Today is our last day in Cuba. This morning we visited the United Methodist seminary and the church that is attached to it. There are around 55 students who will be graduating this year from seminary with another large class right behind them. The students come to classes for a month at a time, they live in dorms, share meals and take classes together. After the month they all return to their churches, where they are full pastors, and work until it is time for another class. The professors we met are excited to be teaching these students and see great hope for the church of Cuba as more and more pastors are being equipped for ministry.
The students are blessed with a small computer lab and library but the selection of books is quite low and the computers do not always work. In addition they are always working with the water filtration system so that students can remain healthy while in session. It is an interesting contrast in abundance of spirit and scarcity of things.
We were able to speak with the pastor of the church and were once again amazed at the stories he related. Last Saturday in worship there was in attendance a person who had been paralyzed since birth. During the service, when the pastor had asked for anyone who wanted to be touched by the Holy Spirit to come forward, this person raised his hand. The pastor came to him, reached out his hand and prayed for healing. I asked the pastor what he was feeling and thinking and he said, “I just asked God what he wanted me to do and he said, hold out your hand and tell him to stand up. So I did.” The man stood up and walked and is still walking today. We are hearing all sorts of stories like this here in Cuba. It gives all of us much to think about and ponder over. It is as if we are living in the first century church and we are constantly amazed at the signs and wonders we are witnessing.
After the seminary we visited the Old Folks Home for United Methodists. This is a home that is completely reliant on charity for all of it’s funding. The home is lovely and full of delightful older people who are grateful for a place to live and especially for the family of the church. A woman named Jilma asked us to be sure and tell our friends to pray for them. She is missing her sister who moved to the US 25 years ago and who she has not heard from for three years.
Our day ended in downtown Havana where we observed the ritual firing of the cannon over the harbor which has been happening for over 500 years. It was an interesting ending to the day and captured the great dichotomy between the vitality of the church and the pomp of the government presence in Cuba.
We are looking forward to returning home but of course we are filled with sadness at leaving our new friends here in Cuba.

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