Monday, November 9, 2009

Caught in Cuba!

The police flashed their lights and waved us over to the side of the road. My colleague and I along with two Cuban brothers tucked our heads down as we sat in the back of the stake body truck trying not to look to conspicuous. Since the night was clear and cold we pulled our jackets up around our faces providing additional cover. For a foreigner it is illegal to ride in an “unofficial” vehicle and as we return from a training center on the western part of the island we were hoping to get back to Havana undetected.

As the two policemen approached the truck on began to question the driver demanding to see his paperwork while the other mounted the side of the vehicle. Flashing the light across the four of us he began to shout out questions. Quickly the two Cubans began piped up and began to provide answers. My colleague and I leaned against each other trying to appear as if we were sleeping. I kept my eyes closed and prayed.

From December 6th to the 12th I will once again enter Cuba with a new colleague who will be helping me develop this partnership between thirteen North American churches and other groups and a small Cuban organization whose goal is to develop sixty new churches over the next four years. One new project I will be working on is to establish a missionary training program led by a Cuban who has personally planted 27 churches. These men of God are not content with just reaching their own people, they are praying about being sent out one day to other places in Latin America and beyond. They dream about sending missionaries to Africa and Central Asia. December we will start that process in faith by training potential leaders for this vision.

From Cuba I will be collecting data for potential partnerships in Columbia, Uruguay, Peru, and Chile. Continue to pray for these travels.

The policeman’s flashlight seemed to be trained on my face. I could see the light through my closed eyes. He kept yelling out questions and I kept still. Suddenly he jumped down from the side of the truck and as he returned to his car we started off again for Havana, a close call. If we were caught we could have been jailed, turned over to the US Immigration Authorities and prosecuted in the US. (Normally we apply for a special visa for this type of travel but this was just supposed to be a quick trip in to deliver training materials and some money). God spared us and we learned a valuable lesson.

Sometimes we take risks. We calculate the costs and trust God. So I thank you for praying for us. Also would you pray for this young movement of church leaders? They desire is to not only train more leaders to start churches in Cuba but to start the process of sending people from Cuba to other places around the earth. Cuba has good relationships with former Soviet countries like Angola, Kazakhstan and even places like Iran. Their dreams are big and their faith challenges me to keep connecting resources to them.

This is your investment. This is your joy.


PS: Right now I am in Senegal developing several partnerships for North American churches, businesses and individuals to consider getting involved in. Go to my blog for October’s news story about Senegal.

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