The morning of day 4 began with a welcomed blessing. I had stayed up most of the night working to get DVD’s duplicated. At the little bed and breakfast where Nancy and I stayed, we ate a nice meal that our host prepared for us and then waited for the team to arrive to pick us up. When they did, Ben, the drivers, Miguel, and Abel all came in the room and could tell pretty quickly that it had been a long night. We were in somewhat of a hurry but Abel immediately stopped everyone from moving so that he could pray. It was a very meaningful prayer asking that the Lord bless me for my service and sacrifice during that night that nobody would really know about. I didn’t say anything about staying up all night but he felt impressed to acknowledge my labor and pray for me. It was somewhat humbling and sobering at the same time.
We met up at the Baptist church and seminary where I was able to give the marching orders to the group that was going to stay behind. Pastor Everette and my father would talk with the members of both the Baptist and the Assembly of God churches who would meet at the same location to hear about the Today With God project. They ended up giving an overview of what the project was followed by breaking out into smaller groups where the American missionaries could work through a lesson from the curriculum with the Cuban church members and home cell leaders. Though I had gone on with the other half of our group, I was told that this was a very meaningful time with excitement from the Cuban nationals over the tool that we were bringing to them.
The other half of the group and myself headed on to Cespedes where we would meet up with Carlos and the pastors who were already there for the Pastoral conference and ministry anniversary. We had the opportunity to pick up Yanet, Carlitos’ wife, and bring her with us from Santa Clara to Cespedes. This was a treat because she hadn’t seen his side of the family for some time because Carlitos has been in the states doing a ministry concert tour with the band.
Three and a half hours later, we arrived at the church there in Cespedes. We were greeted with a wonderful meal and were able to get right to work afterwards. I began working on the computer to load content on different drives and such as pastors began to gather around. Even though I didn’t speak the same language as them, we were able to communicate. A smile and a face filled with excitement when I play a clip of Today With God in their language speaks almost as much as a conversation in the same language would have. We planned through the details for the next few days and then the rest of the group that stayed back in Santa Clara arrived just before dinner.
The real excitement of the day came right after dinner. Home churches were taking place all around the city. It was sort of like a mixture between home cell groups and little church plants. We broke our team up into pairs and took part in seven or eight different home church services around town. When Nancy and I arrived at the home we would be going to, it was a concrete home with roughly 800 square feet of living space under a thin layer of somewhat rusted corrugated metal. The largest room in the home was the kitchen dining area which blended together with the living room area. This area was probably 200 square feet in total. They had converted this entire area into a church with about 4 or 5 benches and rocking chairs lined up in formation facing the front of the room where the family would normally eat. There was maybe two lights in the whole viewable area and the serene slight hum of the ‘70s model rugged refrigerator. The windows seem to be permanently open as does the doorway of the home to allow for the natural air conditioning to make its way through the home. Every so often, the evening song of nature would be broken up by the sound of a horse and carriage passing by, a loud diesel converted car navigating the mine field of dirt road potholes, or people walking.
They were singing songs and praising the Lord when we walked up. It wasn’t long before they asked through our translator that I come up to the front and share with them what we had brought. I had the opportunity to share for a moment then jump right in to the curriculum that was prepared to accompany the “Who Is Jesus?” The first thing in the curriculum makes the statement, “God’s power is like magic. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?” It was nice to see that the group didn’t waste any time jumping right into the discussion with one another and then eagerly awaited the next portion of the lesson. We worked our way through the video segments and subsequent curriculum material that had been created. The participation was everything I could have asked for. It was an excellent feeling to be able to see the initial fruits of a very long labor.After the service was over, our ride most likely forgot us in the hustle and bustle of carting people around. Nancy and I, along with our translator Alex, decided would just take the mile and a half walk instead. On our evening stroll back to the church, Alex, who also pastors an Assembly of God church in a town about 45 minutes away, shared a few elements of his personal testimony. I’ll be sure to post a future blog with that testimony at some point. It’s a real great demonstration that God is in every nation, every language, and every culture!