I left my heart, and pants in Cuba..Now what?

6days

New member
I have a problem. How can I live with the wealth we have in North America knowing a Christian brother is hungry, or needing clothes?

I have been back from Cuba for six days now, and I am struggling with the wealth disparity between us and our Christian brothers and sisters. I am struggling with my own lack of compassion I have compared to others. How do I live that New Testament church kind of faith where I freely share what I have... and get more excited serving God, and others?
Let me explain with stories....

FINANCES
Most pastors I met in Cuba live on about $20 a month. Even in Cuba, $20 does not go far. They, and their families live mostly on rice and fruit during the week. (Often fruit, vegetables and maybe even a couple chickens are grown in small back yards). If they have enough money, they might buy meat for a treat on weekends. Oh... And since it is difficult to buy land for a church in Cuba, most of these people give up their homes using a small portion for their own bedrooms.

An illustration / example of how little they live with. I washed dishes at one place using cold water, no soap and no dish cloth. I also noticed that Styrofoam plates and plastic disposable cups are saved.

Perhaps what blew me away the most... what has shaken me is an incident I had with Romano. He is the vice president of a denomination in Cuba that has about 120 Church. He traveled with our small group for the week and always wore the same pair of sweatpants. On the last night in Cuba I gave him my jeans which I had bought before the trip for $18 at Costco. He was wearing them the next morning and they fit perfectly. He told me that in his 52 years he has never had such a nice pair of pants. I literally started to sob.

PASSION
Ex. I met one woman pastor who often walks her neighborhoods from dawn to dusk visiting, sharing and caring. She mentioned she wish she had a horse so could visit even more people. (Our group of 14 pitched in enough to buy a horse). I met a convert of this pastor... Mary. Mary told me the pastor had visited her often presenting to gospel. Her and her Mom both accepted Jesus as their Savior on the same day. Mary had got permission from her university to take a few days off to meet us Canadians at her home church....a 7 hour one way bus trip. Mary said she hoped some day she could get an English Bible... she is working towards becoming an English prof. What a pleasure it was to give her the paperback I had brought... and to see the joy with which it was recieved.

There are many stories of passion... people who have so little but share what they have with others. One more ex. I met a pastor couple who live and serve a very small isolated community in the mountains. These people, like everyone else in Cuba, could get a job through the Communist government. But instead, they serve Jesus in a area with extreme poverty... So this pastor couple has virtually no income. But... such sweet and joyful people. And their kids.... Oh, I fell in love.

Anyways.... The point of this thread wasn't just to share stories. I truely am struggling with the issue of sharing. Am I to really sell all I have and give? I'm thinking not... but wrestling over many issues... a week has passed and I often find myself looking at pictures of the people from Cuba and shedding a few tears. Now what?
 

Tambora

Get your armor ready!
LIFETIME MEMBER
Hall of Fame
Temp Banned
I Am I to really sell all I have and give?
That really doesn't work unless all do it.
What you sell will only go so far, and then you end up two people poor instead of one.

I understand your sympathy and I'm sure you do what you can.
I sometimes think there is so much misery that cannot all be fixed just to show us that mankind is not capable of solving the problem, only GOD is.

I can also understand the notion of the rich giving a lot more.
But we must also understand that it is because of the rich that most have a job in the first place.
Because of people like Sam Walton (of WalMart) and Bill Gates (of Microsoft), millions of folks have a job.

Wish I could solve everyone's misery, but I have to have the wisdom to accept the things I cannot change.

Blessings to you, 6Days, for caring and reminding us all to take note of those suffering and do what we can.
 

nikolai_42

Well-known member
Anyways.... The point of this thread wasn't just to share stories. I truely am struggling with the issue of sharing. Am I to really sell all I have and give? I'm thinking not... but wrestling over many issues... a week has passed and I often find myself looking at pictures of the people from Cuba and shedding a few tears. Now what?

Think about it practically. Your desire to give all you have is good. Don't quench that. But how would you do it? Does selling all you have do your Cuban brethren any good (on its own, that is)? If you want to give but have no avenue to give, what benefit is it? If you have a burning desire to supply their physical needs then do whatever you can to do so, but don't think your poverty in and of itself does them any good. Give all you can so that it does good - but don't give to assuage your conscience. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a contrite heart. Maybe you are being called to start a ministry? Maybe not? Be thankful, also, for what you do have.

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7
 

CabinetMaker

Member of the 10 year club on TOL!!
Hall of Fame
I have a problem. How can I live with the wealth we have in North America knowing a Christian brother is hungry, or needing clothes?

I have been back from Cuba for six days now, and I am struggling with the wealth disparity between us and our Christian brothers and sisters. I am struggling with my own lack of compassion I have compared to others. How do I live that New Testament church kind of faith where I freely share what I have... and get more excited serving God, and others?
Let me explain with stories....

FINANCES
Most pastors I met in Cuba live on about $20 a month. Even in Cuba, $20 does not go far. They, and their families live mostly on rice and fruit during the week. (Often fruit, vegetables and maybe even a couple chickens are grown in small back yards). If they have enough money, they might buy meat for a treat on weekends. Oh... And since it is difficult to buy land for a church in Cuba, most of these people give up their homes using a small portion for their own bedrooms.

An illustration / example of how little they live with. I washed dishes at one place using cold water, no soap and no dish cloth. I also noticed that Styrofoam plates and plastic disposable cups are saved.

Perhaps what blew me away the most... what has shaken me is an incident I had with Romano. He is the vice president of a denomination in Cuba that has about 120 Church. He traveled with our small group for the week and always wore the same pair of sweatpants. On the last night in Cuba I gave him my jeans which I had bought before the trip for $18 at Costco. He was wearing them the next morning and they fit perfectly. He told me that in his 52 years he has never had such a nice pair of pants. I literally started to sob.

PASSION
Ex. I met one woman pastor who often walks her neighborhoods from dawn to dusk visiting, sharing and caring. She mentioned she wish she had a horse so could visit even more people. (Our group of 14 pitched in enough to buy a horse). I met a convert of this pastor... Mary. Mary told me the pastor had visited her often presenting to gospel. Her and her Mom both accepted Jesus as their Savior on the same day. Mary had got permission from her university to take a few days off to meet us Canadians at her home church....a 7 hour one way bus trip. Mary said she hoped some day she could get an English Bible... she is working towards becoming an English prof. What a pleasure it was to give her the paperback I had brought... and to see the joy with which it was recieved.

There are many stories of passion... people who have so little but share what they have with others. One more ex. I met a pastor couple who live and serve a very small isolated community in the mountains. These people, like everyone else in Cuba, could get a job through the Communist government. But instead, they serve Jesus in a area with extreme poverty... So this pastor couple has virtually no income. But... such sweet and joyful people. And their kids.... Oh, I fell in love.

Anyways.... The point of this thread wasn't just to share stories. I truely am struggling with the issue of sharing. Am I to really sell all I have and give? I'm thinking not... but wrestling over many issues... a week has passed and I often find myself looking at pictures of the people from Cuba and shedding a few tears. Now what?

Start looking MUCH closer to home. You may be shocked at the number of extremely poor people living close to you. Start by helping these people as they are no less deserving than any other people living in poverty. The old saying goes, think globally, act locally.
 

glorydaz

Well-known member
Anyways.... The point of this thread wasn't just to share stories. I truely am struggling with the issue of sharing. Am I to really sell all I have and give? I'm thinking not... but wrestling over many issues... a week has passed and I often find myself looking at pictures of the people from Cuba and shedding a few tears. Now what?

Truth be told, they are richer than we are in all the things that matter. Just look at the joy they get from the simplest things. I've had dear friends on the mission field who "gloried in their infirmities" and their lack. Prayer is what we have to give, and God will give the increase.
 

6days

New member
Did you reach any conclusion regarding giving 6days, and if so what?

Nope.... no conclusions. I have been talking to people and agencies about how we... and how I can effectively help. I also have been communicating with two different people in Cuba, asking for their suggestions and advice.

Thank you everyone for your answers.
 

iouae

Well-known member
Nope.... no conclusions. I have been talking to people and agencies about how we... and how I can effectively help. I also have been communicating with two different people in Cuba, asking for their suggestions and advice.

Thank you everyone for your answers.

You seemed to enjoy giving to those in need personally, and so satisfying their need as you encountered the need going about your life. Is that not the best way to give.

Or do you maybe think that everyone has some arena which interests them, and that is where they should focus their giving?

I feel this topic of giving is too important a thread to just let it die now.

But it is also a thread that makes one feel uncomfortable because there are so many needy folks around that one can feel guilty being a Westerner.
On the other hand, having food and raiment, should not we and the Third World be therewith content?
Meaning if the Cubans have food and clothes, is that not biblicaly speaking enough?

Was John the Baptist an extremist when he commanded...Luk 3:11
He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.

Like I say, these questions may make one uncomfortable, but it would be nice to discuss them.
 

6days

New member
iouae said:
I feel this topic of giving is too important a thread to just let it die now.

But it is also a thread that makes one feel uncomfortable because there are so many needy folks around that one can feel guilty being a Westerner.
On the other hand, having food and raiment, should not we and the Third World be therewith content?
Meaning if the Cubans have food and clothes, is that not biblicaly speaking enough?

Was John the Baptist an extremist when he commanded...Luk 3:11
He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.

Like I say, these questions may make one uncomfortable, but it would be nice to discuss them.

Good comments iouae. As I said at the beginning of this thread, I am struggling a bit with the answer. I appreciate the good answers and advice given here by others... including that the answer is not to feel any type of satisfaction by giving everything so I can be poor like them. (That might be pride in my humbleness, ha).


The Cuban pastors I met live Luke 3:11. I don't think I do... but am working towards that...I think. I can't just block from my mind people who live far away - although it's easy to rationalize. How can we live in luxury, when literally thousands of children starve to death every day. I do give to a couple 'adopt a child' Africans, but am I truly giving... or am I just giving a wee bit off the top so I can pat myself on the back? Hmmmm


My attitude... my desire is changing. The trip we were planning to China no longer has the appeal. I would much rather help ( and visit) Christian brothers and sisters in Cuba.
 

iouae

Well-known member
The Cuban pastors I met live Luke 3:11. I don't think I do... but am working towards that...I think.

I think poorer folk in third world nations, live much more easily with Luke 3:11.
When a rich, first world cyclist decides to cycle across Africa, the locals take him into their homes and share their meagre meals and homes. If a third world cyclist came to a first world home, there would be no hospitality extended.

I personally believe we could get closer to Luke 3:11 if we took all the stuff we have not used for the last two years and donated it to the poor. This way it would not cost us, would in fact make our homes more liveable, and would not be a huge sacrifice on our part, but would make a big difference to the poor.

Where I live, they have bin pickers, or poor folk who come on garbage day scavenging for what gets thrown out. This is a great way to get closer to Luke 3:11. But a lot of the neighbours, the neighbourhood watch, the neighbourhood whatsap group all try to chase away the pickers. I love to see these folks get some quite good pickings. When they ask, I can always find something to throw out, which is a blessing to me, and them.
 

Lon

Well-known member
Start where you can. We in the U.S. are richer than other places, but we also have to pay higher prices. What is important to me, is what we do with what extra we have, because that WILL go a long way in other places like Cuba. We have a long history of using what funds we have, to meet the needs of children in other countries. If all of us could do just that much, it'd go a long way to reaching Christians in need in other countries. We try to give more when we can as well. God is looking for people who are faithful with a little, too! In Him -Lon
 

WatchmanOnTheWall

New member
The best way to help others is to fulfil your destiny in Christ. Keep praying to find out what this is and then complete it. Everything else is a distraction.
 

WatchmanOnTheWall

New member
I have a problem. How can I live with the wealth we have in North America knowing a Christian brother is hungry, or needing clothes?

I have been back from Cuba for six days now, and I am struggling with the wealth disparity between us and our Christian brothers and sisters. I am struggling with my own lack of compassion I have compared to others. How do I live that New Testament church kind of faith where I freely share what I have... and get more excited serving God, and others?
Let me explain with stories....

FINANCES
Most pastors I met in Cuba live on about $20 a month. Even in Cuba, $20 does not go far. They, and their families live mostly on rice and fruit during the week. (Often fruit, vegetables and maybe even a couple chickens are grown in small back yards). If they have enough money, they might buy meat for a treat on weekends. Oh... And since it is difficult to buy land for a church in Cuba, most of these people give up their homes using a small portion for their own bedrooms.

An illustration / example of how little they live with. I washed dishes at one place using cold water, no soap and no dish cloth. I also noticed that Styrofoam plates and plastic disposable cups are saved.

Perhaps what blew me away the most... what has shaken me is an incident I had with Romano. He is the vice president of a denomination in Cuba that has about 120 Church. He traveled with our small group for the week and always wore the same pair of sweatpants. On the last night in Cuba I gave him my jeans which I had bought before the trip for $18 at Costco. He was wearing them the next morning and they fit perfectly. He told me that in his 52 years he has never had such a nice pair of pants. I literally started to sob.

PASSION
Ex. I met one woman pastor who often walks her neighborhoods from dawn to dusk visiting, sharing and caring. She mentioned she wish she had a horse so could visit even more people. (Our group of 14 pitched in enough to buy a horse). I met a convert of this pastor... Mary. Mary told me the pastor had visited her often presenting to gospel. Her and her Mom both accepted Jesus as their Savior on the same day. Mary had got permission from her university to take a few days off to meet us Canadians at her home church....a 7 hour one way bus trip. Mary said she hoped some day she could get an English Bible... she is working towards becoming an English prof. What a pleasure it was to give her the paperback I had brought... and to see the joy with which it was recieved.

There are many stories of passion... people who have so little but share what they have with others. One more ex. I met a pastor couple who live and serve a very small isolated community in the mountains. These people, like everyone else in Cuba, could get a job through the Communist government. But instead, they serve Jesus in a area with extreme poverty... So this pastor couple has virtually no income. But... such sweet and joyful people. And their kids.... Oh, I fell in love.

Anyways.... The point of this thread wasn't just to share stories. I truely am struggling with the issue of sharing. Am I to really sell all I have and give? I'm thinking not... but wrestling over many issues... a week has passed and I often find myself looking at pictures of the people from Cuba and shedding a few tears. Now what?

1400 hundred children die every day just because they don't have clean water to drink. If you want to help others physically then donating money to water charities is an efficient use of your money.

However much more important than helping others physical needs is helping them get into Heaven before they die anyway. So really the best use of your money is to fund the spreading of the good news to people in their own language; The great commission.

However, is that what God wants you to do? Perhaps He want's you to do something else in particular that He has created you for? Keep asking him until He tells you then try to fulfil it.
 

6days

New member
1400 hundred children die every day just because they don't have clean water to drink. If you want to help others physically then donating money to water charities is an efficient use of your money.

However much more important than helping others physical needs is helping them get into Heaven before they die anyway. So really the best use of your money is to fund the spreading of the good news to people in their own language; The great commission.

However, is that what God wants you to do? Perhaps He want's you to do something else in particular that He has created you for? Keep asking him until He tells you then try to fulfil it.
Thanks for your reply. Yes, the spiritual aspect is important. There is a need and hunger for truth in Cuba. There is a real need for Bibles, Christian materials, sound doctrine teaching etc. But... you can't just ship boxes of Bibles into Cuba. A person can usually get in with 10 Bibles or so in personal luggage.
The physical need is also important. The Book of James describes true religion as helping those in need, specifically widows and orphans.
 

6days

New member
Lon said:
What is important to me, is what we do with what extra we have, because that WILL go a long way in other places like Cuba. We have a long history of using what funds we have, to meet the needs of children in other countries.

But..... But, Lon.... That is what I am 'arguing' against. You describe what I am struggling with. I have been giving the "extra I have". I already do have a couple 'adopt a child's from 3rd world countries. I do give to a variety of charities in addition to a tithe to my church. But, now..... it just doesn't seem like giving "extra" is what God wants. And, as I said in the opening, I am struggling with it, because I am not sure what the answer is.
 
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oatmeal

Well-known member
I have a problem. How can I live with the wealth we have in North America knowing a Christian brother is hungry, or needing clothes?

I have been back from Cuba for six days now, and I am struggling with the wealth disparity between us and our Christian brothers and sisters. I am struggling with my own lack of compassion I have compared to others. How do I live that New Testament church kind of faith where I freely share what I have... and get more excited serving God, and others?
Let me explain with stories....

FINANCES
Most pastors I met in Cuba live on about $20 a month. Even in Cuba, $20 does not go far. They, and their families live mostly on rice and fruit during the week. (Often fruit, vegetables and maybe even a couple chickens are grown in small back yards). If they have enough money, they might buy meat for a treat on weekends. Oh... And since it is difficult to buy land for a church in Cuba, most of these people give up their homes using a small portion for their own bedrooms.

An illustration / example of how little they live with. I washed dishes at one place using cold water, no soap and no dish cloth. I also noticed that Styrofoam plates and plastic disposable cups are saved.

Perhaps what blew me away the most... what has shaken me is an incident I had with Romano. He is the vice president of a denomination in Cuba that has about 120 Church. He traveled with our small group for the week and always wore the same pair of sweatpants. On the last night in Cuba I gave him my jeans which I had bought before the trip for $18 at Costco. He was wearing them the next morning and they fit perfectly. He told me that in his 52 years he has never had such a nice pair of pants. I literally started to sob.

PASSION
Ex. I met one woman pastor who often walks her neighborhoods from dawn to dusk visiting, sharing and caring. She mentioned she wish she had a horse so could visit even more people. (Our group of 14 pitched in enough to buy a horse). I met a convert of this pastor... Mary. Mary told me the pastor had visited her often presenting to gospel. Her and her Mom both accepted Jesus as their Savior on the same day. Mary had got permission from her university to take a few days off to meet us Canadians at her home church....a 7 hour one way bus trip. Mary said she hoped some day she could get an English Bible... she is working towards becoming an English prof. What a pleasure it was to give her the paperback I had brought... and to see the joy with which it was recieved.

There are many stories of passion... people who have so little but share what they have with others. One more ex. I met a pastor couple who live and serve a very small isolated community in the mountains. These people, like everyone else in Cuba, could get a job through the Communist government. But instead, they serve Jesus in a area with extreme poverty... So this pastor couple has virtually no income. But... such sweet and joyful people. And their kids.... Oh, I fell in love.

Anyways.... The point of this thread wasn't just to share stories. I truely am struggling with the issue of sharing. Am I to really sell all I have and give? I'm thinking not... but wrestling over many issues... a week has passed and I often find myself looking at pictures of the people from Cuba and shedding a few tears. Now what?

The promises of God are true everywhere under any and all circumstances for the individual who believes God's word and claims the promises.

God is everywhere present, not just in the US.

God is just as powerful in Cuba, China as in your church.

Then why the difference?

The difference is the people's believing.

This country is founded on solid Biblical principles, life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, all of which God desires for people

Matthew 13:58

And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

It took great believing on the part of our founding fathers to start this nation.

It was not a free ride, it was not a cake walk, they endangered their own lives, families and fortunes.
 

George Affleck

TOL Subscriber
Your observations are wonderful 6days.

And these are truly excellent questions.

Although there are thousands of worthwhile charities, I have settled on two that I have supported, as I am able, over the years, apart from supporting my local church.

One is AIG/CMI, now 2 separate ministries, because we are losing to atheism many young people who will form the donation base of the future simply because the church buried its head in the sand for years and failed to provide answers to questioning young people. Leftists now own the media, the education system and the entertainment industry. It's a necessary fight to take back that lost ground. You are a part of the outflowing of that ministry.

The other is missions. I support Gospel for Asia because I am convinced that the right way to do missions is to train and equip indigenous Christians to reach their own people in a practical way. They already know the language and the customs. And, they use a bare minimum of resources in getting help to those who need to hear the gospel. At Christmas time we buy gifts in each other's names of chickens and bicycles that we send through GFA in Jesus' name. One year we went together and bought a Jesus well. It continues to minister to the people who need it most. There is an inscription on it in their language that says John 4:13-14KJV

God has us where He wants us. I am going to suggest that God allowed you to have contact with this 'pants' person for a practical reason. If you can contact him again maybe he knows of others who have needs you can help with as you are able.

But I don't want you walking around without pants!! I will gladly send you a pair of mine. lol

The point is that Jesus will use us wisely if we give it all up to Him to use. This is not our home. We have mansions waiting for us.

Constant ministry is a learned profession.
I was in a crowded grocery store the other day in the company of a wonderful Christian lady. There was a mother with a newborn baby in a stroller. My friend and other mothers were making a fuss over the baby and she asked how old the child was. She was told it was just 16 days. My friends response was; "What a beautiful child. And to think, just 17 days ago it would have been legal in Canada to kill it." You could have heard a pin drop. There was nothing to say. Everyone moved silently away without saying a word. But I guarantee, every time they see a newborn baby they will think of that comment.

God bless you so that you can fulfill His calling by blessing others.

George
 

WatchmanOnTheWall

New member
Thanks for your reply. Yes, the spiritual aspect is important. There is a need and hunger for truth in Cuba. There is a real need for Bibles, Christian materials, sound doctrine teaching etc. But... you can't just ship boxes of Bibles into Cuba. A person can usually get in with 10 Bibles or so in personal luggage.
The physical need is also important. The Book of James describes true religion as helping those in need, specifically widows and orphans.

Well may be God has called you to do this, I don't know if you've heard from Him about this or had a prompting or confirmation etc but if you have then there are plenty of organisations who have been working at this for years:

https://www.americanbible.org/cuba-million-bible-mission

https://www.onemissionsociety.org/give/bibles-for-cuba

http://www.haventoday.org/blog/2016/03/23/bibles-for-cuba/

https://www.unitedbiblesocieties.org/the-great-need-for-bibles-in-cuba/

Perhaps you could get involved with one of them or just make a donation? The thing is God has designed each one of us to be used for a specific function within the body of Christ and once you find out what that is and start to perform your divine destiny, then you will be the most effective you can be for God and gain the biggest reward you can possibly get.
 

6days

New member
Well may be God has called you to do this, I don't know if you've heard from Him about this or had a prompting or confirmation etc but if you have then there are plenty of organisations who have been working at this for years:

https://www.americanbible.org/cuba-million-bible-mission

https://www.onemissionsociety.org/give/bibles-for-cuba

http://www.haventoday.org/blog/2016/03/23/bibles-for-cuba/

https://www.unitedbiblesocieties.org/the-great-need-for-bibles-in-cuba/

Perhaps you could get involved with one of them or just make a donation? The thing is God has designed each one of us to be used for a specific function within the body of Christ and once you find out what that is and start to perform your divine destiny, then you will be the most effective you can be for God and gain the biggest reward you can possibly get.

Thanks for your comments and great links. (I was not aware of them). As those links mention, there are Christians in Cuba who do not have a Bible. There is also a spiritual hunger in Cuba, and all the cults are there in addition to Christianity. Not sure if I mentioned this earlier, but I was amazed at the openness...the thirst in Cuba. One morning, our waitress for a table of 4 must have overheard our conversation. As we were about to leave she said, 'I am not a Christian, but I would like a Bible if you have one.'
 
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