Just before dinner on the last night in Cuba, I was laying on a bed with all these words running through my head. I knew that I needed to write down my thoughts at that moment. So I wrote. I actually didn’t reread it until I typed it here. The words came out as if I was speaking to the folks at my home church about this experience.
Cubans. The Cubans I met get it. Religion – actually God – has always been intellectual for me. I give God one hour each week – if that. Outside of this building of St. Matthews, God takes a back seat.
The people I met are not like this. They get it. I am blessed that for the first time in my life I have felt God. Nothing has ever touched me so much as having a church lay their hands on you and pray so hard that we both cried.
As Mark later said, he stood there standing in a puddle of tears as they filled up our spirit. It was empty when we left home at 3:30 that morning heading to Cuba.
We thought life was hard. Cubans have a philosophy: God is busy. He will provide for us when he has time. Our mission trip was the vehicle of God’s grace. With us arrived the permits for them to build.
The rebar was bought two years ago because Yordi knew God would get there and he wanted to be ready.
You sent us. You made that happen.
God touched me. It was not intellectual. It was emotional. On that last night that we were in the church, I stood in the church alone and cried. I wanted to soak in as much spirit as I could but I was lacking. It was like standing in front of a fire hose trying to fill a cup.
The Holy Spirit brought the gift of tongues to the apostles so all would understand. It was not words that tongues brought but feelings. I did not know what Yordi said but I did not need a translator. It held so much power that I felt His power through the force of Yordi’s emotions.
Pastor Yordi is a powerful man. He picked me up on his shoulders and spun me around. He visions how the church will look and is strong willed enough to get them all there.
But that is not his greatest strength. It is his faith. Yordi is not a man of the past, but instead looks to a blessed future.
He minister to a man in prison. He knows not how the man got there. He knows not why he was released. Yordi knows the man found God. Yordi knows the man found a wife and child he didn’t know he had. Yordi knows the man looks to a blessed future.
How do we bring this home?
I could stand here and exclaim and show pictures but you won’t feel what I felt. I cannot make God touch you. He will come when he has time.
When we said our good byes, I said that we will see each other again but I did not know when. The response was simple: We will see each other in heaven.
We do not look the same.
We do not speak the same.
We do not live the same way.
But we all have the same God.
We do not praise him the same. I’m not saying better or worse, just not the same.
However, if we want the angels in heaven to look down on us and say that we’ve put our whole heart in it, we need to step it up a notch.
One hour on Sunday may keep the bogey man away but it will not do much more in terms of reaching all God’s children.
That’s the church’s motto, right? A home for all God’s children?
It’s time to get out of the house and bring them in. I call on you to look inside and recall when God has touched you. Find your spiritual center. Get there.
And if you haven’t truly felt God, step out of his house and call others to join you. God’s love can only touch you through others. Only by others can you feel God.
God is all around you everyday. When your heart is silent, it is not empty. God is waiting for you to call others. Be the voice you need to hear in your heart.