Imagine you are walking down a narrow street. You hear the sound of an engine behind you, so you step to the side just in time for a retro-style car to drive by. As it disappears around a corner, you hear another, more unfamiliar sound behind you. You turn to see a horse and buggy rolling down the road, driven by a farmer as he takes his produce to the local market.
After he passes, you cross the street and duck into one of the cookie-cutter buildings, where you are pleasantly surprised by the brightly-decorated interior – a sharp contrast to the bland exterior. You need to get to the third floor, so you step into the elevator. The attendant asks which floor you need to go to and then hand-cranks the car up.
While this sounds like a scene from a rural town in the 1950s, it is the present-day reality of Havana, Cuba. A communist nation, it may seem that this country is permanently stuck in the past, but if you were to look more closely, you would see that God is still very much alive and moving.
Despite Cuba’s government outlawing the construction of church buildings, Cuban pastors continue to plant churches, holding the services in their homes. These pastors are passionate visionaries who reach their communities with hospitality and deep, genuine love. However, even with these valuable skills, their ministries are limited by a lack of resources. Even so, these pastors won’t be stopped, as we see with our friend, Pastor Juan.
Not only is Pastor Juandry Paumier Jr. (Juan) the son of another pastor in Havana, but Juan is a former boxer – the definition of ‘tough and a fighter.’ However, two years ago, things got tougher and the fight got harder for Juan and his wife, Yanet, as it felt like their lives were crumbling around them. They had just lost their one-year-old daughter to an intestinal infection, and they were left with only the question, ‘why?’ As he told us the story, his eyes filled with tears – the pain still very real, just two years later. During this season he questioned God and His Word, but ultimately, he and his wife made the decision to trust God no matter what. This battle has given them a strong foundation in their walk with the Lord, and today they are blessed to have a strong, healthy two-year-old boy.
Pastor Juan and Yanet are a young, vibrant couple with a tremendous heart and passion to reach young people for Jesus in an unreached area of Havana. Juan hosts soccer (or football) games for kids in the area as a way to connect with these children and their families. He also has an anointing on his life to reach people from a troubled past. He has former Cuban gang members who now attend his church, as well as several people who have been freed from drug addiction.
Juan and his wife (who is a dentist) started ministering in this area about two years ago and are now meeting regularly in the area with more than 40 people. They have incredible momentum in the area and are ready to officially plant their church. They have raised enough money to purchase a piece of land, and World Compassion is going to help them build their church home.
You can join us as we come alongside Pastor Juan and Yanet and other Cuban church planters to help provide the resources that will allow them to reach their goals much faster than they would be able to alone.
We are raising $68,588 (£49,743) to cover the construction and improvement expenses for these church planters, and your gift will help us get there!
Let’s link arms with our brothers and sisters who are working so diligently to bring the love of Jesus to the nations!