Life Group UPDATE

July 19 & 20, 2014

Bring Your Life Group to Woodland Parrish One Sunday

We would like to officially challenge you to bring your whole Life Group to sit in at Woodland Parrish one Sunday this summer. This will enable you to see and more intelligently pray, and also to encourage they believers at that campus, many of whom are new to Woodland! It's Sunday at 10:45

Please contact me and let me know. You will be a huge blessing and you'll get to see the impact of your giving and prayers!

"Transformed" Life Group Leader Rally - Wednesday, August 20 6:30pm

Life Group leaders and hosts, please make plans to be at this Rally where we will go over the Fall "Transformed" small group campaign in detail. Each of you will receive your Group DVD's and your own copy of the Transformed journal/group leader book.

Mark your calendar and BRING an APPRENTICE! We are believing God for 20 new Life Groups this Fall. Who is in your group that you can challenge and bring. RSVP them and invite them to the Rally to learn more about hosting a Transformed group for 7 weeks.

Jonah (a Priscilla Shirer study) Starts July 16

Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted. Ladies if you are looking to get into a short term study this summer on Wednesday nights, join Kelly Beale and others for this 7 week study, featuring the teaching of Priscilla Shirer. Contact Kelly to sign up or to find out more. it's Wednesdays, 6:30-8:00pm in room 234 starting July 16.
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God Prepared Way for Woodland Cuba Team

What a wonderful week of ministry the 10 of us had in the Havana area last week! Thanks for your prayers. Not only did we accomplish a major amount of construction work at the Baptist Seminary in Havana, we also led evangelistic meetings and did leader training in four different Baptist churches.

The believers in Cuba have a strong joy and faith in the Lord, though they have very few resources and face stiff opposition. The church is growing rapidly in this communist island nation and Woodland is a major part. Tania, the wife of the Seminary Director, was overjoyed just to get a pair of dish washing gloves we brought down--as if they were diamond encrusted. When we asked Carlos, the Director (the Dean essentially) why almost none of the toilets had seats (I didn't ask that question for the record....but I did want to know!) he said that in Cuba they are all just trying to survive, to put food on the table. And a toilet seat ranks very low in the list of things they have to try to scrape together for their families to survive.

We left little 6 inch portable clip on fans we had taken, and our interpreter for the week, Andy, was overjoyed that it came with a little extension cord. We take so much for granted.

At our first church, a new house church, we taught the pastor and leaders in principles of doing evangelism and discipleship the way Jesus did. They were so excited! And we demonstrated the Daniel story and left materials so they could do it with their church kids. We challenged each to apprentice several new leaders and they immediately wrote down their names and I've already heard back results via email. This is a church whose meeting area is literally a converted carport, yet is reaching it's neighborhood boldly.

At our second church, in Madruga about 40 miles east of Havana, the power for half the town had gone out from a storm right before we got there. Instead of starting our evangelistic meeting at 8pm, it started at 9pm and we had to do it with flashlights and smart phone led flashlights. But the church was full and God was there. No power, no problem. We have a higher Power in God!

At our third church we went to an American-Cuban church that was built in the late 50's just before the Revolution. It was in the Embassy area on the west side of town, just six blocks from the Russian Embassy, and Putin was in town. They are without a pastor and because of the embassies, houses are out of reach in that area. So they are trying to get funds to build a home on their property. There is an acre side yard and we did a few parachute games to attract kids. The Children's volunteer told us that over half of these kids had never been to there church. They saw us and came running. It was another great night of evangelism, fun, and leader training.

At our fourth church, Thursday night, we went back to a house church in south Havana in one of the poorer neighborhoods (by the way, our poorest Manatee County neighborhoods are far better off than the average Cuban living conditions). This couple had opened their home as a church several years back, and had added on things like paving the entire front yard and putting an open steel pole barn over it for the main meeting area. The 10 member worship team was practicing (two hours!) in a detached room that was about 10x6, kneed to knee in a squashed circle. But the music they were playing was amazing! We went up some homemade welded steel stairs to the roof which is the kids area and played the parachute games as we looked out across the roof tops of the other homes. Then we came back down and while 9 of the team lead the evangelistic meeting, Gary Brooks and I trained the pastor and leaders in the front porch area. It is so humbling to see how eager and in love with the Lord they are! All was going very well until Gary's plastic chair (15 years old?) suddenly broke. He dusted himself off and kept translating.

Most amazing of all was what happened at the airport. As we were checking our bags, the government employee asked Gary in Spanish, "Are you a religious group?" Gary explained we were. They the man asked after a second, "Do you have something you can give me?" Gary had checked his bag, but in his carry one was a DVD of one of the church's services. That's pretty rare in Cuba! But we had visited what is probably the largest Baptist church in Cuba and they recorded their services so people could give out the DVD's for evangelism. Gary gave his to the man and asked if he was a believer. He said no. He said he would get in a lot of trouble, being a government employee, but he had been listening to Christian music and liked it. Gary asked if he had a Bible and he didn't. So Gary gave him his own personal Spanish Bible! The he realized the man wouldn't know were to start reading, so he asked for some paper and wrote out the Romans Road and gave it to him. All this time he was checking in our team. So he closed down his line and said to us, "Follow me" and helped speed up our process at the exit tax line. Again he said he wanted to be a Christian but would get in trouble, lose his job, etc. Gary said, "Yes, you might get in trouble but following Jesus is worth it!" They hugged and the man had to go back to his station. There, at the last minute, when we were just thinking "get on the plan" God had a man whose heart was ready, despite all the efforts to teach the Cuban people there is no God.

Thank Woodland for sending us!

You can see more about our trip at

TRANSFORMED by Rick Warren Starts Week of Sept. 27

"Be not conformed to the world...but be transformed!"

Church wide this Fall, starting the week of September 27/28 for seven weeks!
All of our adult Life Groups will be aligning together this fall for our church wide spiritual growth campaign, Transformed! It's based on materials by pastor Rick Warren with the overall theme of how God wants to transform us (instead of our conforming) in Seven specific areas of life: spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, relational, financial, and vocational. That just about covers every facet where God wants you to "be transformed" according to Romans 12:2.

If you'd like to see Rick Warren's Transformed sermon series he preached it's free online. The sermons are NOT part of the group study, but what he preached each week in early 2014 for his own church to go along with it. It's great supplemental material.