The Word tells us in Colossians 3:23-24 “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.” We had the blessings of spending a week in Cuba witnessing the church of Patria living out this truth.
Last week, Brian and I traveled with a team from AUMC to Patria, Isle of Youth, Cuba to serve alongside our brothers and sisters on the Patria Church construction project as well as work on the farm and with their missionaries, women, and children in ministry.
What amazed us right off the bat was the pace at which the construction is being completed. They started demolition at the end of January and got the foundations completed to start laying block at the end of February. When we arrived, the block was done and it had only been a short 2 weeks. The crew they have working is truly committed and knows their work is for a higher calling than just some concrete blocks and a paycheck. They are not working for the materials or the recognition or pay day. They are working for a heavenly reward. They are working for the glory of our God. Each morning before construction starts, the team has a devotional out back of the Pastor’s home. Their voices carry throughout the block as they worship the Lord and commit the works of their hands to him each day.
Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
Then after the ten second commute across the street to the work site, the worship music starts playing from the speakers, loudly, for the entire community to hear and the guys pick up their hammers (if you’re Eddie there’s your awesome sombrero straw hat too). You can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit filling the church as they work. They don’t rush and they take time to fellowship while they work, but they get work done and get it done on a good schedule and with great quality. From 8-5 Monday through Friday, they work hard with all their hearts and they really enjoy doing it. Many members of the church are involved in the project from construction to cooking for the workers to buying materials to praying over the work. Our team enjoyed working with all of them too. It’s impossible not to enjoy something that is so full of the presence of God.
Another way God’s favor is seen in the construction of this project is through the provision of materials. Part of the reason they can work so quickly is that whenever they need materials, God provides them. Originally, obtaining materials was the biggest potential roadblock. But nothing is too big for our God.
Psalm 90:17 “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.”
The work has also had a significant impact on the community of Patria. The project sparks people’s interest. They stop to ask about it. They want to help. There is a certain respect for what is being done there. No materials are ever stolen and the project is never messed with overnight. God is protecting the work and is using it to reach the hearts of the people in the community. The Church is adding to their numbers daily as people are coming to Christ through the good news of the Gospel. God is building his kingdom in many different ways in Patria.
For me, this trip was a homecoming. After spending two months down there last year, it was going back to visit family, literally. I am continually blown away by God’s goodness and the blessings he showers me with in how he connects my passions with my work. He is truly a very big God with very big plans for his people.
Luke 1:37 – “For no word from God will ever fail.” As Pastor Enrique and others have heard from the Holy Spirit, it is the year of the harvest for God’s Church! And the Church of Patria is a sure sign of that promise.
Also, an update on the Missionary Church projects throughout Cuba!
We were able to meet with the Church Manager of Cuba during our last day of the trip in Havana. We have received the first list of mission churches in need of structures. Next step will be to head back and start visiting, listening to stories, and following God’s call to partner in furthering his kingdom in Cuba!
Dios les bendiga.