“The Methodist Church in Cuba stands out as a beacon of spiritual freedom, miraculous signs and wonders, unexpected blessings, and salsa-infused worship… It is a thriving testimony to the profound hope found at the roots of the faith.” Good News Magazine, March/April 2017
As most people know, Cuba is currently going through a time of massive transition as travel bans are being lifted, and economic and diplomatic relationships are eased. It’s an exciting time for Cuba.
But perhaps even more exciting is to see how God has been at work for decades in the Methodist Church of Cuba, which has been experiencing a historic period of revival and renewal for over 20 years. With 46,500 members, and twice that many involved in the ministry of the denomination, scores of new believers are regularly coming to faith in Christ; worship is culturally relevant, ‘combustible and dynamic;’ congregations are constantly being formed throughout the country; and there are more pastors wanting to be trained than there are churches where they can serve. It is indeed a very exciting time for the Cuban Methodist Church.
The first week in March, a group of nine connected with Central UMC had the opportunity to travel to Havana and witness first-hand all that God is doing in the church.
Our group was assigned the task of working on the Methodist Nursing Home in Havana, located across the street from the Methodist Church at Marianao, the largest Methodist Church in Cuba. We were asked to help with painting and renovation of this old facility, where 20 residents live full-time, and another 20 or so go during the day for fellowship, food, worship and Bible study. Our group also brought necessary medical and construction supplies. We arrived at the home to find the residents rejoicing at our presence, telling us that they had been praying for eight years for a group to come and help them. And somehow, as unworthy as we felt, we were the answer to their prayers.
In addition to working at the Nursing Home, our group attended several worship services at different churches, each time experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in the worship and in the people.
And because of the generosity of Central’s congregation, we were able to donate significant funds to repair a church roof in Holguin, Cuba (pictured below),
and to also help build a new church in San Jose, Cuba (foundation pictured below).
We asked the pastors and people how Central can help and support the Methodist Church of Cuba going forward, and in response, we were asked repeatedly to pray for them – for their country and their church in this time of transition – to pray for Godly and wise leadership as they navigate the future. The Lord is working mightily in these amazing people and this church, and our prayer is that God will continue to bless and grow his church in this special place.
Many thanks to the people of Central for making this opportunity possible, and for blessing God’s work in Cuba!
-Rev. Greg Gibson