As you read this, the Covid virus is not the first thing on the Cuban family’s mind. Each new day is a battle to survive. Just getting the basic food and hygiene items our family needs is the focus of every day. Where to go in the city to find what is needed? At what hour should I get in line?  How many hours will I have to wait just to enter the store? Once I find what our family needs, what restrictions will I have as to how much I can buy? And of course, the bottom line, will the few pesos I own be enough to buy what we need?

This is the thought process of everyday life for the Cuban people.  We were recently sent a video from one of the national pastors  of what these lines and endless waiting looks like on the streets of Cuba.  Take a small peek into this daily reality. (just below) 

Endless lines waiting to purchase food.
You can sense the desperation as people line up and at times wait 8-10 hours to enter stores where supplies are now available for purchase in US dollars. A currency most Cubans do not have access to.

ENCOURAGING NEWS

The above video is only one side of the reality in Cuba today. To find out some uplifting news, watch this short video CMA  has recently released, in which Carl shares some of his personal thoughts on life and ministry in Cuba.

Doors open to new ministry opportunities

Now to Him who is “still” able
… to do exceedingly above all that we ask or think …
Ephesians 3:20

No one should downplay the difficulties and heart ache the pandemic is having on all our lives, but we certainly can’t ignore the incredible new ways God is turning these times of hardship into great moments of blessing, refreshment and growth in people’s lives.
 
Many prayed for our first ever online, better stated, “On Phone – WhatsApp” training class  in Cuba. It turned out to be awesome, class time: 9:30pm to 11:30pm (midnight for some students), and because it was online, it allowed leaders from other cities and other countries to be involved. We even had a Cuban missionary church planting couple in Colombia attend the class online. Truly, God’s message knows no boundaries!
These classes focus on joining Jesus in caring for and serving the needs of those in our hurting churches and communities.  It has only added fuel to the fire in these leaders and their churches.  (Photo below:  outreach through crocheting women’s group, sharing results with neighbors, servant/leaders teaching through foot washing).
Our limitations with overseas travel at this time has not meant total travel restrictions within the US. God opened up several opportunities recently to make a visit to a special Cuban pastoral couple now living in the US. They were some of the first church leaders we meet in Cuba and now serve as Spanish church planting coordinators for the Baptist Convention’s North Carolina region. 

They spoke of God working in many new and rapidly growing church plants, but most of the time with them was being a safe place for them to open their souls to us.  Don’t we all long to be heard, known and cared for.  The hours of listening, gave room to their talking about burdens, losses, deep fear and the daily challenges, sacrifice and at times, loneliness in their new life here in the US.  It was truly an honor to be invited into their home and hearts.  We are excited at being able to do this again in the near future.