Last year, as Covid 19 ravaged the nations Cuba was not exempt. The emails started arriving from many pastors with whom I have formed strong relationships. The provinces were shut down, families were told to stay home, many could not work and people wondered how they would survive. Not only did the churches survive but they THRIVED! Because the Bethel chuches run on a “home group” system, because of the lockdowns, husbands got saved, prodigal teens returned to the Lord and people were physically healed! When restrictions lifted, baptisms and baby dedications were the first thing the churches did!
The church thrived but the economy took a nose dive! Scarcity of food and fresh produce became a norm and when you could find it, the price had risen 3 – 5 times. The pharmacy shelves were empty. People were fighting with each other to purchase chicken – when it did show up. Pastor Vladimir who suffers with diabetes, had a kidney infection, and there was NO antibiotic to be had anywhere. After some very rough days, the Lord raised him up! Lineups for gas that went blocks and blocks – once or twice a week, when gas was available – were a common sight..
I heard rumours of the government opening up well stocked government stores. Sure enough it happened in the late fall of 2020. The only people who could enter the store and make purchases were those with a certain bank card, charged with American Dollars. And the only way to get American dollars was to have a source living outside of Cuba! Impossible for most people! Soon a black market developed of people buying goods and reselling them on the street for 5 times as much. Then in January of this year the government made the American dollar the official currency and prices went through the roof. Wages hardly rose! People wrote me that their salaries were barely enough to feed the family, let alone think of buying new shoes or medicine.
I thank God that in November , 2020 ACOP designated $2500 to help with the humanitarian crisis that was evolving. Then another church and some individuals made additional donations. Only one bank in Canada will do transfers to Cuba and God gave me incredible favor with the bank manager because I prayed with her! I was able to start transferring money to churches that I have worked with. Reports are coming back of the great blessing this has been to many needy people! Churches have been able to do free meals for the neighbourhood, dispense hampers to families, minister to seniors in the government run facilities etc. Maite writes that she and her team have been ministering to 39 seniors and they all have gotten saved! She said, “In the 4 years I have been doing this work NO ONE has come alongside to help me. This year, thanks to the money ACOP has sent, we were able to provide everyone with personal hygiene articles and a nice lunch!” Every pastor has expressed so much gratitude for the help and the joy they had in being able to bless the community. In one church, they set up a little warehouse with dry goods, from which they could freely bless when they saw the need. Well, the people of the church are now, out of their poverty, bringing in vegetables, green bananas, milk to share with the less fortunate! Pastor Vladimir says there is SO MUCH JOY IN GIVING!!
And it is a JOY for me to be the MIDDLE WOMAN in the process!!! Even though I have not been able to board a plane to Cuba I have been able to encourage them in this and in various other ways. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT HAS GIVEN TO ACOP HUMANITARIAN FUND! GOD BLESS YOU RICHLY!!