lobaina George —"At the age of 12, my parents got divorced and my mother and siblings left the house. I was living with my dad who was already retired with a pension of 100 Cuban pesos (around $4 USD), so we were living several years a very difficult economic situation. ..." Read More
Joandris Matos Diaz— "I was a hypocrite my first five years of Christianity because on one side I was attending church, but then I would go party with my non-Christian friends. They put a lot of pressure on me and I usually gave in. When I would go with them I would feel very bad. It was like I was out of place, like I did not fit there, so I felt bad about myself and about God." Read More
You are—or can be—involved in these “divine connections” with us.
Really, your prayers create those connections, and your giving sustains them.
Through Reach Out, you can create more "divine connections" around the world—people whose lives you touch now, but will only meet in eternity.

Jesus is Lord


Click here to read past ministry updates. 

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Rachel, Student

I am very impressed with the Reach Out studies. I am only 13 and I am already getting closer to God. Not only is it good, but it's for a low price!"

Rachel, Student