The Sunday we were in Cuba was incredible. However, I could never tell you what happened like Paul could. He experienced something that day that the rest of us saw from a different perspective. That said, I hope you enjoy reading about our Sunday afternoon in Cuba from Paul’s point-of-view.
After a great morning of worship in three different house churches, we arrived back at Campo Amor to discover that there were three people who wanted to be baptized. I have to say, as a Pastor, one of my greatest joys are baptism services. In fact, on my previous two trips I had prayed desperately that God would give us an opportunity to baptize the people who had made professions of faith, but it never came to fruition. Even though there were many who had decided to follow Jesus, we were never able to work it out. This trip we actually were scheduled to be at the house church on Sunday, which is when most of the baptisms take place. So, all week I had anticipated some baptisms to close out the week. However, when Sunday service had finished and we learned that there were no professions throughout the whole week, I was pretty disappointed. That’s when we learned of the three people who were ready to follow through in their outward expression of baptism due to their inward life change through Jesus.
As I walked down into the water and began helping the first lady as Tony baptized her, I began thinking, “I don’t deserve to be here. Why am I even standing in this water?” Then came the next lady, Ramona. She gave a public declaration that Jesus was her Lord, and we baptized her as our sister in Christ. As she exited the sea and the next man was cautiously entering the water, I had a moment that I will never forget. It was as if scales literally fell from my eyes, and I suddenly recognized the man. This man who was entering the water, whom I was about to baptize, was the same man who accepted Christ as his Lord on my last trip in November. In fact, he was the first person at this new house church to accept Christ. He was special to me for this reason, and I knew I’d never forget him (not to mention that he was also wearing a LSU shirt, and I just so happened to be wearing my LSU shirt that day as well).
Just two hours before, I had preached on Acts 16 and the Macedonian call. I talked about how God had told Paul “No” even though he desired to go and preach the Gospel in Asia. I shared on how God sometimes tells us “No” because his plan is better, even though we might think our plan is great. Later, Paul shared the Gospel with Lydia, a woman from Thyatira, and she accepted Christ. What we might not know is that Lydia is from Asia! God granted Paul’s request, but in a better way … His way. God granted my desire to baptize in Cuba. It didn’t happen my way, but in His way. Thank you God for giving your children great gifts and for fulfilling our desires when they align with yours in ways that are better than we can dream. I will never forget Rene, the moment he became the first convert at a new house church, and the opportunity I had to baptize him several months later.