I just returned from a week long mission trip to Cuba sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with Rick Bonfim Ministries in support of the Methodist Church of Cuba. We were forty people of all walks and ages – pastors, airline pilots, business people, working and retired, and a special group of 15 University of Georgia students who are part of the UGA Wesley Fellowship Foundation. We conducted seminars at a conference of 840 Cuban missionaries, and split into smaller teams visiting 19 churches around and between Santa Clara and Havana, worshipping and praying for the church members. Cuba is an 1100 km island with 11 million people. God is alive and well in Cuba, where we met missionaries from all over the island; happy, joyful, expectant people thrilled to receive us. We came to be a blessing, but we were the ones blessed, hopefully carrying the fire back to the US. [As reported by Art Druckenmiller]
I quoted Art, and new and dear friend made on this trip, because I can’t say it better than he did. I’m grateful for his summary, and to know him. In fact I’d have to say I met 39 new and dear friends on this trip. It would seem that we each were invited personally by the Holy Spirit. There was no strife, only camaraderie and fellowship in service to the King. It started out that way, and only got better till we left the island for home.
The Methodist Bishop of Cuba addressed our group one morning and excitedly told us they have 400 churches, but 1000 new church plants! This fact was underscored by our mission that Art described above. 840 missionaries (We might call them church planters.) had traveled from all over the island, some for 11 hours or more and were camping at a large church campground with a big auditorium. There our teachers taught them the Word in four or five groups each morning, with translators, followed by ministry times where we prayed for them without translators as they hurriedly lined up expectantly for the prayer.
By the tens and hundreds they came forward. Prayer times were sometimes as long as the teaching times it seemed. It was humbling to minister to people who were more familiar perhaps and intimate with the Holy Spirit than many of us were. But everyone of us did minister, in obedience and faith, faith that God would hear and act on our prayers. There were many signs He did, indeed. 🙂
During the first four days, I’d say we went to bed at midnight and were up at six, eating breakfast at a hotel in Santa Clara where we stayed, and spending the rest of the day at the camp, except for a 2-3 hour much needed, after-noon break at the hotel, followed by getting back on the vans and heading to 19 different local churches in the evenings.
Toward the end of our time we returned to Havana, and ministered one night in churches there. In Havana the pace slowed as we had Bible studies, and worship times ourselves, for personal spiritual renewal and times with the Lord.
We spent one afternoon as tourists taking a walking tour of Havana, and ended up going to a beach about twenty minutes away for relaxation and enjoying the island.
The Cuban people were warm and friendly. We fell in love with their warmth, humility, and charm. The family of God is the family of God wherever you find them. They were a treasure to us, and hopefully we were a refreshment to them.
I feel blessed of the Lord to have made the trip and to know them, along with our team; both of which I will treasure for eternity.
My look was limited to the Methodist Church on the island, but this move of God is being poured out in many of the churches, as reported in “Operation World,” 7th Edition 2010, showing about 15% of the population “Evangelicals” or “Charismatics,” with a growth rate of 4% annually.
The Cuban Church’s motto I’m told is, “Cuba for Christ in Ten Years!” May it be so. Pray for the church in Cuba and go if you get the chance! Following the Lord is a continual adventure!