Though much of the conference teaching was practical instruction, the primary focus was on a fresh impartation of the Holy Spirit upon their lives. And this was demonstrated in overwhelming ways!
In each of the three conferences, pastors and leaders were powerfully filled by the Spirit of God. A recurring theme was how to receive from God. Many might think they need to pray in tongues, praise or even beg or plead with God, in order for Him to fill them. This is not only unnecessary; it can often hinder actually receiving. God has already promised to freely give us of His Spirit (Luke 11:13). We need only to receive and spend time in His presence (see Frank’s article “A Fresh Infilling?”).
These March 2004 conferences added a new and thrilling dimension not present in our prior 2002 conferences.
In a planning session last fall, part of the ministry team gathered with Pastor “Jose” (not his real name) who is recognized as a leading apostle in the nation of Cuba. With much prayer and discussion, the team felt it was in the timing of the Lord to open the evening meetings to the public.
Pastor Jose told the team this had not been done in Cuba since the present government came to power in the late 1950s.
We knew it could risk our permits even for the regular pastors’ conferences. But we had a strong sense that it was God’s desire, so we planned for the open evening meetings. The faithful, fervent prayers of the World MAP Prayer Corps and others availed much!
The Uttermost Part
The first of three Spiritual Renewal Seminars for church leaders opened in the far southeast corner of Cuba, in the town of Moa. This is the site where a conference by the same team scheduled in late 2002 had been abruptly cancelled by government officials at the last minute. Although the team held three other powerful conferences in Cuba at that time, it was a major disappointment that no conference could be held in Moa.
We proceeded in faith – and you prayed – and this time God opened a door for a conference in Moa!
Passion and Hunger
The ministry team traveled in vans for two long days over rugged, narrow roads to reach this remote location. The church leaders also traveled for many miles, some under far worse conditions, to participate in this year’s conference.
We were expecting 400 pastors and leaders. But to our joyous surprise, more than 830 pastors and leaders registered, from 22 different denominations. Unfortunately, more had to be turned away due to sheer lack of physical space in the facility. We were reminded again of the depth of the passion and hunger for God in the hearts of these precious leaders!
“Only One Trumpet”
During the Moa conference, Pastor “Jose” opened the first session, strongly exhorting the leaders to have God-sized dreams because God fulfills His promises. He encouraged the pastors in their unity, noting that we do not belong to denominations – we belong to Christ!