Gardnerville pastor Adam Barkley left for Cuba on April 13 on a month-long mission trip to train pastors there in building and growing healthy churches.
He has been calling Gardnerville resident and friend, Julie Summerville, with updates whenever possible.
Barkley arrived in Cuba April 15 after a difficult trip from Los Angeles to Miami. "His plane from LAX to Miami had been hit by lightening, and was three-and-a-half hours late getting to Miami," Summerville said. "He got to the airport with barely enough time to catch his flight to Cuba."
Once there, the Cuban officials claimed they did not have his visa, although it had been sent five days before.
Officials were able to reach Barkley's contact in Cuba by telephone and he convinced them to let Barkley into the country based upon his word.
"He called after arriving in Cuba, to let me know he made it with all of his equipment and materials," Summerville said. "He sounded absolutely exhausted. At that point he had been up for over 30 hours."
The next day he preached at a church in Havana, which he said went well.
"Pastor Adam speaks Spanish with a Bolivian accent," Summerville said. "Apparently, there is no way to tell he is an American, other than perhaps his attire."
This past week Barkley organized a mini conference in Havana, where he arranged to have the Cuban pastors up front, while he facilitated from the side. They went through five advanced lessons to teach pastors and others how to become disciplers and lead churches. Another 20 people signed up to participate in discipleship ministry as a result of the mini-conference.
"After the Tuesday mini-conference session, Pastor Adam and his sponsor jumped in a car and drove half way across the country," Summerville said. "They wanted to show him the building of a new church, meet the sponsors' mother and pick up a piano for his 9-year-old."
After the sessions were over on Wednesday evening, Barkley showed the "Jesus Film" to about 100 Cubans.
"Two prayed to receive Christ and seven rededicated their lives to the Lord," Summerville said.
On Thursday he left for Holguin, Cuba, where the main conference started at 8 p.m. April 16. It concluded Friday at noon.
"There was seven breakout sessions, with six of them having a Cuban pastor as the lead facilitator, with the non-Cuban facilitators helping them," Summerville said. "These are the pastors that Pastor Adam and the DTI (Discipler Training International) team have trained on their prior trips to Cuba."
For the duration of his trip, Barkley will be spending four days each with three churches in the Palmeda area helping them implement what they learned at the conference.
"I will let you know if I hear or receive any more updates," Summerville said. "At this point he has had to borrow a phone, since his cellular service does not work there."