Cuba Highlights

Here are some of my highlights from our time in Cuba: // Seeing the conference unfold. It was a historic moment.

One of the conference speakers was Craig Groeschel. I told this pastor he was the Cuban Craig Groeschel. Looks like him, doesn't he?

// Conversations around the table and in the hotel pool with the pastors Five Oaks brought to Havana from Santiago de Cuba and Santa Clara.


// A conversation with one of the pastors where he explained to me the incredible window of opportunity there is today in Cuba for the gospel, and his concern for what will happen to this opportunity if things open up and the economy improves. Several pastors shared with me their dismay over how many of the Cubans they know walk away from their faith after getting to the United States and experiencing financial success.

Pastor Ramon from the Santa Clara area standing next to me. Told me there are only 5 black people in his  whole town. Loved this guy. Great conversations on everything from evangelism to politics.

// Another conversation with a pastor who told me how closed off they were from the world until early in the 90’s. He said that one time when a pastor visited Nicaragua in the 1980's, he and several other pastors traveled 4 hours to Havana just to hear from this pastor what was happening in the rest of the world.

The pastor who told me this story is on the right.

// Visiting two of places my mom lived and one of the places she worked was one of my biggest highlights.

My mom lived on the 3rd floor, 305 Escobar, most of her childhood. I've heard stories about her childhood in this house all my life. Absolutely incredible to be there.

The last place my mom lived in Cuba (on the third floor). My uncle and aunt also lived with them here for their first year of marriage.

The Hotel Sevilla where my mom worked for one year after going to college in the U.S. It's right off El Prado, one of the most beautiful streets in Havana in her day.

// Discovering connections: Pastor Eddy and his wife Melisa are from Santiago de Cuba (14 hour bus drive from Havana). He directs the Baptist seminary and pastors a church. Melisa's sister lives in Key West and her brother-in-law pastors the Spanish speaking Baptist church there. So we contacted Mark and Jane Porter in Key West right away and YES, they know each other! Small world.


// We saw a lot on foot. Dave Baar, Lois and I walked the four miles of boardwalk (the Malecon) along the ocean in the heat of the day. But touring around in a 1955 Chevy “convertible” was incredible.

Dave, Lois and I with Mark Hoffman, a long-time member of Willow who helped make this conference happen.

// Looking at each other every once in a while and reminding ourselves that we were in Cuba!

A plaque at the hotel.