That was not a selfish prayer. It was a prayer that believed that we weren’t the only ones that had something to offer. It was a prayer that believed that we are not saviours of the world, but that we as the international church have all received of God, and that the Cuban Church had received something for us, just like we had received something for them.
And God did give us something for them. Some of that was financial. But the greater gift was in the words God gave to our team to share with them. As team members preached, or as we prayed for people, we responded to the impressions God placed on our spirits and we spoke words of life to them. And it was always cool to see the response of the people to whom the word was given as the translator interpreted what we said.
Often tears started to flow, and you knew by their emotional response that the word stirred something deep in their spirits. God knows what we need. And sometimes God gives us a word for others. That is not unique to Cuba. We need that here in the North American Church too. We are just more afraid to speak those words. But we shouldn’t be. We need them.
But just like we prayed for the Cuban Church, they prayed for us. Everywhere we went, it was obvious that they had prayed for us long before we came. And no doubt, they are praying for us still. And they prayed for us when we were there. More than once, they surrounded us, laid hands on us, and prayed for us. I couldn’t understand what they prayed for, but I loved their boldness in prayer. You knew they believed God heard them.
Sickness seemed close the entire time we were there. The team before us got sick and it greatly hampered them, and our team leader was sick almost the whole time we were there, so many prayers for health were given. One day another team member started feeling pretty sick and out of it. He kinda stayed on the bus and away from the activity. So as we were getting back on the bus to leave, all the people from that place surrounded the bus, laid hands on it and prayed for us again. The team member said he felt a chill going from his head to toes, and by the next stop, he was all involved again. And He did well the rest of the trip.
Before one service as we were waiting around, I chatted with pastor David’s eight year old son. His name is also David. (see picture above) I’ll call him Junior. He started teaching me Spanish. I learned to count past 10 and learned a few more words. Then I started showing him how to operate my Nikon DSLR camera. He caught on quick, so I put the camera strap around his neck and set him loose. He did so well, I decided to let him have the camera through that evening service. Junior did awesome. Now we have some ministry time pics.
It worked out so well, that I decided the next day to do it again with the 14 year old son of that church’s pastor. So we got lots of pictures from Cuba. Between the two of them, they took most of the Cuba pictures I have. And I got some cool pictures of some really random stuff!
Okay, I know that some of my readers may find this part a bit uncomfortable. Don’t worry about it though. I have been uncomfortable about these things in the past too. The second last day, one team member prayed for a lady that fell down while he was praying for her. He is not a very cultured pentecostal so he tried to hold her up. Eventually he laid her down carefully. We teased him about that, asking if he had pushed her down. He didn’t think that was funny. But it gave the rest of the team a good laugh.
Funny thing is, the last night we were there, the first lady I laid hands on fell immediately. That is the first time I have ever experienced that while I was praying for someone. Then the third person I prayed for, it happened again. It happened to a few other team members that night too. Pentecostals call that being “slain in the spirit.” Personally, I kinda hate that term. It sounds so fatal. I have learned in life that the Holy Spirit often moves in odd ways. And since I have seen the fruits of such an encounter in a few people I know, I don’t discount that as a way the Holy Spirit moves at times.
But I also think that sometimes it is as much a person’s emotional response to the Spirit as it is the actual doing of the Holy Spirit. And so that is also why I hate the “slain in the spirit” term. I don’t spiritualise the fall that much. I think what is important is that we seek God the Father, the Son and His Holy Spirit, and that sometimes such manifestations appear, but that the manifestations are of themselves not all that noteworthy. The test is always the fruit. Does the fruit that follows show evidence of the Holy Spirit.
I always try to remember this life principle: Real things get counterfeited! Thieves don’t make counterfeit $25 bills, because they don’t exist in real life. They make counterfeit $20 bills. So anything counterfeit is an almost sure sign that there is something similar that is for real. The devil isn’t stupid, and he will try to make counterfeits of most anything real. So it is always by the fruit that we discern the counterfeit from the real.
Anyway, this night the team got a laugh at my expense. Because I wasn’t much better at being the cultured pentecostal than my friend is.
My prayer that I would be blessed as I blessed them was answered. I had a few impressions that when the interpreter spoke them over the individual, I knew that they were being truly blessed. They weren’t amazing prophesies. They were simple words of encouragement like a hundred you find in Scripture. But the timing was divine. And the content spoke directly to something those individuals were going through. You could tell by their response. This to me is not unique to Cuba. I have experienced it in my ministry here in Canada too. But it is still a surprise and a delight every time it happens.
On the last night we were there, after those people fell down, I prayed for a young lad. After I was done praying for him, I gave him a big hug. Next thing I know, there is a line up of kids waiting to be prayed for by me. Funny! Then I realized this little kid was going through the congregation telling other kids to go be prayed for by me. Did God do something in his life through my prayer? Most of those kids seemed to have asthma. So I prayed they would be healed and be able to breathe freely. It would be really cool to hear in the future that God did that.
When I was done praying for them, the pastor’s wife brought an interpreter over to me, and she had a word for me: “The obstacles and blocks you face will be removed. God will open new opportunities for ministry for you soon. And He will bless many through your hands.” It touched me deeply. It seems that all I am facing when I lean into my dreams is obstacles and blocks. I believe it was from God, and yet, I struggle to receive it in faith. But it fits where I am at in life. And it fits the many words spoken over my life before. So I will choose to receive it.
And I will let it get me excited. And I will wait in faith to learn exactly what that means.
That, my friend, is how I will wrap up my time in Cuba. I was blessed, as I blessed them. I hope you enjoyed these posts too!