From beginning to end this summer in Cuba was a whole lot of crazy, and even ramped up to the level of mysterious at times. In some matters, I think we will never really know what went down behind the scenes, yet we cling to a God who is sovereign in all. This quote by Elizabeth Elliot kept our eyes on Him alone during this past summer.
"I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned ... Are some things, then, out of the control of the Almighty? For every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are canceled. Decisions become much easier, directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter. A quiet heart is content with what God gives."
All in all, it was a very crammed packed 5 weeks that challenged us to the max, and blessed our hearts deeply, as we got to serve alongside local leadership in a variety of ministry opportunities.
Pastors and their families gather to fan the flame
One of the highlights of our trip was getting to spend a full week at a Pastor's retreat. It gave us an incredible opportunity to know and appreciate so many families and their ministries taking place all throughout the country of Cuba. We loved the diversity of hearing of God at work in urban centres, while others were in remote mountain areas travelling from congregation to congregation on horse back.
There were times of laughter, learning, fellowship and blessing. We heard over and over of the value of encouragement and strengthening of these pastoral families. It was a great time of "filling them up" and then seeing their overflow and excitement at heading back to where God has placed them.
If I did attempt to use some words they would be ... soul searching, intimate, dynamic, brokenness, community, uplifting worship, tangible hope, and eternal fruitfulness. Many of these teens come from broken and unchurched families and just sobbed as they shared that never had they experienced 4 days of such unconditional love and joy in their lives - their tears were of thinking about what would await them when they returned home.
While it was an incredible privilege to be involved in the teaching and games at these camps, I think our greatest joy was in building relationships with 60+ of the future leaders of Cuba (ages 15-30) being equipped to lead, mentor, and facilitate small groups. The theme this year was "Unveiling your heart before God" and these future leaders did this beautifully as God worked and spoke among them.
Amazing leadership team worshiping with teens July 2017.