The Impact of the GLS in Cuba | Transforming the Nation, One Family at a Time (Part 2)
In many parts of the world, one of the greatest challenges facing the Church is the growing number of young people who are abandoning their faith. Many Christian parents face the heart-breaking reality that their teenage children no longer have any interest in the things of God.
But in places like Cuba, the problem can be quite the opposite.
Dr. Raydel Miranda is a respected young eye surgeon, a passionate follower of Christ and a committed member of the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) team in Havana. But his commitment came at a very steep price, and his story reflects the challenges of being a follower of Christ for many people in Cuba.
“My parents were raised in the first generation following the (Communist) revolution,” he explained. “They were a part of the culture that embraced atheism and rejected anything to do with Christianity.”
When Dr. Miranda because a Christian as a teenager, it created a huge problem in his family. “For my parents, this was the worst thing that could have happened,” he said.
In this anti-Christian environment, it was all the more remarkable that God was able touch his heart and draw him toward a relationship with Christ.
“I was a (medical) intern, and some of the other interns were followers of Christ,” he explained. “They began to share their faith with me, and they gave me a Bible. I had never seen a Bible before, and I had certainly never encountered the love of Jesus in this way. It was like nothing I had never heard of. I began to read my Bible, and I asked a lot of questions of my Christian friends.”
Eventually, he gave his life to Christ. While he was thrilled to be in a personal relationship with God through Christ, the challenges of his new life were just beginning.
“When I told my parents about my decision to follow Jesus, they were very, very upset,” he recalled. “They actually kicked me out of the house. Their generation, and the Cuban culture, was opposed to anything to do with Christianity and the Church. They thought my decision was stupid, reckless and dangerous.”
But as he grew in his faith and in his understanding of the Scriptures, his parents began to notice a change in their son, and this opened the door to new conversations.
“They wanted to talk me out of my decision to be a follower of Jesus,” says Dr. Miranda. “They asked me, ‘What are they teaching you in that church of yours?’
I said, ‘Well, this week they were teaching me to love and honor my parents.’ And then I said, ‘Don’t you want me to be a part of a faith that teaches me such things’?”
That moment helped to restore his relationship with his parents.
It also served as an important reminder to Dr. Miranda how important it is that Christians in Cuba remain faithful to tell their family and friends about Jesus, because most of them simply do not understand what it really means to be in a relationship with Christ.
This is also why Dr. Miranda remains committed to being a leader of the Global Leadership Summit in Cuba. He has been involved in the GLS since the very first event in 2014, and he believes God will continue to use the Summit to change Cuba.
“The experience I had with my parents is a constant reminder as to why Christians in Cuba must be courageous,” he explained. “And God continues to use the GLS to build strength and courage into the lives of Christians across the country.”
Since that first GLS in Havana in 2014, the Summit has grown to five cities across the country, with hopes and prayers to bring the GLS to every part of Cuba.
For Christian leaders like Dr. Miranda, the hope is that as more and more Christian leaders are encouraged and equipped through the GLS, the culture that produced such anti-Christian feelings in his parents can be transformed.
“This can happen if we continue to equip Christian leaders,” Dr. Miranda concluded. “As we have learned, The local church is the hope of the world.”
Scott Cochrane serves as the vice president of International at Willow Creek Association. An insightful and genuine leader, he travels the globe mentoring international teams. Prior to joining WCA, he was the executive pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Kelowna, British Columbia and provided leadership to the WCA Canada.
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