Partners for Change in Cuba,                                                                                                      April 2015

Reach Out's USA team traveled to Cuba to pray, plan and play with our Cuban Eagle Leaders. In Holguin we met with our Eastern Team and in Havana we met with our Western team. Of the seven on our team, four went last year. The Lord so touched Randy Godfrey's heart then that he wanted his boys--son, Scott, and sons-in law, Reed and Adam--to experience Cuba with him this year.


USA Team (L-R) Barry St. Clair, Randy Godfrey, Joe Edwards,
 Randy Riggins, Adam Courtney, Reed Rawlings, Scott Godfrey 

Amidst the clamor and media misunderstanding over Cuba these days, this 12th trip deepened my conviction about Reach Out's calling to Cuba. We love our leaders there! Our hearts break for them over the deep difficulties they face. And yet they have such joyful attitudes. So many stories filled with tears and laughter emerged about how God is using the combination of those two opposites to bring about explosive growth in Reach Out's ministry. Let me give you a brief glimpse.  


Joyful Worship with our Western Team -- "Agnus Dei" in Spanish (0:43)

Deep Difficulties and Joyful Attitudes    


Rarely do things work in Cuba. When we asked our friends why, they said repeatedly "It's complicated". The government pays $30 a month to doctors and janitors alike. Yet people need $80 a month to subsist, and $50 more for other necessities like shoes. A Cuban joke: "Cubans are the greatest consumers in the world." "Really?" "Yes, we consume a pair of shoes until they disappear." With no margins they fight daily to survive. Thus a minor problem becomes a major stress and a major problem becomes a crisis. Daily they fully lean into the promise "my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).  


Kiki and Diana
Kikito, a youth pastor, and Diana, a doctor, spent last year with extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Their son became deathly ill. Kikito also became ill and had surgery. Because of church conflict they had to change churches--a rare, life-altering event in Cuba. The conflict caused them to have to move--twice. Yet they persevered. The Lord overcame those circumstances and they kept on training youth leaders. In due time God positioned them in an even better place for greater ministry.


Similar hard circumstances are common, yet for our leaders, like Kikito and Diana, rarely do overwhelming circumstances and meager resources stifle their joy or stop their ministry.  Their attitudes served as a serious reality check for our USA team including me.  

Joyful Smiles!
Explosive Growth and Jesus Focus

"We are experiencing explosive growth." Our leaders from the
Pino (L) -- Reach Out's Cuba Leader
East and the West used those words. A long list of statistics and examples verify that statement. For instance, already this year our Eagle Leaders in Holguin Province have led 6 JFYM Forums, trained 230 youth leaders with 20 leaders preparing to become Eagle Leaders. Add to those stats two of many personal stories from only the first day of our meetings with our Eastern team.


Kiki and Diana's story continues. They lead and oversee our 16 Eagle Leaders in Manzanillo City in Granma province. Recently some of their team led a JFYM Forum with 64 university students from 4 universities. They finished by baptizing two students led to Christ through JFYM. Now Kiki coaches the 4 university leaders to implement JFYM with other university students. They said, "Before I did not have tools. Now I have tools to reach and disciple students in our city."


Katia, Kenia, and Yamira
Kenia whose father, husband and son received Jesus this last year, disciples 9 teens using our Moving Toward Maturity books. They disciple younger teens with 7 in each group = 42 disciples she leads to become leaders!



Vanier, Kiki's assistant, summarized the motivation our leaders have. Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry raises the Jesus' banner. It has been remarkable in my life, because the more I am exposed to Jesus, the more affected I am by Jesus.

As our USA team debriefed over dinner, and reflected on our week, all of us affirmed the significant influence our Cuban brothers and sisters had on us.
My second trip to Cuba has left me, once again, humbled by the sacrifice and passion witnessed in the lives of the Cuban youth leaders there. Because of the Cuban Christ followers' willingness to follow Christ's command to "take up your cross and follow Me," I am convinced it is entirely possible that a majority of Cuba will be won to Christ with this generation of leaders.  I believe that ministry in Cuba is one of the best International investments that can be made today by believers in the United States.
Randy Riggins

These people, insights and examples offer only a very brief glimpse of Cuba and Reach Out's ministry there. So much more is happening. Though your gifts and prayers do not put a stop to the deep difficulties, they do provide the means for us to continue to expand God's "explosive growth" in Cuba.  


Thank you.


Jesus is Lord,

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