By Frank and Wendy Parrish
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty!
The truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is setting the captives free in many countries of the world; and the power of God is bringing liberty to those who are oppressed and in bondage.
One of the countries experiencing such liberty in the Spirit is Cuba.
- One Cuban church saw over 7,000 people receive Jesus Christ as Savior just last year.
- Through the 850 churches planted out of this church in the last few years, more than 17,000 have come to Christ in the last twelve months.
Flames of revival are burning brightly in Cuba – and it was upon this scene that our team arrived to encourage those involved in this great move of God!
Signs Of God’s Favor
“¡Cuba para Cristo!” (Cuba for Christ!) continues to ring in our ears – and hearts – even now. We were deeply moved by the Cuban pastors’ passionate and sacrificial love for God and one another.
Our loving Heavenly Father responded to their passionate devotion. We watched firsthand as His Spirit performed wonders, miraculous healings, deliverances and salvations. We thank God for His favor, and the Cuban government for their gracious cooperation in granting religious visas and the permits necessary to hold the meetings.
Making The Impossible Possible
Our international ministry team included team leader Evangelist Al Furey (Australia), and seasoned pastors: Errol Buckle (Australia); Kevin Holland (USA); Dave Olson (Canada); Frank Parrish (USA), President and Director of World MAP; all under the leadership of Pastor “Jose” (Cuban apostle). This year two of the wives, Meg Holland and Wendy Parrish, also joined the ministry team.
World MAP is a major financial sponsor of these strategic conferences for pastors, church leaders and missionaries. In Cuba, people have very little resource; those who work are paid only $10 a month. So the registrants pay nothing to attend the conference, enjoy meals free of charge, and receive a stipend to help with travel expenses. This is a tremendous blessing to them, as it would otherwise be impossible for them to attend.
Experiencing God’s Power First-Hand
These Spirit-filled conferences are a source of strength and encouragement to the church leaders of Cuba. Bringing the pastors together serves them in many ways, especially:
- Showing them that they are not alone as pastors or in ministry. Many live in remote areas and often feel isolated. When they meet, they become connected to fellow church leaders and realize they are all part of a mighty work of God in their nation.
- Breaking down barriers and fostering unity, regardless of affiliation or denomination – or anything else that might divide them.
- Enabling them to experience what God can do when they gather. They can meet to worship God and expect to experience His presence and power as they glorify Him.
- Giving them an opportunity to experience the power of God at a fuller dimension. As they learn that God’s power and love are fully available to them, their expectancy to receive from God is raised.
- Allowing a place for them to be touched, healed, delivered and changed by the power of God through sound teaching and impartation of anointing! Even a single encounter with God’s power and anointing can change a leader for a lifetime – and spur him on to lead others to be equally changed and empowered by God.
To Simply Receive
Though much of the conference teaching was practical instruction, the primary focus was on a fresh impartation of the Holy Spirit upon their lives. And this was demonstrated in overwhelming ways!
In each of the three conferences, pastors and leaders were powerfully filled by the Spirit of God. A recurring theme was how to receive from God. Many might think they need to pray in tongues, praise or even beg or plead with God, in order for Him to fill them. This is not only unnecessary; it can often hinder actually receiving. God has already promised to freely give us of His Spirit (Luke 11:13). We need only to receive and spend time in His presence (see Frank’s article “A Fresh Infilling?”).
These March 2004 conferences added a new and thrilling dimension not present in our prior 2002 conferences.
In a planning session last fall, part of the ministry team gathered with Pastor “Jose” (not his real name) who is recognized as a leading apostle in the nation of Cuba. With much prayer and discussion, the team felt it was in the timing of the Lord to open the evening meetings to the public.
Pastor Jose told the team this had not been done in Cuba since the present government came to power in the late 1950s.
We knew it could risk our permits even for the regular pastors’ conferences. But we had a strong sense that it was God’s desire, so we planned for the open evening meetings. The faithful, fervent prayers of the World MAP Prayer Corps and others availed much!
The Uttermost Part
The first of three Spiritual Renewal Seminars for church leaders opened in the far southeast corner of Cuba, in the town of Moa. This is the site where a conference by the same team scheduled in late 2002 had been abruptly cancelled by government officials at the last minute. Although the team held three other powerful conferences in Cuba at that time, it was a major disappointment that no conference could be held in Moa.
We proceeded in faith – and you prayed – and this time God opened a door for a conference in Moa!
Passion and Hunger
The ministry team traveled in vans for two long days over rugged, narrow roads to reach this remote location. The church leaders also traveled for many miles, some under far worse conditions, to participate in this year’s conference.
We were expecting 400 pastors and leaders. But to our joyous surprise, more than 830 pastors and leaders registered, from 22 different denominations. Unfortunately, more had to be turned away due to sheer lack of physical space in the facility. We were reminded again of the depth of the passion and hunger for God in the hearts of these precious leaders!
“Only One Trumpet”
During the Moa conference, Pastor “Jose” opened the first session, strongly exhorting the leaders to have God-sized dreams because God fulfills His promises. He encouraged the pastors in their unity, noting that we do not belong to denominations – we belong to Christ!
“There will not be separate trumpets for Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals or others,” Pastor Jose declared. “There will be only one Trumpet – and when it sounds, ALL those who belong to Christ will rise to meet their Lord!”
This met with resounding cheers and a mighty shout of praise to God. These pastors on the front lines of God’s Kingdom advance are keenly aware that time cannot be wasted squabbling over differences or striving for position. They have seen that “the fields are white [ripe] unto harvest” (John 4:35) and they are about the Master’s business!
Flow Of Ministry
In the daytime sessions, key teaching topics included:
- The Father’s love;
- Rejecting offenses and fostering unity;
- Seeking the face of God, not the hand of God – seeking Him, not just what He can do for you;
- Resting in God and hearing His voice;
- Profound insights into the anointing – what it is, how to receive it, and how to walk in it.
At the end of each session, ministry times led by the team allowed for repentance, healing and prayer to flow freely. The Holy Spirit was always present in gentle yet profound power!
Also in Moa (and at each conference) there was a special meeting for the team to lay hands on every pastor or leader present, and pray for a fresh anointing from God to come upon them. These were powerful times, and left no doubt for the Cuban pastors and leaders that God had touched them!
We were uncertain what to expect at the evening meetings. Open, public religious gatherings were a new experience – and Moa is a center for witchcraft and other forms of pagan practices.
However, God had a great purpose to fulfill. People began to gather more than 3 hours in advance of the meeting. By the time the meeting was scheduled to start, more than 3500 people were joined in worship, waiting with eager anticipation for what God would do.
The evening meetings were led by Evangelist Al Furey, a man uniquely gifted and anointed whom God has used worldwide to bring renewal and revival. He has sown faithfully into Cuba for many years with his time, energy, love and resource. It was fitting that he should lead in this historic event.
Huge Morale Boost
As the Cuban people worshipped and called out to God, He poured out His power and Spirit, manifested in healings, deliverances and salvations.
For the Moan pastors and leaders, to be part of an event at which so many people gathered from so many places was a huge morale boost. They saw firsthand the hunger and passion of the people they were called to serve – and God’s desire to meet them.
God Is Faithful
Brother Al Furey opened the first night with a strong teaching from Mark 5:25-34, exhorting people to expect the miraculous from God, Who is totally good.
God was faithful to perform His Word that night:
- two partially blind people received full sight;
- a man born deaf in one ear received full hearing;
- two children born with a painful flatfooted condition received arches in their feet;
- tumors disappeared;
- severe arthritis vanished;
- and many people came to Christ!
A Sovereign Gift
The second night of the conference was equally powerful, with deep, extended worship, strong teaching and more miracles.
By the third night, more than 4,000 people were gathered, and again the miracle power of God was displayed through healings and salvations. Each night the healings were confirmed as those who testified of healings were diligently questioned or tested.
Humbled And Awed
God truly showed Himself great and marvelous in Moa. Pastor Jose told us that, “No foreigners or outsiders have ever been allowed the opportunity you have been given.” A crowd of this size had not been addressed by a non-Cuban since 1959. We were humbled and awed to witness the outpouring of God’s Spirit upon the precious saints of Moa! All praise be to God!
Crying Out For More
The next day, after the final anointing meeting with the pastors and leaders in Moa, the team drove 12 hours to Santa Clara in central Cuba. After 5 hours sleep, it was time for the next conference to begin!
As in Moa, God was faithful to respond to the hunger of the church leaders in Santa Clara. Though most of the attendees at this particular conference were from a conservative background, they were deeply impacted by the power of God.
The final night, the Spirit of God came in such marked manifestation that the meeting continued on through the night, with people still “down under the power” of the Holy Spirit when the ministry team arrived the next morning!
At each of the three conferences, there were four full teaching sessions per day, plus an evening teaching. There were multiple opportunities for the leaders to pray and respond, and for the impartation of the Spirit and love of God. The Cuban pastors and leaders drank it all in with open hearts and passionate gratitude, and still cried out for more!
God’s Great Work
We had seen God move in miracle power in the first two conferences, and arrived in Havana to witness yet another profound working of the Holy Spirit: sincere unity among the pastors and leaders.
There were over 1,000 registered leaders at the Havana conference, representing 34 different denominational groups. Included were pastors from Brazil, Mexico and Canada. To witness the love and friendship among them brought tears to our eyes and thanks to God for His marvelous working.
To accommodate all the registrants, the church had creatively set up “rooms” on rooftops and in other open areas with video feed on small t.v. screens.
God again revealed His power and love in every meeting. The worship times were joyful, tender and powerful. The teachings were eagerly received and responded to, as the Cuban pastors opened their hearts to all that God desired to do. During the special anointing service, most went down under the power of the Holy Spirit and all were deeply touched. Many married couples were prayed for together, and God tenderly and powerfully ministered to them.
The surrounding community was again impacted during the evening meetings. Crowds pressed into the facility, and filled the blocks around the church. Again, many were healed, saved and delivered, and experienced a powerful impartation from the Spirit of God.
We praise the Lord for His great love and faithfulness, and thank Him for the privilege of participating in His great work in Cuba. We thank you – each of you who prayed and gave – for making these events possible. May you receive the reward of your faithful sowing into God’s Kingdom purposes both here – and throughout eternity!