|Congregation at El Mamey Methodist Church.
"There is no bad people around here." That was the answer from a farmer in the community of El Mamey, in Eastern Cuba, when my husband and I asked for a place to leave our rental car in what appeared to be an unsafe area.
As soon as we got out of the car, the lively music coming from the small church across the road filled our ears and lifted our spirits. It had been a long journey to this point, and we were excited to visit this church.
When we stepped into the sanctuary, the time of sharing testimonies had just started. This is something very typical in the Methodist Church in Cuba. During the worship service and in a very spontaneous way, the congregation shares stories of where they saw God during the week.
Three weeks earlier, in Tallahassee, someone left an anonymous note on my husband’s office at John Wesley UMC. The note included $100 and said that the money was meant for a young woman in Cuba who was going through extremely difficult times and was considering very dangerous options to get out of her situation. During our week-long trip throughout Cuba, Armando and I had kept our spiritual ears and eyes open, praying that God would reveal this person to us. A week went by. The time to return to Florida was soon approaching, and we had not found anyone in a situation like the anonymous benefactor had described.
That Sunday morning, during the sharing of testimonies at El Mamey Methodist Church, things changed. Yanely, a young woman and mother of two, told the congregation how the strong winds of Hurricane Sandy ripped off the thatch roof of her small house. Everything she had in the house, including her two mattresses, was destroyed. Her whole family had been sleeping on the floor for the last year.
A couple of months ago Yanely and her husband were able to buy three piglets. They hoped to raise the pigs and sell them for enough money to purchase two mattresses. Unfortunately, that week the piglets got sick and died. As Yanely was sharing her story, it was less about her tragedy and much, much more about God’s promises and the assurance that He would provide for them in their time of need, even without the piglets.
As we listened to her story, my husband and I thought she might be the person we had been looking for that whole week. Following the service, we talked to the pastor to hear more about Yanely’s story. The pastor told us that she had been so overwhelmed and depressed after Hurricane Sandy that she had had terrible thoughts of suicide by setting herself on fire and other awful things.
We needed no further confirmation. Our Lord and Father, who is over all and through all and in all, was at the lead. Through differences of culture, space, and language, someone in Tallahassee was inspired by the Holy Spirit to provide for an unknown person and send help in the time of need.
My husband and I were just the postal service!