Cuba is a very special place for me and not necessarily because I was born there. When I visit the Methodist Church in Cuba, God always sends an unexpected blessing that renews my life and my love for the Lord’s work. Recently, that blessing came through an unplanned encounter with Rev. Jorge Luis Hernandez of La Pastora Methodist Church in the Central district.
|Deteriorated roof at "La Pastora"|
Pastor Jorge came to my mother’s home to pray with her as she had just gone through cataract surgery. Jorge, as the great communicator that he is, started sharing enthusiastically about the place where he and his family serve God. With a smile on his lips he told us: “The chickens climb to the thatch roof of our sanctuary and make holes looking for insects to eat. When it rains the water comes in torrents through the holes and we have to put an end to the service.” Homorously, he continued: “We always have ‘visitors’ at the service such as roaches, mice, lizards, snakes that fall from the roof.”
In a more sober tone, he talked about the scorpions that have infected the house where he and his family live. The scorpions fall on the mosquito nets they place over their beds and he hits them so they fall on a bucket of water where they drown. He said, “Sister, I would like to have a First Aid kit with steroid shots to give our children in case one day they are stung by a scorpion”. I asked him if he was trained in giving injections. Then I got the surprise of the trip: “Yes, I am an orthopedic surgeon. Five years ago I received the call of God and I left my medical practice to serve the Lord in the pastoral ministry.”
I was speechless. This man, who was trained to do things that few of us can do, had chosen the path of serving God in a ministry filled with challenges, a ministry that demands great faith, persistence in hope, and a profound conviction in divine providence.
I asked him how much it would take to repair the roof and I gave him the money for it, on behalf of the Christian Methodists of Florida. Jorge told me that the previous night he and his wife had been praying long hours into the night, crying to God for a miracle. Together we cried out of joy as we witnessed, once again, the hand of God at work.
|"La Pastora", worshiping congregation.|
God is doing wonderful things through the Methodist Church in Cuba as a testimony to the world of the transforming power of the Gospel. For us, United Methodists in Florida, it is a privilege to have a sister relationship with the Christian Methodists in Cuba.
I invite you to collaborate with God by supporting a local church in Cuba through the Methodists United in Prayer ministry. God wants to use you as a channel of blessing in his divine plan for Cuba. At the same time, God's desire is to bless you and honor His Word in your life: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
There are three conference-wide mission trips to Cuba scheduled for the summer/fall. If interested, email team leader/contact person:
HAVANA SEMINARY, CUBA
Date: July 12-21, 2012
Opened to: FL Conference
Team size: 12
Budget per team member: $1,600
Team leader: Robert Pinera, firstname.lastname@example.org
YOUNG ADULT CONFERENCE, CAMP CANAAN, CUBA
Date: June 17-26, 2012
Purpose: Building relationships
Opened to: FL Conference young adults
Team size: 8
Budget per team member: $1,400
Contact: Haylee Linduff, email@example.com
UNITED METHODIST WOMAN CONFERENCE, CAMP CANAAN, CUBA
Date: Sept 11-14, 2012
Purpose: Attend annual women gathering of the Methodist Church in Cuba
Opened to: UMW of the FL conference
Team size: 10
Budget per team member: $1,400
Team leader: Icel Rodriguez, firstname.lastname@example.org
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