Baseball is the national pastime in Cuba and a source of great joy all across the island. The recent influx of Cuban players coming to the U.S. to play for the Dodgers, Rangers, Athletics and other major league teams has also inspired hope for this generation of Cuban youth.
It is encouraging to see this same level of exuberant hope and joy in the Cuban church. The past 55 years have not been easy for the Cuban people to say the least. However, through it all God's people have maintained a faith that is deeply rooted in Jesus Christ, steadfast in prayer, alive in worship and joyful in the face of adversity.
Christianity and baseball have a lot in common. The goal of both is to arrive safe at home and to be on the winning team when the game is over. Faith in Jesus Christ insures we are on the winning team and that one day we will get safely home. Until that day we too are to live a life that is full of the hope and joy found in a child's heart.
"Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)
UPPER ROOM MARKETING
The Word of God has much to say about faith, hope and love, but it is also a text book on how Chrisitans are to conduct themselves in the marketplace.
Firstchurch had the great priviledge of partnering once again with Global Advance to conduct a Marketplace Missions conference in Havana. More than 100 current and future business owners packed a small upper room to receive three days of training and materials that will help them own and operate their businesses according to Biblical standards of excellence.
The goal of these marketplace conferences is to give Christians the tools they need to be at the forefront of the economic turnaround that is taking place in so many developing countries.
400 EXPRESSIONS OF LOVE
We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our supporters towards the distribution of Bibles in Cuba. On our most recent trip we were able to connect with another source for Bibles and were able to provide 400 high quality copies of the scriptures to these pastors. This brings the total number of Bibles Firstchurch has distributed to 3,000.
The committment to evangelism by the Cuban pastors and the number of new converts to Jesus Christ has created an immediate need for one million copies of the Bible. Firstchurch has committed to providing 3,000 more copies in 2014 to the churches we support.
You may contribute to this project by going to the Firstchurch web site and making a donation designated "Bibles."
"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword"
CUBA FOR CHRIST
Prayer continues to be the greatest need among those whom God has called to the nations. We humbly acknowledge this need and ask you to continue standing with Firstchurch and our mission to transform Cuba for Christ.
Recent events tell us that 2014 will be our most challenging year of service to the Cuban church. Plans include a marriage retreat for pastors and wives, leadership training for mission pastors in remote areas and the distribution of 3,000 more Bibles.
We would also like to pray for you. Please contact us throughour our web site and let us know how we can stand with you in prayer. Thank you again for your love and prayerful support.
During the American Revolution, pastors rallied their congregations to resist tyranny and fight for the religous freedom that was their heritage. These men were labled the "Black Robe Regiment" by the British army and were targeted for capture and execution. In many cases, their families were also murdered and their churches burned.
In 1956 Jim Elliott, along with four missionary friends and their wives, set out on a mission to reach the Auca indians with the Gospel. When these men were brutally murdered on a riverbank in Ecuador, they were in possession of a rifle, but had voted they would not use it to defend themselves if attacked. They said, "We know where we will spend eternity, the Aucas don't."
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3)
Christianity in America has arrived at a defining moment. We have the opportunity to join the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us and define our faith by the willing sacrifice of our lives and fortunes for the cause of Christ, or we can continue to medicate our religous conscious with church attendance, self-help conferences and building campaigns.
When the Apostle Paul declared to the Galatians, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me," he was not just stating his theological position. He was defining his life in terms of the ultimate sacrifice; death on the cross of the world's rejection, ridicule and persecution. He was unashamedly setting himself up as an example for generations of believers to follow.
Jesus said, "Blessed are you, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you ... Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy: for behold your reward is great in heaven." (Luke 6:22-23)
It is estimated that over 100,000 believers in Christ are martyred each year worldwide. In many of these nations there are also reports of a great spiritual awakening, ie. China, Cuba and Iran. Pray for the church in America to have the courage to pay a martyr's price to restore the foundations of righteousness in our nation, and remember you are the church!
JOIN US ON THE FRONT LINES IN CUBA
Firstchurch has begun to assemble ministry teams to assist in our outreach to Cuba. Our focus is to support the vision of Cuban pastors in the areas of evangelism, church planting and leadership training.
Teams are scheduled to travel to Cuba in May and August of this year. We will be participating in a time of prophetic ministry to pastors in Eastern Cuba, speaking at a marriage seminar in Las Tunas and conducting a three day marketplace ministry event for emerging business leaders in Havana.
If you would like to partner with Firstchurch in our Cuba for Christ campaign by joining one of our future ministry teams, please contact us through our web site at http://www.firstchurch33.com for more information and a personal interview.
PRAY FOR US
This closing section is typically where I would make an appeal for financial support for Firstchurch. However, our greatest need at this time is for focused and intense prayer for our ministry.
Open doors of opportunity in Cuba have become flood gates of great need, and we are asking God for the wisdom to be good stewards and to show us where we are to invest our time and resources. We feel the weight of God's burden for this nation and we are asking you to help empower our work through your prayers.
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