The President's Letter
It is now just more than two weeks since Hurricane Harvey brought record rains, floods and destruction to Texas and the Gulf Coast.
And, it's just more than one week since Hurricane Irma caused unbelievable devastation across the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, Florida, and other states. We had some severe weather in Georgia, but I can't even imagine what it is like to be in such terror as water rises, as death threatens family and dear ones, as winds and water change everything we know. Many people lost everything. It is far more than j
treasured possessions; it is a matter of losing their homes, their jobs, their communities, and their churches. So many are displaced, and they will be for a long time. Some have lost loved ones. I dare not question God with 'why,' but I beg Him to be with each soul that is hurting.
I read a headline in last week's USA Today that religious groups are working with FEMA to "provide the bulk of disaster recovery," and that Christian organizations, such as Convoy of Hope, Samaritan's Purse, and the United Methodist Relief Fund, are leading the way. They loaded convoys of trucks with food, water and clothing that were ready before Irma made landfall. There were men with chainsaws ready and waiting. Workers followed first responders as soon as it was safe to pull mud out of homes. They set up case managers to help victims with FEMA assistance. The Red Cross, Salvation Army, and many others that we may take for granted in crises supplemented their efforts.
There are so many stories of heroes--whether they are first responders or neighbors or friends. May God bless them!
I sense something different about this response, though. We are hearing of so many people responding to these tragedies on a very personal level. Tens of thousands have donated money. Thousands have committed to prayer on a daily basis. Churches have packed clothing and other essentials, and many have even sent teams to help clean, sanitize and restore or rebuild living spaces, hospitals, schools and churches. This might be the greatest showing of Christian love in recent times.
And everywhere these workers go, they bring a message of Christ's love.
I can't stop praying for all the people who have been touched by these tragedies. Won't you join me.
Father God, we praise you and thank you for putting your protective hands around all those who have survived the destruction and ruin. Father God, for those who have lost loved ones, we pray for your mercy and grace. We thank you and praise you for those who come to help in the name of your Son. Let those who receive that help see the love of Christ's hands in action. We pray that troubled hearts will be set at peace, Father God, and that you will give the promise of hope. We pray that as the work of restoration continues, that the seeds of faith will be planted and nurtured and take root for the glory of your Son.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
Frank Yarbrough, President
Tres Dias International Secretariat
Are You, or a Loved One, or a Tres Dias Friend Affected by the Storms?
We known that many in our Tres Dias family have suffered losses, but we have very little specific information. If you or a loved one or a fellow pescador has been affected, I invite you to send an email with a
- brief description of your loss
- your needs
- what you want us to pray for
Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
We will create a place on the Tres Dias website and Tres Dias Facebook and forward information as we receive it. We invite pescadores in all Tres Dias communities to check the page frequently for updates and to commit to praying for your needs.
Don Bohl, Editor
nformation on our Website (
) and on Tres Dias Facebook is constantly updated. Discover inspiring stories and stay connected by checking in at least weekly
Creative Ideas from the Communities
Movie Time at the Secuela!
Sometimes it's hard to break into that friendly chatter during a secuela social hour and quiet the audience for a transition to the more formal program. To solve this problem, pescadores at Orange County Tres Dias use mini-movies. There is no introduction; the show simply starts. Within a few seconds, all attention focuses on the screen at the front of the hall. The mini-movies vary in length
from 3 to 10 minutes. Some offer a devout inspirational message with full professional production quality, others use minimal sets and wrap their message in a dry sense of humor. A company called Worship House Media (
) serves as a clearing house for a variety of production companies. Among the many fine acting troops, The Skit Guys are personal favorites. (See sample video at left.)
A Reminder for Yourself, a Calling Card for Others
Say you're telling a friend about Tres Dias. They express an interest in attending and ask, "When's the next weekend?" You can take out a pencil and pad and write down the dates -- assuming you can remember them -- or refer your friend to the community website. Better yet, you can do what pescadores from Kansas City TD do: you can pull
a card out of your wallet or purse, such as shown at right, and hand it to
your friend. Posted on your refrigerator, the card can be a reminder of an upcoming weekend. The cards are inexpensively produced, using one of the many on-line services that print business cards.
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Patti Jo's Column
Miracle in a Highway Rest Stop
In my years serving on Tres Dias weekends, I have had many experiences that are hard to explain as mere coincidences. Here's one of my favorites.
During the last worldwide recession, I was serving on a team in Colorado Front
Range, which was their first set of weekends ever. Toward the end, I asked the rectora if I could make a quick request at the end of the closing service. As a member of the steering committee for the startup of Jamaica Tres Dias (then called Montego Bay Tres Dias), I was aware of a great need. Even though Colorado TD was a very small community, a startup itself, I felt a strong urge from the Lord to speak. The tourist industry had been hit hard in the recession, and I explained the serious struggle the Jamaicans were experiencing. Many were unable to pay team fees or sponsor candidates/pilgrims for the upcoming set of weekends. Several people gave me donations.
After driving a few hours along a major interstate road, my friend and I got off at an exit to take a break and get some coffee. I was coming out of the restroom when a couple came up to me and seemed very excited to see me.
"Do I know y'all?" I asked.
"We were at the closing service for Tres Dias," they answered. "We wanted to give to the Jamaicans, but you had already left. Wow! Can you believe we just got off the Interstate hundreds of miles along the way, and here you are!"
They handed me a large check along with a hug and went on their way. I called the rectora for the coming weekend in Jamaica and told her, "Our God is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord our Provider."
Even though there are thousands of travelers on the interstate and many exits we passed, He brought them to me. This confirmed to me and to both of these new communities that God has planned for Tres Dias to succeed around the world.
Patti Jo welcomes your comments. Send to email@example.com.
From Disillusion to Restoration:
A Pastor's Story
By Mike Tindall
have noticed while serving on Tres Dias weekends that candidates are always impressed, and sometimes astounded, when they discover that those serving on the weekend come from such a diversity of churches, and yet they serve together and love each other so sincerely.
Then these candidates sit at tables and develop friendships with people that do not attend their particular church. As they listen and participate in the table discussions, and as they eat and laugh with one another, and as they pray for one another, Jesus dismantles the walls that divide, and replaces them with open hearts and arms that invite and
embrace in true Christian love.
I am a minister and have pastored several churches over the years. I know what it's like to referee church fights among folks that all agree to the same doctrinal statement. I know what it's like to have folks eventually turn against the referee and either vote him out or starve him out by no longer paying him. I know the toll that takes on a pastor's wife, and especially his children, who watch ... and listen ... and then pack up their belongings.
Eventually, I had had enough and I told God that I would not sacrifice my family on another church altar. For eight years, I found other employment and refused offers to pastor, reminding myself that I will never be that stupid again.
But then a friend invited me to attend a Tres Dias, and during those three days I reconnected with God in areas that had been previously off limits to Him, and God softened my calloused heart toward ministry. He eventually placed me in a congregation with many members who had attended a Tres Dias weekend. And for 15 years now I have been pastoring this same congregation and having the time of my life. The parishioners come from a variety of religious backgrounds including no religious background at all, but each has committed his or her life to the overwhelming priority of following and serving Jesus Christ.
For 15 years I have not refereed one single church fight. I say this to give glory to God for the restoration He performed in my heart and the protection He has been for our congregation. Tres Dias will always hold a special place in our hearts because it faithfully modeled and focused all attention upon Jesus and His saving love for us.
Mike Tindall is pastor of Grace Bible Church in Grapeland, TX. He attended East Texas Tres Dias #2 and sat at the table of Mark.
VP Membership Beau Bruce Answers Questions
About New Community Development
Four years ago, Tres Dias initiated a major change in how it supported development of new communities. What was that change?
We implemented what we're calling the "New Community Start-Up Model," which is now being used with all emerging communities. One important part of this model is a commitment by the Tres Dias International Secretariat (TDI) to provide a dedicated liaison to each emerging community as well as chartered communities on an as-needed basis. The response to the model has really been positive.
Why was the change needed?
In the past, it seemed like we were trying to reinvent the wheel with each new community. There was no coordinated set of documents, instructions, or "how-tos," nor was there a unifying model of proven best practices for reference. As a result, we were missing too many good opportunities to develop strong, healthy new communities. The model provides a good foundation for the new community and sponsoring community to build on.
How many communities are currently in development?
We have twelve emerging communities formally in progress with a few others "incubating" in the exploratory stages. Three are international and nine are within the U.S.
Can you give us one typical success story -- a kind of "poster child" for the way the model was designed to work?
I don't know if I would call Southern Ontario a "poster child," but since I have been involved personally with this start-up, I can speak to the process. Northern Virginia is their sponsoring community, and combined with a lot of enthusiasm and dedication from both communities, the process has gone well. I really can't say enough good things about the pescadores involved. Sure, there have been challenges; there always will be. But the Spirit of God and love we share in Jesus has remained the focus. This community is ready for charter and we will be conducting a TDI essentials training session soon to make it official.
What are some of the typical problems you have encountered?
Here's one example we run into over and over. We are all creatures of habit. We do things a certain way and start believing everyone should do things our way. Without being aware of it, a sponsoring community may try to impose its methods and traditions on the emerging community. An extreme case of this would be a "my-way-or-the-highway" ultimatum. This is one area where our TDI liaisons can get involved to reinforce the emerging community's right of self-determination. Their leaders are to determine their own ways of doing things, so long as they are within the Essentials of Tres Dias. It's their community. Obviously, the sponsoring community provides guidance through its rectors and team members, but also allows the new community to develop on its own.
One of the Tres Dias objectives is to develop the laity for leadership and service to their local Church Community. We sometimes find that a community will have many of the same pescadores serving on secretariat and on teams. Whether a start-up or an established community, we always encourage communities to make leadership opportunities available to all their members. Granted, there are those who naturally gravitate to positions of leadership, but how refreshing to see a person who tends to shy away from leading bloom when given the chance to rely on God's strength to be a servant leader.
If someone reading this interview has been thinking about starting a community, what are the first steps?
I have always believed that the inspiration from the Holy Spirit is the first thing that has to happen. This is essential. When God puts the desire to start a new community in your heart, you pray about it. And when He confirms it, then you have your start. Then, reach out to others to put together a small group to meet, commit, and affirm that you want to go forward. The experience will be a service of joy!
Early in this process, please reach out to the Tres Dias International Secretariat through the membership VP -- in this case, me -- and I will send you our New Community Start-Up Model. Soon after, I will arrange for either myself or one of our other liaisons to sit down with your group to encourage, answer any questions, and help in planning the next steps. The Secretariat exists to serve both chartered and emerging communities. Being a part of an emerging community is our privilege.
Contact Bruce via email at MembershipVP@tresdias.org.
Workshop Provides Roundup of
Best Sponsorship Practices
by Jan Coleman, Northern CA Tres Dias
Editor's Note: The workshops mark the high point of a Tres Dias Annual Assembly, creating a time when community leaders offer time-tested insights as well as innovative practices. Jan Coleman, an officer on the International Secretariat, attended the sponsorship workshop at this year's assembly, July 14 to 16, in Palestine, Texas. The Texas spirit was in the air, and the Texas BBQ and Blue Bell ice cream the evening before stuck with her. She apologizes for allowing rodeo metaphors to color her report.
While the room fills, I tap my pen and silently hum: Let ideas take flight...So big and bright... Deep in the heart of Texas..."
Right out of the chute I'm reminded, there's a skill to sponsoring. It's not unlike bull-riding -- it doesn't come naturally. So, based on the collective comments, here's my takeaway.
Staying atop a twisty bovine for eight seconds takes more than luck.
When asked what it takes for successful sponsoring, one attendee said, "Training -- to have the confidence to 'sell' Tres Dias the proper way."
I give Central Arizona TD the grand prize for best practices on this one. Their mandatory sponsorship training is all on line. Once you go through six training modules, followed by six very short quizzes, you're eligible to sponsor. The modules answer
every conceivable who, what, and why question, even questions like "What about money?" and "Help! My spouse can't/won't go." For Information on the training modules, see the note at the end of this story.
The Mental Preparation Is Important
Pray for discernment and for the commitment to do what it takes. Sponsoring is a sacrifice of time and resources. Be still. Make sure you are looking to the Holy Spirit. As one attendee put it, "A poor
decision on our part affects the other candidates on the weekend." Ponder that one.
If you're serious, meet for dinner or coffee. Sponsoring is practical and authentic. Take time to remember how much your Tres Dias Weekend meant to you. Share how the experience impacted your walk with Christ.
Seasoned bull riders study the critter they're slated to ride, and savvy
sponsors fit the invitation to their target audience. They're aware what makes a potential candidate tick or what will motivate that person to spend three days with Jesus and His friends. Everyone agrees,
choose people you know well. And "love them where they're at."
Have the Latest Gear
The culture is calling for change, not in how we present the weekend, but in how we pay for it. To reach millennials we must offer applications (for the team as well as candidates) via smart phone and accept fees by credit card or PayPal.
Hold on Tight
Make sure your potential candidate/pilgrim knows that your invitation isn't for just a weekend. The three days are a prelude to a new way of life, and you'll be riding along side as they enter fourth day. Caution: Don't let your enthusiasm overwhelm. And beware of anything that smacks of: "What happens on the weekend is a secret." That's a Texas super-sized red flag.
Texas is a state of mind, and so is Tres Dias. It gets in your soul and tumbles out on to the folks you sponsor. You can hang your hat on it.
To see the Tres Dias of Central Arizona tutorial: Go to
https://www.schoology.com/ click "sign up" (as a student) in the right corner. Course access code: 2D7PT-DXGN7. Create an account with a fake birth date. No need to take the quiz unless you're sponsoring a pilgrim/candidate to CATD.
From the Archives
Excerpts from an Interview with
Eduardo Bonnin is recognized as the "father" of Cursillo. He shortened a seven-day course designed to prepare men for a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela into the current three-day format, and he led the first Cursillo as we know it today in August of 1944. Cursillo became a movement, and as it spread worldwide, it gave birth to other organizations that follow the same three-day program: Kairos, Walk to Emmaus, Via de Cristo, Presbyterian Cursillo, and Tres Dias, among others. In 1996, Bonnin participated in open forums with representatives from both the Kairos Prison Ministry and the major Fourth Day Movement organizations. John McKinney, executive director emeritus for Tres Dias, attended that meeting and provided a transcript. Bonnin died February 6, 2008.
Cursillo started at the end of the war of Spain and in the middle of the war of Europe. People were confused and hurt -- deeply hurt. It was necessary to bring light to the world, and the only light we had was the light of the Gospel.
We started to think, what is basic? What is the foundation for being a Christian people? We had
walked away from the truth, and we had to get together all the important things and give them to the people in a simple way -- direct, concrete, and very attractive. . . . They had a Cursillo that lasted a week, but it was difficult for the people who had to make a living to take a whole week. We simplified and reduced different subjects so we'd be able to cover everything in three days. Saturday and Sunday are days off, so they only had to take Friday, one day off.
We started with young people from all different backgrounds; we wanted to reach all social levels so God's message would go everywhere. . . . We noticed that the people who were not very close to God were the ones more excited, because for them it was something new. For the people that were already following Christ and belonged to a church, the enthusiasm was not as great. The ages that we started with were 17 to 26 years old; we never emphasized the age, but their personalities. The first Cursillo was so emotional and the excitement was so great that people thought we had gone crazy. . . .
Cursillo is a time of reflection, to stop and think. Sometimes we don't know how to stop and take the time to think. [We need] to isolate from the world to reflect. We couldn't have the same results if it was an open conference. We start with teaching the love that God has for us. The Prodigal Son was the best example. We have to return to the Father. . . .
The second meditation is how to come in contact with the love of God. People must have the knowledge of the Ten Commandments, but we also have to make them aware of how much God loves them. At night, we reflect on the Stations of the Cross, to understand He redeemed us and we walk with Him in redemption. The next morning's meditation is on the Three Glances of Christ: the way that Jesus looks at the rich man, St. Peter, and Judas. That gives the Cursillistas time to reflect on exactly where they are in relation with Christ.
Five years we have planned what we wanted to cover in the first Cursillo and it is exactly how it still is today: same rollos and same structure.
The way it grew was that one person told another about it. That person told another, and that person told another, and those people told other people, and it just grew and grew. . . . It first started in Majorca. Then after Majorca, it went to Valencia. At that time there weren't any Cursillos for women. Only men and boys were making Cursillo. It wasn't easy to get Cursillo started for women. We went to the bishop, and he didn't seem to want it. It was the priests that didn't want women. We decided we had to be like snakes, not like doves.
There was a lady in Barcelona who was the backbone of Christianity in her family. She said the prayers before meals, and she was the leader in the family, as far as who modeled Christianity. Then, her husband made a Cursillo and there was such a dramatic change that suddenly he was the Christian leader in the family. He was the standard-bearer.
She said, "I just don't understand my husband now." This family was very close friends with the Cardinal of Tarragona, which is a town not all that far from Barcelona. She went to see the Cardinal, who was well known to the family. She told the Cardinal that "Now it's like I'm living with a saint." She told the Cardinal that either he should make it so that women could attend Cursillo, or she was going to end up in divorce, because she couldn't understand her husband anymore. And so he made it possible for women to attend Cursillo.