‘Lord, I’m here’

Translate Page

Lourdes Vazquez worked for 20 years in Cuba’s renowned health system but gave up her job, her home and proximity to her children and grandchildren to serve God.

“Whatever he wants me to do, I say, ‘Lord, I’m here,’” says the 50-year-old, who serves as a missionary with her husband, Roberto Pozo, in the Maybeque district. They have opened nine missions so far as part of their ministry

Singing the spirit in Cuba

Special report on the Methodist Church in Cuba.

A stained glass window frames a view of palm trees outside the chapel at Camp Canaan, a Methodist retreat center near Santa Clara, Cuba. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

She is one of many, both clergy and lay, who have followed different paths but ended at the same destination — serving God and the Methodist Church in Cuba.

The Rev. Alcibiades Negret, 43, the Maybeque superintendent, credits both God and his mother for saving him when he was a “messed up” youth.

“My mom was the one who shared Jesus with me, when I was 20,” he explains. “She had just started visiting a Pentecostal church and because of her testimony about the change God had made in her life, I also decided to become Christian.”

His wife, Yoslaine Talavera, became a Christian when she was ill and someone ministered to her and took her to church. Her family was not Christian, she says, “but when they saw what God had done in my life, they also accepted Jesus.”

They met at a Methodist church in the Las Tunas Province, married 18 years ago and have served in various places in Cuba since. Their son, Josue, 16, and daughter, Keren, 10, are part of the worship team at the Methodist church in San José de las Lajas.

The ministry of Alexei Velazquez, 36, pastor of the district’s San Antonio church, and his wife Iliansis Rodrguez includes their young daughters, Drema and Yasmín, but also involves some sacrifice of family time.

In addition to the busy daily demands of the church, its seven missions and various evangelism programs, Velazquez is in his third year of the four-year program for clergy at the Methodist Seminary in Havana.

That has meant spending weekdays in Havana twice a year for a 21-day class period. “When I’m gone, I miss them so much,” he admits.

Bloom is a United Methodist News Service multimedia reporter based in New York. She and UMNS Photographer Mike DuBose visited Cuba in November. Follow her at https://twitter.com/umcscribeor contact her at 615-742-5470 or [email protected]


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Mission and Ministry
Light spills from the doorway and stained glass windows of Central United Methodist Church of Quéssua, part of the Quéssua Mission in east Angola. Established in the late 1800s by Methodist missionaries and destroyed by almost three decades of civil war that ended in 2002, the mission is being rebuilt, bringing education, healthcare and food security to people in a rural valley near the provincial capital of Malanje. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News.

Lighting the way in Angola

Since the late 19th century, the Methodist mission station in Quéssua has supported the physical and spiritual needs of the villagers in this rural area. In April, a Volunteers in Mission team from Florida traveled to Quéssua for a variety of projects, ranging from medical to nutritional to infrastructure.
Local Church
“Brother Jean” Aime Ratovohery, founding leader of the congregation, participates in a congregational conference to officially organize the first United Methodist church in Madagascar. Photo by the Rev. Gustavo Vasquez, UM News.

A snapshot of United Methodism in Madagascar

A delegation led by Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala made a historic visit to Madagascar Feb. 21-28 to formalize the opening of The United Methodist Church in that country. During the service, the bishop confirmed new members, baptized 91 people and administered Holy Communion.
Mission and Ministry
Tim Tanton, United Methodist Communications. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS.

Why church should care about press freedom

World Press Freedom Day is a time to reflect on the importance of newsgathering and the ties that connect freedom of expression and religion.

United Methodist Communications is an agency of The United Methodist Church

©2023 United Methodist Communications. All Rights Reserved