From left to right: Paul, pastor Yovanis Cuencas (vice president of ELNAC ministries), Yaima, and Natalie. Paul and Natalie hold pastor Yovanis’ arms up to pray.
“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
-Psalm 126: 1-2
Very early in the morning, when the sun had not come up yet, we headed back to Havana. This time, we went to see pastor Yovanis Cuencas, along with many of the pastors from “Empoderando Las Naciones” ministry (Empowering the Nations ministry). We went to minister directly to the hearts of these long suffering and hard working pastors in their pastoral convention at “La Peña de Horeb” house church with pastor Guillermo De Jesús, another wonderful local pastor in Havana under the same ministry.
The church was packed, and the people were expectant of a word from the Lord. Natalie led worship along with Paul, and the whole church sang and praised with true hunger for the presence of God. After a few songs, pastor Yovanis Cuencas preached on the different leaderships found in the Word, and how can we tell who is a mentor in our lives. It was a powerful word that spoke directly to us as missionaries as well. Shortly after that, the part was given to José to preach as well on Genesis 37: 1-6 on the life of Joseph. Through this word, José encouraged the leaders to keep walking even when it does not make sense, and to never stop dreaming the dreams of God.
At the end of the message, all the pastors and leaders of ELNAC were called to the front. We all had the chance to lay hands upon them. They were all weeping, as they were receiving a personal touch from God. They all hugged each other and their families. Chains were broken in this supernatural time.
Natalie and Paul leading worship in “Peña de Horeb” house church
Paul ministering to pastor Yovanis Cuencas
Our team ministering the the leaders and pastors of ELNAC and their families
Cynthia and Natalie praying for leaders
Natalie and Yaima (pastor Yovanis’ wife)
After this beautiful time of encounter, we spent some time meeting the local pastor and his family in his home, which was upstairs on top of the church space. We were sharing with other leaders from ELNAC about the things they dream and what God has been doing in Cuba. Later in the night, we met at pastor Dariel’s home.
Pastor Dariel Gutiérrez (27) has a beautiful wife, Yanet and 2 kids. They are expecting another baby in December. Since the transportation in Cuba is a complicated situation, we ended up taking taxi motorcycles to get to the region where pastor Dariel lives. We went along with pastor Yovanis to visit him and his family. After a dangerous but fun ride through the night, rain, and broken roads, we arrived to the region where Dariel lives. We quickly felt the heaviness of the place, and saw a lot of people dressed in white with built altars in their homes. The region was filled with witchcraft. Pastor Yovanis informed us that this whole region has been dedicated to Santeria. This is the place where pastor Dariel, his wife, and his 2 young kids live and minister in.
We got a little bit lost walking through the streets trying to find his house. However, we asked a young man if he knew where Dariel lived. The young man, who is wearing a beaded Santeria necklace, suddenly smiled and said: “Oh yes, the Christians!” And he gave directions to pastor Yovanis. This is a seemingly unimportant event to mention, yet, it is very important to point out that in the midst of the darkness we were walking in, the people of God will always stand out and bring light.
We found his home,made with unfinished concrete bricks, with half the floor in dirt and concrete, with only one small, squared room where they all sleep. But the joy they showed us was beyond any comprehension. They gave us anything they had, while their two little kids played in one very small bed. We had such a wonderful time, it felt like our second home. Not only this, we also discovered Dariel and his wife Yanet have a beautiful, extraordinary singing and song writing talent. They have been writing songs for a long time, and have a God sized dream of releasing their music for the youth in Cuba. The youth in Cuba have a fascination with urban music and rap, and the Gospel message is being received by them through this musical genre. Several Latin Christian artists in the urban movement come to Cuba, and win many souls for Christ through their privately organized concerts. Dariel’s dream is to be able to release the songs the Lord has given him to reach the youth. This dream is an act of faith, since it is overwhelmingly beyond their resources.
We had the honor to listen to some of his songs, and they were absolutely powerful, filled with the word, and the message of the Gospel. At the end of our visit, Natalie prayed for the covering of the blood in their home and the victory over the spiritual attacks from the enemy. We were able to bless them financially to provide for Dariel and Yanet’s dream, but there is much more to be done, and ways you can partner with these people of God!
From left to right: Pastor Yovanis, Natalie, Yanet, pastor Dariel and his dad, Emmanuel (pastor Yovanis’ son). In the front: Dariel’s mom and his two kids.
“He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.”
-Psalm 126: 6