Dear Mission Partner,
I just returned from Mission Cuba…thanks so much for your prayers! So many people have asked, “What was Cuba like?” My first response remains unchanged…” It was very interesting!” This was my first mission to a Communist/ socialist country that is closed to the open sharing of the gospel. Churches are allowed but there can be no public events that share the Good News. Thus, the goal of our ministry was to help, assist and encourage a pastor of a house church and fellow believers. The pastor has 14 new believers to baptize as soon as he organizes the details of using a church that meets across town. We distributed essential things such as clothing and personal hygiene items that we brought and food that we bought. The government provides necessities but that is never enough and the small amount of money that they earn (a doctor makes $80 per month!) doesn’t go very far.
The second question I am asked, “Do the people seem happy?” That question is a little more complicated and so my response is “Yes and No.” There was a sweet spirit in the worship service and I sensed satisfaction in Jesus. Our visit to the Baptist Theological Seminary in Havana, founded by Southern Baptist in 1901 was a trip highlight! There you encounter believers on mission who feel the call of God to be there in Cuba to spread the gospel. They would be no other place! However, concerning the people of Cuba at large, I was told that if the average person had the money and could acquire the proper documents from the USA, they would leave and not return. he The Cuban people are friendly, love Carabean style music and welcome Americans, in fact, the current leader is encouraging tourism to boost the economy which currently is solely dependent on the export of sugar. The island is beautiful, clean and makes a much better presentation than all other 3rd world countries I visit. PRAY for Cuba! PRAY for the Christians who feel a deep sense of urgency to share the gospel. PRAY for other ways that we can help, encourage and partner with our brothers and sisters in Cuba.
Our next Mission Encounter is March 8-15 to Guatemala. My first trip to Guatemala was in 2006 and I have grown to love the country and people. LBL in partnership with the ministry of my friend Frank Whitaker will return with a mission team of 34 to the area of Chiquimula and conduct ministry among the Chorti Indians. The medical personnel will conduct clinics in many locations and usually one location will have never experienced a medical team in their village. I will assist local pastors in sharing the gospel with those who come for medical attention. We also distribute beans, rice and cooking oil to the very poor so if you would like to help in this financial need it would be deeply appreciated and a blessing to the people who have so little. If that is your desire, please mark the return envelope “GUATEMALA.”
Debby and I deeply appreciate your partnership in the gospel, your prayers and gifts. When I transitioned into this ministry of missions in 2009 I would have never dreamed that the Lord would open so many doors around the world. Recently I celebrated my 70th birthday and someone asked, “You are getting old! How much longer are you going to travel to so many places?” I replied, “In 2009 I transitioned out of the pastorate but I did not retire. I plan to GO as long as the Lord provides the health and the financial resources!” Hallelujah!! THANK YOU for allowing our Lord to use you to make eternal investments in His Kingdom. One day in heaven you will meet your investment because the only thing going to heaven isn’t things, but PEOPLE!
Love & Blessings,
Larry & Debby