Cuban pastor

God’s Church is Alive and Well in Cuba

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






Reflections on Pastor Isel and Lisy’s trip to the United States

As I reflect back on Pastor Isel and Lisy’s trip, it seemed like we were on the go everyday.  It was hectic and a blessing everywhere we went.  This was Lisy’s first trip to the United States.

We visited and Pastor Isel and Lisy spoke at eleven different churches in the Southwest District and two outside of our district.  We visited with Allen Spears, Agape Flights, in Venice, FL, the transportation for the water purification systems. We met with Kenn Visser of Water One Company in Fort Myers, FL, and maker of the water purification systems now in Cuba.

Of course, we had side trips to Walmart, Publix, Goodwill and many other shopping locations.  Lisy said, “I have never seen so much food and so many choices.”  Our abundance in this county is hard for the people of poor countries to even begin to imagine.

One side bar trip that was totally amazing for Lisy was going through the car wash! Her head was on a swivel as we moved through, splashing water, swinging brushes and blowing the car dry.  “Not in my wildest imagination did I think that was possible,” said Lisy. 

The visit to the Englewood United Methodist Foundation Preschool left a lasting impression with Pastor Isel and Lisy.  Preschools are not available in Cuba. 

Comments I heard days after the visit to the preschool included:

  • “We have space, we could do this.”
  • “We have mothers that would love to help.
  • “We have young mothers leaving their children at different locations.
  • "It is possible in Cuba for us to offer this type of service."
  • “Why not our church?”
  • “We need baby cradles, toys, Bibles for children and Christian material.”

I believe a seed was planted. Let’s nourish this project and see where God is going to take it.

At every location, Lisy would say, “Everyone is so friendly and warm I did not know what to expect when I arrived, but I did not expect the openness. This is totally different than what I was told about the United States. It took me 33 years to learn differently.”

I thank everyone for your hospitality during their month visit in the United States.

Dan Christopherson
Southwest District President