Let me clarify from the start I am not talking about the U.S. Naval Base and prison in Guantanamo, Cuba. I can say, “I have looked towards the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and prison.” While in the Guantanamo District of Cuba we stopped at a lookout point with a spectacular view of the southern coastline of Cuba. As we climbed the lookout tower halfway to the summit, we had to rent a pair of binoculars. I must admit that in each direction the views were spectacular. Yes, in front of me was Guantanamo Bay (the water) I was told to look to the left horizon to the point of land shooting out into the Bay, which I could see. There was a faint “blur” of nothing even through the binoculars that was the base. Not that I cared, but I did expect to see more than a blur.
How many times in life have you experienced similar results? I can remember looking so forward to seeing “The Alamo” in San Antonio, Texas. I had seen movies, and I had this vision of the rolling countryside and the Santa Anna troops attacking this humble Texas Mission Fort. The experience left a lasting impression which was not good. It was in the city and nothing like I pictured in my mind.
Guantanamo where the grandeur of the mountain ranges in places cuddles the coastline and the blue-green turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The enchanting city of Baracoa is still healing from two years of being struck by hurricanes and severe storms. You can still see the decaying remains of towering Royal Palms lying on the mountainside. The beautiful palm trees once overlooked the humble villages below.
The resilience of the people and their love of Jesus Christ is something to behold. You would think that after the torrid winds of two hurricanes their faith would be broken, but it only grows stronger. The Methodist churches growth in this area has skyrocketed. They are short of space, short of Bibles, but they are not short of faith.
I attended a Women’s Conference on the beach in Imias, Cuba. Rest assured when Cuban’s meet there will be music, no not just music, “Loud Music!” I want you to picture this in Sarasota, Venice or anywhere with a beach in the United States. First, loud music is echoing across the beach; and people standing listening to a lady preaching and praying. After an hour and a half, six young people came up to the group. My expectation was; would you please turn down that loud music but totally to the contrary. They asked, “Who and what is so special about this Jesus Christ that we heard in the music?” Pastor Arnaldo did not miss a beat telling the youth about the joys of knowing and being in a relationship with their savior.
Our group still had some Bibles available in the bus that we had delivered to one of the local churches. As we started to hand out Bibles, the group grew to fifteen youth all wanting to learn more about this stranger that they were hearing his name for the first time. One of them asked, “Who is this Jesus you are talking about?” This experience at the beach far exceeded my expectations. What will happen to these fifteen youth? I do not know only God does. But that day fifteen youth came to the beach to play in the water, sun, and sand. I want to believe their day left a lasting impression as they get to know “this Jesus.”
Pray and push for Guantanamo.
Southwest District Mission Program, Inc