After our mission trip in February, I was convinced that God’s Church is indeed alive and well in Cuba. Our group visited seven churches in the North Holguin District. The story of each church was similar and exciting. When a church was started, the only worshipers were the family members of the pastor, but now several years later close to 100 people are worshiping each Sunday. Not only are the churches flourishing, but they all have missions in the surrounding villages. In addition to missions, there are small cells meeting at homes. Christianity is spreading throughout Cuba. It was extremely exciting to hear about the growth of the church in the communist nation. Many of the pastors left good-paying jobs to take their call. One remembered the first morning in their small shack and wondering if he could succeed. His old boss tempted him with a pay raise if he quit the ministry and returned to his old job. With the strength and dedication granted from God he stayed on his mission and built a new church building for the crowd of worshipers now coming to his church.
Hearing the stories of potential glorious growth in light of the many financial needs made it obvious how we Americans can assist our fellow Christian brothers and sisters in Cuba. They may be poor in material resources, but are so rich in their faith. The pastor of one of my church’s sister churches waved his hand around his worship building and told me it was all made possible by our donations. We started by paying the pastor’s salary of $360 per year and then listened to his needs and wants for the growth of his church. We felt the responsibility to help our Cuban Christians just as those in Greek and Turkish churches helped those in need in Judea nearly two thousand years ago. It is truly a blessing to assist our church family in need. And we all pray for each other. When I told the pastor of our sister church that I prayed for him and his church every day, he thanked me with tears in his eyes and told me how his congregation daily prays for us. Tearfully, I responded that we feel their prayers. The bond is very strong between sister churches.
Most of our team members did not speak Spanish well and we relied on our wonderful interpreters, but we discovered that most of the Cuban Christians knew three English words as they honored us with: “God Bless You.”
Our visit to our Cuban brothers and sisters helped us to realize that the true security is in holding onto God. God gave us everything, and most important, He gave us the salvation we share with our friends in Cuba. In the worst times He gives us strength and His peace. He also gives us American Christians compassion for fellow Christians and opens our hearts to help them.
Dr. Phill Kolbe