Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sounds from Cuba (continued)

There are several reasons for why I have decided to continue ministering long term in Cuba. First, I believe the doors are now open for churches in the U.S. to partner with the Cuban churches to provide encouragement, and specialized leadership and theological training in areas they feel we have something to contribute. Long is past the idea that any one group of churches (from the U.S., or elsewhere) have a monopoly on the gospel or theological education. Our posture is one of dependence on each other, and reciprocal learning.
Yet, pastors on the Island cry out, "Please, tell the churches in the U.S. not to close their hands against us, but to open them to bless us." Second, I have met other U.S. ministry leaders who are ministering in Cuba by evangelizing communities, helping set up local churches, and identifying existing house churches whose pastors are disconnected from other nearby pastors simply because they don't know that they are there. Furthermore, many churches have been working in isolation one from another. But, through the ministry of SCPI, and others, churches are slowly crossing denominational divides and sitting around the table together to discuss how they can reach the Island as a unified Body.

Third, and very persuasively for me, is the tug of God's Spirit on my heart. The result of my visit in May has been a growing love for those on the Island and a desire to become more involved in ministry (whatever shape that may take) in order to help further God's work in that country.
Visiting Cuba for me had been a lifelong dream and somewhat of a yearning, since often I sensed that my life was missing a puzzle - seeing the country that birthed me. I am convinced that God is inviting me to join him in what he is doing in Cuba. I don't exactly know what this means in the long run. I only know, that as the Apostle Paul, who heard a voice in a dream of a man calling him to leave Turkey and go to Europe (biblical Asia Minor & Macedonia, Acts 16:6-10), God is undeniably calling me to follow his leading in Cuba.

Why me? First, let me say, that I am humbled that God would speak to my heart about becoming involved with him, in any ministry. Having said this, when I think of my journey to the U.S. as a child of four years old, the years spent in New Jersey, growing up in Miami, being bi-lingual (and bi-cultural), the theological education God has allowed me to obtain, the passion of my heart to see cities and communities reached with the Gospel, I think God has been preparing me throughout life for this time. I'm not moving to Cuba.
However, I do plan to visit the Island often and help develop the leadership and further the ministry already taking place. I don't know what will happen politically, nor how much true and lasting reform might come (only God knows the future). Neither do I ignore (or forget) the pain of separation and the endless suffering that both the exile community living abroad and especially those living under Communism have endured. Yet, I choose to move forward to whatever mission God has for me, and for as long as God plans for me, both out of obedience to his Lordship and because of love for the people of Cuba.

So, I ask that you would please pray for me. Pray that I would clearly discern the wishes of our heavenly Father and have the wisdom to know how to be a blessing. Pray that I would seek to be faithful to him and his purposes for my life until the day he calls me home. And, I ask that you pray for my family, that God would protect them and provide for them during the weeks I will be out each year. I am reminded of a psalm which reads, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you " (Psalm 32:8). This is my prayer for you.
Por Su Gracia y Fidelidad

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