Camaguey to Havana

Who would have ever dreamed that a call from Australia to move to Argentina to help begin the work of MV there would lead to a missions team going to Cuba? Well, that’s what just happened.

At this writing, I am in the chartered bus with my team of seven Argentineans from Cordoba, where I have lived with my family for just short of the last two years. The team is headed back to Havana to fly home to Argentinaafter being here for 15 days.

We just finished presenting a tremendous life-changing program called, “El Encuentro con Dios” (An Encounter with God). This is a two day program of workshops which include sin, returning to the Father, inner-healing, The Holy Spirit, breaking curses, etc.. It is a very intense program. However, what made it so great was the team I have had the pleasure to work with.

A year ago I met Pastor Carlos and Adriana Sanchez and got involved with the church’s feeding center. This is one of the churches with recently hosted pastor Billy and Donna Hires’ marriage conference in Cordoba.

Their church, Agape, is such an on-fire group with the best worship in Cordoba. In January 16, Glen Dubois (MVUSA director) and his wife Linda along with John Verdone (MV Canada director) visited my family inCordoba and went to church at Agape with us. That same night an “Encuentro” was ending as they do with testimonies of participants in the church. One after another- kids 8-14 years old- gave testimonies with rivers of tears of just how God had saved, healed, and brought repentance. Young boys and girls asked forgiveness of parents in public. We all wept and John Verdone leaned over to Cheryl and me and whispered, “We need this inCuba.”

That’s how it all began. Nine months later this team, headed up by Adriana (Pastor Carlos Sanchez’s wife who lost he only son in March to a brain hemorrhage) flew out of Cordoba to Havana after raising funds complemented by sacrificial donations from the MV Canada and USA offices.

The bus trip across to Camaguey was long and during our 15 days here, there were two hurricanes (Wilma and Alpha) which both missed Camaguey. We were not surprised about that as the Agape church had dedicated every Monday night to praying and fasting for the team to Cuba ever since John and Glen left Cordoba.

During the first “Encuentro” with 31 adults, two marriages were saved from certain divorce.

Later, in two more “Encuentros” a total of 111 kids (ages 6-14), we say the Cubans take the baton so that by the end they were now the leaders to carry on the vision John Verdone has of blessing over 1,000 Cuban kids and many parents.

Not only that, the Agape church, with its very first team ever to do missions outside of Argentina, is totally hooked on missions and is looking to God to send teams to other Latin American countries with the help of Sondra Livermore, Field Coordinator in Costa Rica, who came to Cordoba recently to teach the “Go Prepared” program to the team. The Cordobeses are excited to go forward to “disciple the nations.”

God is doing wonderful things these days and it is nothing but an awesome privilege to be allowed to be a part of His work.

Paul David Bendele