The pandemic has brought every kind of surprise. Just over a year ago the Seminario Nazareno de las Américas (SENDAS) was thinking about how to restart theological education in places where technological resources for communication are scarce or non-existent to the population.
This has been the case for many ministry students in Cuba, said Dr Marco Velasco, SENDAS Academic Dean, as the theology programs at SENDAS are currently almost one hundred percent virtual.
In Cuba, one full year had passed during which courses on the master’s level were inactive. “We felt as if we were at a dead end,” said Velasco. “How much more time would pass without providing courses and without advancing theological education for students on the island?”
Thanks be to God who provided the necessary means to restart theological education in Cuba. It started with the use of the WhatsApp® application, and since March of 2021 bachelor-level theology courses have been taught using this social network on the island. But there was something more. The entire dream was the students who aspired to continue their theological studies on the master’s level would be able to do so.
Little by little the use of the internet is growing in Cuba, and this is why there are six students studying on the master’s level. Mirelys Correoso, Jessenia Ávila, Yasmani Ferrán, Yamilé San Juan, Ivelisse Pérez, and Alberto Díaz are taking courses entirely online. Additionally two graduate students, Yoerkys Martínez y Osmel Pozo, who had not been able to complete their studies before, have now been able to take their professional exams for their bachelor’s degrees via videoconference and graduated in 2021.
“We have been challenged and confronted by the pandemic along with all of the obstacles it has brought. But God in his great mercy has surprised us and encouraged our hearts as well as the necessary measures to continue moving forward, “…so that the body of Christ may be built up….” (Ephesians 4:12, NIV).”
Source: Dr. Marco Velasco Academic Dean, SENDAS