“It is the LORD who goes before you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Our recent mission to Cuba was very eventful in both good and bad ways. When the enemy starts attacking, as he did while in Cuba, we know we are stirring up the demonic, and we expectantly wait to see how the Lord moves. Many on the first team that Jeff led ended up getting sick which put a few of them down for about 24 hours. But it didn’t stop them from the assignment of sharing the gospel with many of the people in Pastor Ricardo’s neighborhood resulting in 43 professions of faith. The despair and hopelessness in Cuba in contrast to the message of grace is so evident that the Good News was received by most everyone who heard.
I brought the next team in, and our assignment was to evangelize in a new neighborhood with a small church who is pastored by our friend, Ulysses. We met Ulysses about a year ago and knew that helping him and his small congregation to reach his community was what the Lord wanted us to do.
We’ve shared the gospel many times over the years and each time it is always amazing to witness new life…a complete transformation. This time was no different, but what was unique was that it felt like every person we encountered had been waiting on us to get there. So many hurting and desperate people were waiting for the Prince of Peace. We had 28 professions of faith and, of those, about 15 showed up at church the next day to worship. Ulysses’ little congregation just about doubled.
We talked with the church leaders about the importance of following up with each of these new believers, and they were firmly committed to the task. I can’t wait to go back and see all our new friends!
Thank you for sending bread makers, supplies, money, and prayers with us as we went in the name of the Lord. YOU are vital to the mission and we can’t thank you enough!
We love it when those who go on mission for the first time share their experiences. I posted two stories from women who pressed through the enemy’s attacks of fear and got out of their comfort zone to serve the Lord on mission. If your church or small group are interested in going and getting your faith dirty, we’d love to come share what’s going on at TREC and put together a mission designed with your gifts and talents in mind. Call Jeff anytime at 334-303-2626 to get that ball rolling!
Ulysses and Jeff
Tanner teaches at Ulysses’sChurch and Albert interpreting
Sharing the Gospel at an abandoned train shed
Jeff’s visual of how the Church body works
Sitting in church a few months back, I felt a nudge from my husband. I looked up to see the announcement for a mission trip to Cuba. I shook my head no. Our discussion about it later was full of excuses on my part. I can’t take that much time off of work… What about the kids?… We can’t afford it… I’m not the right person for this…. It would be too dangerous for us to both go, you go… The truth was, I was scared. Fear of giving my testimony and praying with others was holding me back. He signed us up anyway and the trip was paid for, but even as I was packing I was wondering how I could get out of it.
Fear. The Bible tells us that God does not give us a spirit of fear. If that’s true, then where did my fear come from? The answer is Satan himself. The greatest tool Satan has in his battle against Christians is fear. It renders us immobile, useless, and ineffective in spreading God’s love and gift of salvation. Fear also prevents others from accepting God’s grace and power. Once in Cuba, I watched timidly from the back of the group as others in our group spoke to people and prayed them into the kingdom. When an opportunity arose for me to give my testimony, my heart took a leap out of my chest, but then the Holy Spirit took over. The words came easier than I expected and a connection was made. I led Marilyn in a prayer of salvation, a moment that brought me to a new place in my own spiritual journey.
I wasn’t ready to return home when the time came because it felt like we had just gotten started. I returned home from Cuba a different person than when I left. My spiritual eyes were opened to the reality of good and evil as I witnessed true spiritual battles happening in some of our conversations. Fear will no longer control me and I am ready with an answer for my faith. I can go forth boldly and proclaim the Good News. The people of Cuba were so friendly and so receptive to the message of hope that we brought. In all, we prayed with 43 people to accept Christ as their savior. 43 souls will be spending an eternity in heaven because we didn’t let Satan win. If God is calling you to go, stop making excuses and just go. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.
Renee Lantz – Centerpoint
Over the last 23+ years I have prayed Isaiah 6:8, “Here I am! Send me.” This summer the Lord answered my prayer. It was time to go, and Cuba would be the place. TREC and a team from my church joined together and headed to Cuba. I knew this mission would be very impactful, but I had no idea how much it would change my life in just 5 days. To see the way the Cuban people live gave me a different perspective for my own life. The way I live my life will never be the same.
The way the Cuban people worship is so genuine. My very first experience in Cuba was going into
Yunior’s home and worshiping the Lord. What an incredible experience! I have never witnessed worship the way I did that night. We came to serve and be the hands and feet of Jesus but that night we received the blessing. Life is hard for the Cuban people. They do not have the means to get food, toiletries, and resources like we do in America. They wait in line for hours, sometimes days, trying to gather items on their list for that month. John Piper said, “the essence of worship is heartfelt, hope-filled joy in the God of mercy.” Despite the hardships they face, they have hope-filled joy.
God showed up and showed out!! We had the opportunity to go into a village that was new to TREC. We partnered with the local church in this community and flooded the streets with the Good News! We were split into 3 teams each containing a few from the mission group, a translator, and a few Cubans from the local church. Each person we spoke with was hungry for hope and peace. As I walked away from each home, I realized I was leaving a piece of my heart with them. There is one person in particular that I will never forget; his name is Franklin. Franklin was struggling, you see, he knew of Jesus and what He did for him but, he had never accepted the Lord as his Savior. Franklin, like many of us, couldn’t put his fleshly desires aside. As he began sharing with us, I recognized his story. I, too, once struggled with the exact same issue Franklin was having. I was able to share with him how the Lord rescued me, turned my life around and brought me to his home, that day, so he, too, could be rescued! Franklin along with 29 others in the village received the gift of salvation while we were there! To God be the glory!
Leaving was the hardest part. I had to say goodbye to a village that once was full of strangers but now was full of my brothers and sisters in the Lord. I saw lives turn from mourning into dancing, the sick become healed, and a village become brighter. I have truly tasted and seen that the Lord is good! My life is forever changed by this experience. I pray that my life reflects a life worthy of His calling. My mission is not finished, it’s just getting started!
Melissa Morrow – Thorington Road Baptist Church, Montgomery, AL
As the end of the year quickly approaches, we want to thank you for helping us to proclaim the name of Christ with your time, talents, and gifts. Year-end giving helps us finish strong and gives us momentum for the work next year. You can give it by check and send it to PO Box 242205 Montgomery, AL 36124, or through the website using the link at the bottom of this letter. Thank you for supporting us through the years…there is still so much left to do.