CUBA: MARIA—FROM CUBA TO THE MIDDLE EAST

“Maria, come stand next to me.”

I was not prepared to hear those words from Tony Vasquez as he was preaching on the Great Commission at my church to nearly 800 women in Havana, Cuba. I was sitting on the platform behind him with the other pastors.

He turned and smiled at me and said, “Maria, yes, come quickly!”

As I walked forward, he reached beneath his Bible on the pulpit and pulled out a large cloth map of the world. He unfolded it and looked back to the congregation, “As you all know, God has called Maria to be a missionary from Cuba to the Middle East. Although you are a 4,000-member church, you have never sent a missionary from this congregation, and she has a call from God on her life!”

Tony held up the cloth for everyone to see the map of the world. Then, he wrapped the cloth around my shoulders. My heart was racing as I heard him say, “Maria, God has called you. Now is the time for us to pray for God to open the door so you can go. Go stand in the middle of the aisle so the women can lay hands on you and pray.”

I walked to the center of the church wearing the map of the world like a shawl. I felt the hands of my sisters on my shoulders as the entire sanctuary erupted in prayer.

The next morning, I met with Tony and ILI President, Wes Griffin. I looked them in the eyes with deep conviction and said, “I am a Cuban woman. I know how to live on nothing. God has called me, and I will go to the Middle East to share Jesus with Muslim women and lead them to Christ.”

One week later, God opened the door, and soon I will be sharing Christ with women in a closed nation in the Middle East.

Maria is an ILI Cuba alumnus under the leadership of Tony Vasquez, ILI International Director for Latin America. She accepted the call to be a missionary in the Middle East where she plans to lead women to Christ.


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