Last night, I met a man named Julio, from Cuba over a delightfully varied Cuban meal. There was a group of us who got together to learn about a country just a short trip off the coast of Florida. In all the times I’ve flown over it on the way to Haiti, I knew very little about this closed country, and even less about the effects of Christianity through the nation.
So over pork, rice and beans, fried plantains, a corn soup dish and mangos, I sat back and learned. Julio spoke of growing up in a country so controlled by the government, that people rarely learned to think for themselves. If they did, they were often thrown in prison where they’d be abused and sometimes never leave. We read from Operation World’s commentary on the country (the actual hard-copy book holds much more detailed information), how Catholicism has varied into disturbing syncretism over the years and how the church is just flat-out confused… but how at the same time, truth is sweeping through a growing house-church movement, though it is not sanctioned by the government.
And then we prayed. For the country’s leaders, the church and truth to be spread through it, for the children growing up in a culture that’s changing rapidly, for Julio’s family and for the persecuted church that’s growing through it all.
And as we finished the evening with Guava Cheese Flan (see below for the recipe) and more laughs, I just praised God for a group of believers who could meet in the open and learn and pray without threat of imprisonment for our beliefs. I do believe God must have a grand plan for this freedom we still posses.
Guava Cheese Flan is a traditional Cuban dessert. I couldn’t find Guava paste readily, so I substituted guava juice and agave nectar for it. It’s probably not as flavorful as a guava paste, but it worked.