A Renewed Spiritual Walk with God
If you can join a mission trip to Cuba, just do it! The hospitality of the Cuban people makes you feel at home even when you’re hundreds of miles away. Joining a mission trip is an experience that will change your life, just as it has mine.
I had been to Cuba several times with my church before COVID-19 and wished to return. With our church not planning any trips to Cuba, connecting with Atulado opened the door to this opportunity. The Cuban Customs process has always been challenging, and I expected nothing different. The Cuban Customs process seemed easier than previous trips, even though we went through the most difficult airport for tourists. Also, I got randomly selected for a COVID test, my bags were the last to make it off the luggage belt, and I needed supervisor approval to enter the country. So, right away, the trip was off to a great start!
During our journey to encourage, support, and pray with pastors and their families, we met many inspiring people who impacted me more than they’ll ever know. Pastor Iderlandis Hernández Guzmán and his family were one who stood out. He receives dialysis every other day and spends hours at the hospital weekly. When visiting Iderlandis, you could tell he didn’t let kidney failure prevent him from doing God’s work. Instead, he uses it as an amazing opportunity to take the Gospel into the hospital, where many people aren’t allowed to visit. He plays worship music, reads and shares the Bible with people, and shows Christ’s love for those who are ill. He’s a modern-day Paul turning his situation into a chance to glorify God.
Also, God showed up powerfully in several ways to make his presence known through Hebrews 12:1.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”
First, a visit with a pastor and his wife, who have been serving the same church on the mountain for 28 years, reminded me of Hebrews 12:1 about running the race. They walk to the church for 45 minutes each way twice a week. They’ve been married for 50 years. Watching them interact, you can tell they are in love with each other and are committed to how God called them to serve. Second, the scripture Hebrews 12:1 appeared through a podcast and sermon I downloaded from my pastor while on this trip. Also, a young Cuban girl who traveled with us had just won a Bible competition on Hebrews 12. Finally, the hostel owner’s niece was wearing a shirt with Hebrews 12 on it.
What I treasure most is gathering around a table with people we visited just to be a part of their lives. Their warm hospitality and sharing a meal impacted me profoundly because they are in the midst of a food shortage, where so many people need basic resources. Also, the ability to encourage, pray, and share God’s love with those we met was refreshing. We traveled to the Eastern part of the island, an area I had never visited. Seeing so many pastors, churches, and friends, and being able to just be there with them and for them influenced me deeply.
I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to join a mission trip to Cuba. While we supported those who share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and disciple His followers, the trip was exactly what I needed to renew my spiritual walk with God. I believe God and the Holy Spirit brought me the opportunity and led me on the journey. It has grounded me again in my faith and moved me back to a great walk with Him.
– Tim L.