In April, Jeff took a team from Camden, AL to Cuba for our first ever marriage conference. Five married couples went to share with other married couples what a Godly marriage looks like. They shared Truth with grace and love to hurting people. Sharing life experiences and how God was able to heal and mend broken lives. Jeff said it went better than he had expected or could have imagined, and God was glorified! The team also did some street evangelism. I wanted to share with you two testimonies of a married couple who went, Malcolm and Julie Smith.
This was my third trip to Cuba with TREC and the trips just keep getting better. This one was the first trip that my wife got to go with me. There is something special about a couple getting to share their faith together. She got to meet all of the people that I love and talk about in Cuba.
I love the bonds that we get with our translators. They are people of God and just pour their lives out to us on these trips. They not only translate but share their testimonies with us and are such warriors for God with the people of Cuba.
The church that we work with there has very committed people that stop what they are doing for the week and work side by side with us every day in the streets. All we had to do was show up and watch God work in the potholed streets of rural Havana, Cuba.
During this trip I got to see the “Parable of the Seeds” come to life right before my eyes. Matt. 13:3-9 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crops hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.“
There are a bunch of hard paths in Cuba, a lot of rocky soil and thorns and weeds, but if you look long enough you can find some fertile soil. Then when I got home a secret was revealed to me out of the Scriptures. Right after that parable it says in v 14, “you will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.“
We get used to our life here of church, work, and play, and we can hear and see people in need but we don’t do a thing. Then you go somewhere like Cuba and get all the distractions out of the way and you can see it come to life. The Bible tells us to “seek and we will find, ask and it shall be given, knock and the door will open.” Of course “seek” is a verb, so it takes some getting up off the couch and going before the Lord reveals something to us. Just hearing the word or reading the word is not enough. If you want some truth revealed to you, you have to get up and go, seek and you will find. Go get your faith dirty.
The experience I had with the TREC Camden Cuba Team was absolutely amazing. When Malcolm asked me if I wanted to go to Cuba on this trip, I hesitated and had some reservations. I came up with excuses about the kids possibly needing one of us, and I also told him I didn’t think I could talk to people about God. I had never taken part in any type of home or street evangelism and felt out of my comfort zone. I prayed about it for several weeks and felt like God was leading me to go. The decision to go was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
The first morning we were assigned to our team, and I was with Pastor Ricardo, Malcolm, Rebecca who translated for us, and Veronica that attended the church. We noticed a couple of younger teenagers and some children on the street so Pastor Ricardo went over to speak. Shortly after, he was motioning “ME” to come share my story. I started feeling anxious at first, but as I spoke to this young girl, just the presence of God consumed me. Our eyes seemed to “lock” and as I told her some of the troubles I had faced and how God got me through those troubles, I could feel my eyes fill with tears. I looked into her eyes and saw the same tears and also the same tears in Rebecca’s eyes as she translated what I was telling her. Just the communication throughout all three of us was amazing.
God placed every word so intricately on my tongue and through Rebecca’s tongue as she translated. After I finished, I told this young girl that she could have the same relationship with God that I had too because it was free to all who believed in Him. I told her even though I was in the states and she was in Cuba, God promises that through our relationship with HIM we could live for eternity in heaven with Him. We are only on this earth for a short time. She said she wanted to accept Christ in her heart. I stepped back and Pastor Ricardo led her in the sinner’s prayer.
Honestly, I felt spiritually exhausted when I had finished, like I was pleading with the devil to let this girl go! After that one experience, I was fired up! I wanted to share more with as many people as I could. This experience was one of many that I encountered. The entire trip was indescribable. It is a spiritual high everyone needs to experience for themselves if given the opportunity. I definitely want to experience it again, and I will be going back to see my Cuban family! Thanks for all you do with this mission!