Growing up in Cuba, all his life Diego* had seen sick people come to his house so his mother, a traditional healer in the Santería religion, could fight illnesses with charms, amulets and sorcery.
When the young medical student recently became a Christian, his mother saw God’s power in his life.
Now someone was at her door asking for her help, but she had seen such divine power in her son’s life that she doubted her own traditional healing powers. He had told her about a vision he saw at a church worship service shortly after putting his faith in Christ: A throng of people in the pews were dressed in white robes as a powerful hand went among them, setting them on the path to new lives as it touched them.
Diego had always been a well-behaved son, though restless and spiritually empty, and after he became a Christian she noted peace, joy and unnatural energy in nearly everything he said and did.
“The change and transformation in his house were so great that his mother got rid of all that she had of witchcraft, and she is waiting for the church to open to go and publicly give her life to Christ,” the leader of a local ministry said.
As his parents had divorced when he was a small child, Diego sometimes stayed with his father, and he was at his house when the sick person showed up at his mother’s place asking her to heal with traditional sorcery. According to the ministry leader, she told the sick person, “Go see my son, I have no power. My son has a greater power than I do, which is the power of the Creator, the God of heaven.”
Diego’s transformation continues in discipleship via phone texts due to the pandemic, even as the pandemic contributes to spiritual transformation in various communities.
Church closures due to COVID-19 restrictions in Cuba have spawned new house fellowships, and increased need has provided local ministries with opportunities for new outreaches. With people lacking in food and sometimes too weak to prepare it, native missionaries taking protective measures went into their homes to cook the ingredients they were donating, the leader said. This was especially helpful for pregnant women with young children.
Local missionaries in one area also prepared meals for children at two churches, about 60 kids from each congregation, in outdoor settings with appropriate pandemic protocols, he said.
“Christian Aid Mission’s help in the midst of the pandemic has been extremely great to provide for those most in need; it was a powerful testimony for the church of Jesus Christ,” the leader said. “Your help came to ease hunger and need in the midst of the pandemic; medicines and food were distributed.”
At the same time, as the pandemic has closed worship halls, churches have divided into home groups devoted to discipleship and prayer. Those house groups in turn grew into five worshipping fellowships of about 50 people each, the leader said.
“The new congregations have emerged with an evangelizing platform of mercy ministries,” he said. “In the midst of fear, need, spiritual emptiness, fear of the disease and death, we have seen an opening for the message of Christ, which brings hope and life and has paved the way for these five new congregations.”
A local missionary at the right place at the right time can have far-reaching impact.
One worker’s church was near the house of a 68-year-old peasant, Fernando, who was on the verge of death from COVID-19. The local missionary received a visit from Fernando’s desperate wife and daughter, as doctors gave him little chance of survival; his lungs were full of fluid and about to collapse, the ministry leader said.
“Fernando never believed in anything or anyone,” he said. “Everything got even more complicated when medical tests showed that he had cancer in one of his lungs.”
As the worker spoke with his wife and daughter, he had occasion to explain the Lord’s salvation to the devastated relatives, the leader said.
“Fernando’s wife, along with their daughter, did not hesitate to give their lives to Christ,” he said. “Due to COVID, they were not allowed to get into the hospital to take care of him. Therefore, they spent most of the time waiting in the church until Fernando improved, participating in the fasts and praying for him.”
After two weeks, Fernando’s vital signs improved and, miraculously, he was discharged after 27 days in the hospital, the leader said. The couple did not go home before visiting the local missionary with the news.
“The missionary shared about Jesus with Fernando, and that day he surrendered his life to Christ,” the leader said. “The missionary played the guitar, and together they sang the chorus, ‘Let us thank the Lord, let us give thanks.’”
After another two weeks of medical tests, he met with his doctor, who told him, “There must be a mistake – there is no cancer here, both lungs are completely clean,” the ministry leader said.
“Delight and joy flooded this family and this community of faith,” he said. “For the glory of God, today Fernando is waiting to be baptized with his entire family – his wife, his daughter and three more children of his, all transformed by the power of God.”
Workers are co-laboring with the Lord for such transformation throughout Cuba. Please consider a donation today to equip and encourage them in difficult circumstances.
*Name changed for security reasons