April-May 2013

The President's Letter


Hello again to all of the Tres Dias communities worldwide!


Many of you who read this will never get to meet me and get a big abrazo from me. I'm not the biggest guy out there, but I'm 6'2" tall and weigh about 240 lbs, so when I give a big hug, it is a big hug.

Since you may never make it to an Assembly, or an International Secretariat meeting or any function I have the honor of attending as your president, let me give you a virtual hug. I know you are there doing the work of expanding this great ministry all around the world, and I appreciate you!

     As a member of the International Secretariat, I get to sit in on the Essentials training several times a year, and it's surprising when something I've heard and read so many times takes on a new light. This happened to me this past year, and I want to share it with you, because it is something very dear to me. Please read with an open heart and see if God speaks to you as he did to me.

     In the Essentials, section "3.2 The Essentials of the Weekend Phase," line 22 states "That the freedom of self-determination of each candidate be respected."You may wonder---"What does that mean?" or say "So what?" or "I didn't know that was an Essential!"

     What does it mean? In the past we referred to it as the freedom for a candidate to hear a talk and take it or leave it, to accept or reject it. True, but let's view it from a different perspective. If you search the Web for Tres Dias, you will find blogs and Web pages that refer to us as a cult. You'll find examples of how a candidate's every move---including restroom breaks---was controlled. I maintain that these statements are inaccurate, but honestly, I admit they include more than a grain of truth.

    Let's recognize that the freedom of self-determination means that we resist the urge to control candidates on the weekend. So intent is our desire to recreate the weekend we experienced that we tend to manage what the candidate sees, hears and even feels. Our aim is often to coordinate, but the candidate can interpret it as a way to manipulate.

     How about changing our strategy? When a candidate requests to step outside for a bit of fresh air, let's show them the nearest exit and assure them we'll let them know when the next event is getting ready to start.

    If a candidate needs to lie down for a nap, let them go to their bed and rest without hovering over them.

     When it is time for the candidates to go from one room to another, let's not block the hallway to prevent them from going to the restroom.

     If a candidate is stuck in the restroom with a tummy ache, please let the weekend move forward instead of waiting indefinitely for them to return and face a room full of stares and questions of "Are you OK?"

    If they insist on using their phone, ask them to be respectful of the other candidates, and take it outside.

    If they want to know what time it is, let's simply tell them.

     We can---and should---ask candidates to set the things and worries of the world aside for these 72 hours. It's the ideal way to experience Tres Dias, the very best way to participate fully in what God is doing in the heart on the weekend. Explain the reason why taking time apart from these things allows the mind to rest and hear from the Lord. In that context, feel free to ask that they put their watches and cell phones away for the weekend, but let's not demand it.


Your servant in Christ,


 Bruce Cato 

President, Tres Dias International Secretariat



Also in this Issue 
To go to a story, click the * after the title

Respecting Confidentiality: A Message from the TDI Policy Committee *  
Returning to Our Roots: Tres Dias for Spanish Speaking Communities * 
Survey Report: Cell Phone Use on Weekends *
Welcome New Communities! Support Emerging Communities!*  
Letter from the Editors * 
Announcements * 
 Plus two new " Miracles from the Weekend" stories
"The Princess Thing," by Jeanette Hanscome*
"The Great Physician Shows Up at Tres Dias," by Frank Yarbrough*

 Following are flags for some of the nations where Tres Dias has a community. Can you identify the countries?  
The answer is in the letter from the editors.
confidentialityRespecting Confidentiality


 A Message from the TDI Policy Committee


Editor's note: The Policy Committee, one of five standing committees on the Tres Dias International Secretariat, provides guidance on questions related to all phases of the Tres Dias method. At its February meeting, the committee developed the following statement in response to an issue raised by one of the communities.


The weekend should be a time for retreat and refection, a place of safety where candidates and team can be transparent before God and each other. As Bruce Cato mentioned in his president's letter, we do not wish to infringe on a candidate's self-determination; that is, their freedom to go and do as they need. However, we need to respect the confidentiality of testimonies and sharing of personal life events on the weekend. If the intensely personal details of a rollo were to end up posted on Facebook, Pinterest, or other social media sites, the net effect would be the embarrassment of the rollista, as well as hesitancy on the part of future rollistas to be transparent in their sharing. This would dramatically weaken the potential impact of those rollos. The same effect is apparent when the details of a testimony are shared verbally outside those in attendance on the weekend.

     Think back to your own candidate weekend - remember how those rollos reached down and touched your very soul? Please consider future candidates and how their experiences might be shaped. Please refrain from posting, uploading, or otherwise sharing specific references, photos or other details about the weekend. Please also remember that aside from those communities that take (and distribute) a "group photo," no other photos should be made during the weekend. Again, this reminder is not meant to discourage self-determination, but rather to protect the sanctity and confidentiality of the rollos, and also to reinforce the freedom and safety that we should all feel on the weekend. Thank you for your support in this important endeavor!                                                 Back to top 

princessA "Miracles from the Weekend" story

The Princess Thing

by Jeanette Hanscome


I knew God had me at Tres Dias for a reason, but I never expected he would plan my seating assignment. "Read the bookmark in front of you," the rector said. "Then take a minute to reflect on why God might have placed you at that table." I've always liked the name Sarah. Surely that's it.  
The NCTD community created men and women's table name bookmarks such as these.
 See note below.


Then I read the description of the first matriarch of the Jewish nation: "Sarah's name means princess."

      I groaned inwardly. Oh no. Please say we aren't doing the YOU'RE A PRINCESS thing again. A disturbing thought came to mind as I watched the rector skipping around the room tossing sparkles and passing out glittery crowns. Spare me---I am not in the mood to play princess.

       Where did my I don't want to go there reaction come from? I stopped reading the notes on the biblical Sarah. Suddenly, I knew why God placed me at the table of Sarah. I knew why, despite my love for all things feminine, I found the whole Princess theme overdone and increasingly annoying. I fought back tears as it came clear why it bothered me so much . . . now.

      When the time came to share at my table, I opened up about what Sarah means princess triggered in me. A few months before the weekend, my husband left our family. As much as I knew God loved me, I struggled to embrace the idea of my being cherished. I felt more like a dirty, oppressed peasant left to fend for herself than a privileged princess.

     I detected the edge in my voice. Do I sound like a woman with a giant-sized chip on her shoulder? It's not who I wanted to become. As the other women talked, God helped me see that the only way to avoid becoming cynical and bitter---unable to hear words like princess without rolling my eyes---was to let Him heal my crushed heart. Step one: I had to confess that my husband's choices left me feeling like trash, and I just couldn't let go of it. I took the risk with my new sisters at the Table of Sarah.

     Throughout the day women thanked me for my honesty, admitting that they struggled to see themselves as princesses too. Some had endured the same heartbreak as mine. Now they were glowing with beauty and confidence. They clearly got the message at the core of Tres Dias. I told God: I want to be like them.

     I spent the weekend feeling pampered like someone special. The words of kindness and the truths of the Rollos showed me God's amazing love for me. It triggered more tears. It was as if the Lord said, "See, you are precious. It's time to start living as if you are. It has nothing to do with cutesy themes or even feeling loved all the time. Being mine goes deeper than that."

     I can't say that I left the camp with all my wounds bound. Nor was every lie that kept me from grasping my true position in Christ erased. God and I had a lot of work to do in my Fourth day. On Saturday night a woman greeted me with "Hello, Princess. Are you starting to believe it yet?" I could return her smile and say, "Absolutely, yes."

     The Sarah bookmark is a constant reminder of what God did in my heart through my Tres Dias weekend. A few months later I bought a ring to represent my value in Christ, a sterling silver crown with the cross in the center. There it was again--the princess thing. It made me smile. It's a truth I am learning to cling to daily, whether I feel it all the time or not; I am a royal daughter of the King.   


The author is a member of the Northern California Tres Dias community and attended that community's Women's # 3 weekend.                                           Back to top 



Note: The NCTD community is happy to share their bookmarks. Contact for an electronic file. There are six bookmarks for women, six for men. 


physicianA "Miracles from the weekend" story

The Great Physician Shows Up at Tres Dias


By Frank Yarbrough


In 2004 the doctors told me I would never work again. My medical history is long and complicated. Here's the short version: Multiple neck surgeries, plates and screws from the C3 to C7 vertebra, spinal stimulator surgically implanted in my back and neck, removed later when numbness spread from waist to toe and temporarily paralyzed me on my left side. Side affects: radiating nerve damage.  

     Not work again? I was devastated. I kept attending church, but my heart wasn't in it. There's something about being at your wit's end that makes you willing to try anything. When my pastor suggested I attend Tres Dias, I said, 'Sign me up."

   I arrived on the campground overweight, bent over from pain and unable to raise my arms above my shoulders or bend past my knees. I weighed 240 pounds. I hadn't slept on a bed in over a year. I was gobbling down 32 pills a day: muscle relaxers, depression medications, plus 40 milligrams of Methadone three times a day with Percocet in between.

    Somehow I had forgotten one of my needed pain meds. Talk about panic. "Someone will go back and get them for you," I was told. I declined the offer. "God got me here. He'll get me through it." I prayed it was true.

   My seat in the Rollo room was closest to the door, with my cane propped up against the wall. Each time we left the room, my table cha handed me my cane. By Saturday afternoon, I noticed something strange. I could walk to the chapel without it. It seemed as if, the more I released the junk inside, and the more I depended on the Lord's power, the stronger I felt.

       As the weekend progressed, I felt more and more limber. I began to let go of more hurt, resentment and anger. I became willing to forgive those who had wounded me. At the end of the weekend, I was able to walk without my trusted cane. I could lift my arms above my head. I could even touch my toes.

     And I had slept soundly on a bunk for three nights.

     When my wife picked me up, she was shocked. "I can't believe what I'm seeing," she said. I was carrying my cane as well as my suitcase. She noticed not only the physical change, but my whole demeanor. "This is not the same man I left on Thursday night to go on a Tres Dias weekend," she said.

     That's for sure. Now, it's eight years later. I'm fifty pounds lighter and no longer on Methadone or even depression medication. I still take something for the pain, but nothing like before. Some days are easier than others, but God has proven that He is my provider, my healer and my strength.

     Tres Dias is described as a tool that God uses to implement change in our lives. For me, it gave me hope for a future, and the determination to get out there and make a difference. I'm working in my church, the New Horizon Church of God in Augusta, Georgia as a councilman and sound technician. I'm the president of the Central Savannah River Area Tres Dias and vice-president of membership for the International Secretariat.


   Never work again? The doctors got that wrong. God has blessed me so much. He's the Great Physician, the answer to our problems, and still in the miracle business.  

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rootsReturning to Our Roots
 Tres Dias for Spanish Speaking Communities

America has always been a melting pot of cultures, like a giant pot of soup whose flavors blend together. In Tres Dias we value our diversity, and are reminded of it each time we sing De Colores---"of the colors."

     Since Tres Dias roots are from Spain, expanding to Spanish speaking communities, both in the US and abroad, is a natural. A newly formed organization named Tres Dias Con Dios is dedicated to just such a mission. Southeast Tennessee Tres Dias is the sponsoring community, and the Apison Center camp, some 20 miles from Chattanooga, will serve as an "incubation center."

    J. Pat Williams, Chairman of the Southeast Tennessee community, points out that the camp is centrally located in the US and within a four-hour drive of fourteen Tres Dias communities. "People in the Southeast Tennessee community are ready to serve on team, sponsor candidates, and reach out to churches that have Spanish-speaking ministries," he points out.

     In the United States, Hispanics are already the largest minority. More than 32 million people in   America speak Spanish. And Hispanics put great importance on faith and family values. According to a 2012 survey by the George Barna group in partnership with the American Bible Society, Hispanics believe a strong traditional family is the building block for a healthy community. Church is very important to them.

     "Our goal is 40 new Tres Dias Spanish speaking communities in the next 15 years," states Wilson Burton, one of the organization's founding members. "There are over 20 Spanish speaking nations in the world right now, and they all need a Tres Dias."

     Tres Dias Con Dios will keep a database listing nations of origin of all who participate, for the purpose of developing lists of Spanish speaking pescadores to sponsor family back home. These pescadores can contact the churches and pastors and help locate potential facilities for holding a weekend. " We already have folks wanting to take Tres Dias to Puerto Rico, Columbia, Honduras, Guatemala, Bolivia, Costa Rica and several places in Mexico," Wilson Burton reports.



If your community has Spanish speaking members, please make them aware of Tres Dias Con Dios. Encourage these pescadores to serve on a Tres Dias Con Dios weekend. Consider sponsoring Hispanic leaders from your local churches or mission outreaches in Spanish nations. Donations are welcome. Tres Dias Con Dios is a registered 501c3 organization.

For more information contact Wilson Burton, Coordinator for the Spanish Speaking Tres Dias Incubation Center  

Email: or    


 Back to top 


welcomeWelcome, New Communities!
Support Emerging Communities!
Frank Yarbrough, VP Membership

I would like to welcome our newest Tres Dias communities, which were chartered in Nashville, TN, at our March Secretariat meeting. These communities have met all requirements to be chartered communities of Tres Dias.


     Brazos Valley Tres Dias (Texas)

     Irvine Tres Dias  (California)

     Northern California Tres Dias   (California)

     Tres Dias of Danmark    (Denmark)


We would also like to welcome back Canada Tres Dias (Korean Speaking) to chartered status. I had the pleasure of going to Toronto along with Henry Cho of New York Tres Dias (Korean Speaking) to do the Essential's training.  We were also honored to attend their secuela that same night, where I presented the community with its new charter.  The hospitality and love that we were shown by the pescadores of Canada Tres Dias was unbelievable. Henry and myself could not have been more honored.


We have two new emerging communities to announce:


         Midwest Kansas City Tres Dias,  sponsored by  St. Louis Tres Dias

         Northwest Arkansas Tres Dias,  sponsor by  Music City Tres Dias


We have a new community starting in Chiclayo, Peru.  Peru Tres Dias will be the sponsor, with the first set of weekends to be held next year.  If you would like to work on Chiclayo #1 or help out financially, please contact me at The dates are as follows. 

Chiclayo Men Tres Dias #1  June 26-29 2014

Chiclayo Women's Tres Dias #1  July 3-6 2014 


The Membership Committee is here for your Community.  If you have any question or would like the committee to help your Community in any way please contact me at





Survey Report: Cell Phones on the Weekend

Our last issue invited readers to complete a short survey on policies related to cell phone use on weekends. We didn't think readers would check their inboxes daily, eagerly awaiting the survey results, but we hoped the survey would prompt reflection on the cell phone issue as well as other matters of perceived "control," as a prelude to Bruce Cato's letter in this issue.

     Nonetheless, here are the survey results.

     We received 28 responses. With two exceptions, respondents say they ask candidates to leave their cell phones at home or turn in at the start of a weekend. They are far more flexible with team members, however. About half say team members can keep their phones.

     About two-thirds say there is either "occasional" or "frequent" resistance to this policy from candidates.

 However, 60 percent of respondents say that they don't believe the policies get the weekend off to a bad start by giving the image of being over-controlling. Forty percent believe it does give a bad start.

     Only about half provide sponsors with guidance on how to explain the policy to candidates.

     To put these findings in perspective, go back and read President Bruce Cato's letter again.


letterLetter from the Editors

Our last issue invited readers to send us their 'weekend miracle" stories.

     Our readers must be very shy. We didn't receive anything.

     That's disappointing. Maybe we won't be able to continue the series.

     If you would like to see the stories continue, send us yours. Tell us about an event when the Holy Spirit took hold of your life in a new way. The event might have happened on the weekend, in the rollo room, the kitchen, or palanca room. It might have been during a team meeting, or in talking with a new candidate or new pescador, or otherwise related to the weekend.

     Your story, like so many others, gives Glory to our Lord!


Here are answers to our flag quiz, presented in the same sequence as the flag images.


 Cuba    Jamaica Peru  Ukraine

For an inspiring look at how Tres Dias has spread worldwide, the link below will take you to an interactive Google map with "stick pins" showing locations. Click each pin to find the name and location of the community.

     For the communities in our quiz, and for each of the communities you visit on the map, take time to say a silent prayer for the pescadores in that location, as they work to build Christ's church.


In  Christ 

 Don Bohl

Jan Coleman  

 Link to Map of Tres Dias Communities Worldwide  

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July 12-14. Assembly and Secretariat meeting, hosted by Birmingham Tres Dias, Birmingham, AL. The assembly is the other governing body of Tres Dias. Representatives from communities worldwide meet once a year to approve proposals from the International Secretariat and to elect new officers for that group. The event opens with the parade of banners. In addition to the business meetings, there are workshops on how to make Tres Dias more effective on the local level, as well as plenty of time for singing and praise.


The "communities banner," at right, stands at the front of the hall when the Assembly meets. It lists names of communities, with the earliest communities at the center, and subsequent communities spiraling outward.

The Colors of Tres Dias International is published by the Services Committee of the Tres Dias International Secretariat.  Ned Heffington chairs the commitee and serves as associate editor and proofreader.
Our objective is to publish six issues a year. To read prior issues, use this link:

Please take the time to discuss the message in Bruce Cato's Letter with your community.

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Feel free to distribute this newsletter to members of your community. Or, send us your email database, and we'll add everyone to our distribution list.