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STL Tablets Making a Difference in Cuba

The Kindle tablets sent to Cuba as part of a Speed the Light and Global University effort, are reaping praises and rewards!

On Saturday, Israel Matos Collado IV was the commencement speaker at Global University’s graduation ceremonies held in Springfield, Missouri. Collado, a Cuban national, credits the Kindle tablets, provided by Speed the Light (STL) and loaded with Global University courses, for being able to complete his degree. 

“It would not be easy for students to get all those textbooks,” Collado explains, “but with the tablet, everything is right there — and it’s incredible, excellent curriculum.” 

In 2011, 5,000 tablets were sent to the Cuba Assembly of God through a partnership of Speed the Light and Global University to help train current and future ministers. Collado says, especially for those who live in rural areas or don’t have access to computers, the tablets have been invaluable, with the appreciation for them being overwhelming. 

Collado, who also has a degree in computer science and is the Communications and Project director for the Cuba Assemblies of God, is now pursuing his masters in Ministry through Global University. 

His wife, Yaiset, is also graduating from Global University and is going to join Israel in the Masters program. Yaiset was invited to speak with her husband at the graduation ceremony, but only Israel was able to attend. 

“We chose the Collados as our commencement speakers because of their academic performance — they did very well — and because of their ministry experience in Cuba,” explains Kevin Fulk, dean of School of Bible and Theology at Global University. 

One of the key ministries the Collados are involved in is La Hora de la Luz (The Hour of Light). According to Israel Collado, they ask volunteers to donate one hour a day to pray for someone who needs to be reached with the gospel or to present the gospel to someone. The focus has been very effective. 

“When you train a leader to engage in healthy and sustainable leadership, multiplication occurs,” says Heath Adamson, senior director of National Youth Ministries. “Speed the Light is honored to partner with leaders who develop themselves to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.” 

Israel also has deep roots in the Cuban Assemblies of God, being third generation AG. His grandfather, “Chael,” was a pig farmer in rural Eastern Cuba. When a Pentecostal missionary was looking for a place to set up, he provided space on his farm for him. Hearing the missionary’s message, he chose to make Christ his Lord and Savior. 

“My grandfather so wanted to be filled with the Holy Spirit, he climbed up a royal palm tree, which grow 20 to 30 meters [approximately 66 to 100 feet] tall, so he could be closer to heaven,” Collado says. “When he came down, he was speaking in tongues.” 

His grandfather would go on to donate the land for the first Assembly of God church in Eastern Cuba. He would become a deacon of the church and head the men’s ministries, while his wife would lead the women’s ministries. Collado’s father would become a minister and the assistant treasurer for Cuba’s Southeastern District. 

Collado himself doesn’t remember not being a part of the church, but does remember his parents’ fervent prayer for him and his siblings. 

“They told us, ‘The only thing we want you to do in life is serve the Lord. Whether you go to college or not, you make sure you serve the Lord,” recalls Collado. “And that’s what I’m trying to fulfill.” 

The courses Collado completed on his way to earning his degree through Global University received his highest praise. But then he revealed a key benefit, explaining that in addition to the scholarly materials to study loaded on the tablet came materials almost as important — materials on how to study. 

Collado sums up the value of the Kindle tablets to current and future Cuban ministers and laypeople: “When Speed the Light provides [the Global University] materials [on the tablet], it’s a great benefit to the people as otherwise they never could have it — ministry is enhanced and leaders are trained because of what they provide.” 

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.