Each time we are in Cuba, we are both rebuked and inspired.
Rebuked because the Cubans do not complain about their hardships. With an income of about US$30 per month, living is very basic. Rice and beans are served at every lunch and every dinner. And lately, the rice has become scarce. Yet, the Cubans are uncomplaining. We have never been asked by a Cuban Christian for money.
Each time we go, I come back promising God I will not complain about anything . . . . . for at least 20 minutes. Sometimes I make it; other times I don’t. We are rebuked.
Inspired! Because the believers are focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, not their privations or difficulties. On one occasion, we were going out into the country. As we slowed to turn off the pavement on to a dirt road, a middle-aged man awaited us, standing with his bike. He pedaled 10 MPH for 2.5 miles to guide us to his waiting congregation, which met in his home. Dripping with sweat (even in February) this dear pastor got off his bike and warmly welcomed us. Later, a few of us wanted to speak to him privately, so we went off from his living room (where the congregation remained) into their bedroom (separated with a sheet for a door). He was positive about God’s grace being upon him and his marriage. Though she had had breast cancer recently, their attitudes were upbeat and joyful. What a rebuke – all without words to that end. Again I promised God, “No complaining.”
The Cuban Christians love American Christians. American flags are on trike pedicabs. We are warmly received everywhere we have gone.
Hector & Gretel came to an Action International Ministries Bible teaching seminar. During a break, I talked with them (through an interpreter) about what they were doing, how they happened to come, where they lived, etc.
Hector said, “We wanted to come, but we only have about $2.50. That was not enough for bus fare. But we had some extra sugar, so we sold that and were able to get here.” I was in awe of the spiritual hunger they showed. They did not know where they would sleep, what they would eat or how they would get home – but they wanted to come, and come they did.
Granted, the host churches and believers tend to provides floor space for sleeping, and Action pays for some meals. Still, seeing their attitude of faith and their spiritual appetite was inspiring to Marilyn and to me. What a joy to privately give this couple a month’s wages plus bus and food allowance.
It really is a privilege to be with believers in Cuba! It is both rebuking and inspiring.