Brothers and Sisters in Cuba


Leaving my country in 1961, after the take-over of the communist regime, I vowed I would never return to Cuba while that government was in power. Little did I know that God had other plans and, through many God circumstances in my life, thirty-six years later, I went back to my native land on a Methodist mission trip.
 In the year 2000, Bayshore UMC in Tampa, went on a caravan trip to visit our sister church in Niquero. What we found was a piece of land where the temple (which had been destroyed by a hurricane) sat. Pastor Bruce (Bayshore’s pastor) and Cuban Pastor Yordi (who had been appointed to reconstruct the building) met, on holy grounds, in a committed prayer to rebuild the temple for the glory of God.. The church (with about 85 members at that time) was meeting in the backyard of the pastor’s make-shift home. Pastor Yordi had rented a home so that the 5 member-caravan from Tampa could stay for one week and get to know everyone.
That was the beginning of an 18 year rich and mutual sister relationship between the Florida and Cuba churches. Since then my husband and I have gone nine more times strengthening our relationship, watching their children grow, their faith increase, the spread of the gospel in all areas around Niquero and the reconstruction of the Niquero temple. What a great blessing!  After over 10 years of hard work, seeing God’s provision in securing materials and resources, the Niquero Methodist Church stands as a beacon of God’s light in the coastal city of Niquero that has a population of about 42,900 (1/5 the population of Bayamo). Below is a photo of the current view of Niquero Methodist Church with the sanctuary on the main floor and dorms on the second floor for district seminary students and visitors. It has an adjacent building for the pastoral family’s home and classrooms. There is no need for a parking lot since no member of the church has a car. They all walk to church regardless of how far they live.
On every mission trip to our sister church whatever material things we took became nothing compared with what we received in examples of what it means to live to serve and worship the Lord. When we were there, we were their family. When we left
we still were the “dear ones” in another country. We write to each other, exchange family photos, pray for each other and share our God experiences. Our heavenly interchange is indescribable!
Pastor Yimmi Salomon was appointed by the Cuba Conference as pastor of the Niquero Methodist Church in 2015.. Pastor Yimmi is 32 years old. He and his wife, Graciela have 2 children, a boy 6 and a girl 4 yrs old. The only Christian in his family was his grandmother who read him Bible stories when he was a child. He gave his life to the Lord when he was 16 yrs old and became a medical doctor, as a profession. The Lord called him to be a pastor 2 & 1⁄2 yrs ago. When he was praying doing his rounds at the hospital, the Lord told him (as he did to Saul in 1 Samuel 10: 6: “Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you, and you will be turned into another man”). Five days later, the Methodist Church in Cuba Bishop, told him the Holy Spirit had placed him in his heart and asked Yimmi to seek the Lord’s will to become a pastor and the rest is history for the glory of God. He graduates from the Theological Seminary in three years Pastor Yimmi Solomon was appointed to serve at the Niquero Church in 2015.
One of the many dire needs for our Cuban brothers and sisters is to get clean water to drink. Over the past ten years, Cuba’s economic decline has led to a slow but steady water supply and sanitation services deterioration, resulting in an increase in water-borne disease. When water does flow through the city’s mains, it is often on for just two or three hours. To cope with erratic supply, people begin storing water, for longer and longer periods, increasing the risk of contamination. Water tanks are delivered by the government to villages that do not have water lines. Many times tanks break down and are not fixed in time and residents of that area need to walk miles to get to the nearest water supply. In this photo, while visiting a Niquero mission in the field (in one of my trips to Cuba, I found a government water tank with a flat tire that had been left there over a week. This was supposed to be the area’s supply of water that never got there on time.

There is now a way to aid the Cuban people with clean water through a water purification system that has been proven effective and acceptable by the Methodists United in Prayer ministry of the Florida Conference. They are sent through Agape Flights several times a year.

Currently, efforts are being made to raise funds to provide a water purification system to the Niquero Methodist Church, with enough capacity that will supply, not only would clean water for the church members, but also for the community. A special Cuba account is set up at Wesley MUMC to gather donations for this effort. For any other details about the Cuba ministry, please contact me @ .

Twenty years have passed since the eventful signing of this covenant of prayer and fellowship between the Florida and Cuba Conferences (which, at one time, were one and the same). A recommitment proclamation of this sister partnership was signed at the 2017 Annual Conference between Bishop Carter and Bishop Pereira. There are currently over 400 Methodist’s churches and house churches in Cuba with over 700 missions in the field. The Word of God is spreading throughout the Island, in spite of (or because of) living in a repressive society with many material dire needs.

“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of my brothers and sisters in Cuba, because your faith is being reported all over the world” (Romans 1:8 paraphrased)

Renee Masvidal Kincaid

Print pagePDF pageEmail page