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Report from the President Bruce Corley

Cuba Once Again

 

It’s not an easy journey, but the reward—what my colleague ‘Justo’ called an “unforgettable experience”—of ministry in Cuba is a never-failing joy. During the week 22-29 October, our Carroll team—Dr. Justice Anderson, Dr. Adlin Cotto, Robert Cotto, and myself—once again joined our students in Cuba. From eleven cities scattered across the island (it’s as long as Texas is wide) twenty four pastors, teachers, and leaders came to our teaching church in Camagüey for a week of instruction in the master’s program, two courses in Baptist Heritage and Romans.

Our stay coincided with Reformation week and brought a unique opportunity. The church, Primera Iglesia Bautista de la Camagüey, secured permission from the authorities to celebrate the week as a public event for the entire city—an unusual privilege owing to the Reformation’s far reaching impact on social, cultural, and political life. The week’s program, Jornada Mundial de la Reforma, featured art, sculpture, film, music, and dialog, bringing together various church groups and community leaders. The church’s witness “outside the walls” was very impressive, reflecting as it does the ongoing spiritual awakening in Cuba.

The Cubans still astound me. We who go there always come away with more than we give. Now, after five years of working and praying with them and visiting their homes, churches, and schools, I have made a short list of what the Cubans don’t need from us. In fact, they excel in these matters:

  • Strategic church starting—100s of new churches in all provinces
  • Urgent witness to the lost—with the Gospel door-to-door, decisions every Sunday
  • Discipling and baptizing converts—new believers in fellowship groups
  • Sacrificial service—cheerfully, where 3 cups of Starbuck’s is a month’s salary
  • Care of the needy—food, clothing, medicine, distributed with love
  • Integrity of conscience—no submission to hostile threats of life and limb
  • Dynamic prayer life—my, oh, my! how they lift their voices to God
  • Spirit-filled worship—heart-stirring singing, powerful preaching, transformational!

Dr. Corley with translator, Alicia

Dr. Adlin Cotto, Coordinator of master’s study program in Cuba

As you well know, there is an embargo imposed on goods from Cuba to the USA, but I wish that I could carry back to our churches a large shipment of items on my short list.

My prayer is that we who know freedom may stand worthy of the Gospel as do these Cuban believers who amidst daily troubles rejoice in God’s salvation: “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV)

 

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