How Cuba Changed My Life

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July 2018 Cuba Team Picture

It has been about a month since I journeyed with the team from Great Door Ministries to go serve in Cuba, and I still find myself processing and thinking through all that God did on this amazing trip. There really are no words to describe it. But I know that something shifted in me as a result of this trip. I met so many amazing people while there, and I gained a new family, a new perspective on life, and a new sense of purpose and passion for the Lord’s work of ministry. Our experiences as a team in Cuba taught me so many things, many of which simply cannot adequately be expressed or articulated in this online setting. But let me share about just a few of the many lessons I learned.

fullsizeoutput_32aI learned about community. The people of Cuba are absolutely beautiful people, and they have a capacity for love and caring for one another that we in the States would do well to emulate. They put the meaning behind the phrase “do life together.” For some people, this is just a phrase that has a nice ring to it, but for the Cuban people, it is absolutely a lifestyle. During our time there, I saw one example after another after another of people caring for each other, helping each other, giving to each other, and just spending quality relational time together. I immediately began to feel like I was part of a big family. These people consistently gave of their time, energy, and resources to help each other—and to help us as well. Their generosity, hospitality, love, and genuine care was beyond inspiring. They are so relational and put great emphasis on spending quality time together. I never felt rushed, always felt valued, and always felt appreciated. Through all of this, God taught me much about the value of community and togetherness. It is something I have not always prioritized as I should, but that is changing now.

IMG_3881I learned about faith. One of the things we did regularly together as a team was pray together. And let me tell you: these prayer times were absolutely powerful! There were a variety of things that came up during the trip where we would go before the Lord and contend for a breakthrough, and as we prayed together, faith just continued to rise and rise. And we saw Him work. We saw the answers come to the prayers we prayed in faith. We were in different situations where we utterly relying on Him to come through, and He did! Every time, He did! I was inspired by the faith of my teammates and also those we were working with there. We serve a BIG God. I have known that in my heart for many years, but the Lord worked through this trip and our experiences to elevate my faith to a new level. Something shifted in my heart and in my prayer life as a result of what God did on this trip, and when we returned, there was a new fire of passion in my heart—and this fire has not died out—it is still growing in me today.

IMG_3869I learned about gratitude. Since we have returned from our trip, I simply cannot stop saying, “Thank You, Father! Thank You, Father!” And yes, at times, those thank-you’s have been about material blessings He has bestowed; but more often than not, those thank-you’s are aimed at the spiritual blessings of grace, mercy, forgiveness, love, acceptance, and Holy Spirit power that we receive so bountifully from our heavenly Father. I saw Him do miracles on this trip. I saw Him work wonders. And in every heart we touched, with every person we met, I saw immeasurable gratitude flowing from their hearts—gratitude toward the Lord and those around them. I have not always been as grateful as I should be, but the people and experiences of this trip have inspired me to live with a heart overflowing with thankfulness. I find myself regularly pausing throughout my day to thank my good Father in heaven for His manifold blessings. The people we met on our trip greatly inspired me to this end through their overflowing hearts of gratitude and thanksgiving.

IMG_3877These are just a few of the many things I have been processing. My experience in Cuba is not finished; in fact, it has just begun. The Lord planted many seeds in my heart that only time will tell what they will grow into. But I wanted to give you a glimpse of what He has been showing and teaching me. I would go back to the gorgeous country of Cuba in a heartbeat, for its beautiful people have taught me much about living a love-filled, faith-filled, joy-filled life. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to have had this life-changing experience, and I pray for my brothers and sisters in Cuba—that the Lord would bless each one of them for the profound ways that they blessed our team. To God be the glory.

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