Second Trip to Cuba
“Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”
Ephesians 1: 2-3
Dear brothers and sisters, with God’s grace a group of 6 people from different states (Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and California) were able to visit Cuba a second time with the purpose of evangelism. We are very thankful to all of those who prayed for the spreading of the Gospel and for our trip. We felt special blessing and guidance from the Lord all throughout the trip, starting with the preparation, even though there were some obstacles and our faith was put to a test many times. Sincere thanks to all the churches, brothers, sisters and all of those who had participated in donating to the spread of Gospel in Cuba. August of last year, by God’s grace, we were able to visit Cuba first time. During that time we were able to establish some connections with some of the Christians from Cuban churches as well as Christian Russian-speaking women, living in that country.
We were able to visit Cuba a second time in 2016, January 7-13. It is our desire to share about this trip. The purpose of this trip was to visit some of the Christian churches, bring Bibles and other religious material in Spanish and Russian since Bibles are not published in that country. The second reason for this trip was to get acquainted with the situation in the country for evangelization purposes. Since the religious freedom is somewhat limited in Cuba we made a request to the Cuban government to get religious visas. With God’s blessing the visas were given to us very promptly even though the process usually takes a long time. With these visas we could now begin evangelism without any legal conflicts.
In the beginning of the trip we had a few hardships. Since the group members were from different states we decided to meet in Miami, Florida and from there fly together to Cuba. Due to flight delays, two of the brothers came to Florida a day later when all of the other group members had left with the scheduled flight to Cuba. As the flight was coming to an end, something happened to the airplane and the pilot decided to return to Florida. When the airplane was landing, our brothers saw that there were police and firefighter cars waiting for the airplane. Many of the passengers became anxious; some even had tears in their eyes but with God’s help the aircraft landed safely. All the passengers were then directed back into the terminal while the airplane was being fixed. The pilot then came out and announced that there is only one airplane that flies to Cuba and if people want to get there they don’t have a different choice but to board the same plane. Many of the passengers were less than happy to hear this turnout and some declined to fly. The second flight attempt to Cuba was successful.
The woman who had our visas met us upon arrival. The brothers who were bringing the literature and gifts arrived a day later. Their bags were thoroughly checked but praise to the Lord everything was allowed. After the baggage check we walked outside, the weather was beautiful, 77 °F. January is the coolest month in Cuba.
Praise to the Lord for His blessings which we saw throughout the whole time. He sent us people who could be translators and those who helped us find a place to stay. During our trip, our methods of transportation were different kinds of taxis such as cars, carriages and bikes.
During this trip we had the opportunity to visit a few cities, some of them were: Varadero, Matanzas, Havana and Pinar Del Rio. With God’s help and assistance of the local Baptist churches, we were able to have 4 church services in Cuban churches. Since mostly everyone speaks Spanish, a translator accompanied us throughout our trip. During the church services we preached and sung in Russian, Spanish and sometimes English. After the services we handed out Bibles, New Testaments, Gospel according to John and tracts. Many of the people had a desire to speak to us or the pastor that was part of our group. Parents asked for us to pray about their children and some were praying with prayer of repentance during the services.
In one of the villages we visited, we went from house to house inviting adults and children to come to the evening service. People readily responded and gathered at the church at the scheduled times. We were pleasantly surprised with the amount of people gathered, especially young children. They were told about the great love of God, about salvation – the great gift God gave to the world, about the birth of Jesus Christ and everlasting life. At the end we invited everyone to pray. Since our visit was at Christmas time, according to the Eastern calendar, we brought the children candies and gifts such as: pencils, notebooks, toothbrushes and other necessities. We were able to buy all of this with the money that some churches and people in America had donated. Even though we had to pay $2 for every transported pound, we were glad to see the joy in the faces of everyone when they received small gifts. Many of the families in this area live very poor, one of the boys said that he doesn’t remember when he last ate candies.
The pastors from Cuba were very thankful for the visit of their churches and for the live Word of God which was preached. They asked to keep them in our prayers and visit again.
The second half of our trip we spent with the Russian-speaking population. Most of then are females who moved to Cuba in the 1980’s from the Soviet Union. The life of many of these people is very tragic and they all need Jesus Christ. We had the opportunity to visit 3 small groups and lead services there as well. Some of the people have heard and know about Jesus Christ, others haven’t and are not Christian. They asked a lot of questions, spoke to the pastor and repented.
Brothers went out to the city with an accordion. They sang and gave out tracts to people, met a lot of those whose life was wrecked with sin. While speaking to them, brothers tried to show them that the place of peace was only in Christ. The people we met asked us who are we and where is our church. Many stated that they were looking for this kind of Christians. We once more saw that these people need to hear the Gospel.
Most of the local people consider themselves devout Catholics, but there are those that follow African rituals. After the Cuban revolution, many of the prohibited African rituals are now allowed and placed in the same category as all other church activities. Santeria is the religion that is spearing fast like a plague and gaining more followers.
Even though most of the Cubans are Catholics, other denominations have spread in the country. Sadly, usually these denominations have an incorrect understanding of the Holy Scriptures.
We are praying that God would bless this country and that His Word, unchanged, could be spread and more people could find peace in Christ.
“And this I do for the Gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.” 1st Corinthians 9:23.