Cuban Baptist’s boldness challenges Paducah youth group

Originally published at Western Recorder –

Paducah—First Baptist Church of Lone Oak’s youth group took a mission trip to Cuba, partnering with Second Baptist Church of Santiago de Cuba and the Eastern Baptist Convention.

The group of 10 students and five adults spent four days helping with a camp for approximately 180 Cuban children. They worked alongside Cuban youth to teach English, crafts, evangelism, devotions and games.

The last day of camp was “Evangelism Day.” Approximately 120 campers, along with the students, canvassed the neighborhood, going door-to-door and doing street evangelism. The results were 2,000 tracts being distributed, 200 gospel presentations made, 100 professions of faith and 80 follow-up contacts for Second Baptist.

“There’s just a great movement among children across Cuba to share their faith. The older generation wasn’t taught this as they grew up, so they’re making sure that the children of today know how to share their faith with joy and they’re seeing many people come to Christ,” said Jeff Wallace, minister of global outreach and 55+ at Lone Oak First.

“There is a revival going across Cuba; there is a desire by the average believer to share the faith, particularly with the Baptists of Cuba,” said Wallace, who also is moderator for West Union Baptist Association and a former IMB missionary to Spain

Patrick Greer, senior high student pastor at Lone Oak, said, “A portion of the strength of the Church in Cuba has to do with the fact that they have experienced such persecution over the last 50 years, and now that has been lightened, the church is exploding.”

The trip came about through the partnership that West Union Baptist Association and its director of missions, Howard Atkinson, former IMB missionary to Cuba, have with native Baptists.

“Brother Howard gave our association the vision to create a partnership between West Union and Cuba. In February 2013 West Union sent a vision team to Cuba. Our team visited a couple of Baptist camps. We also visited many churches and mission points and met pastors and missionaries, and the Eastern Baptist Convention,” Wallace said.

“Our team returned to Paducah and set out to secure some funds,” he said. “Through funds given through our association, the Korean church of our association and a non-profit foundation, money has been taken to the Eastern Baptist Convention and a Baptist camp in Cuba.”

When time came for the international youth mission trip, both Wallace and Greer felt the Lord leading their youth to Cuba.

Not only were the lives of the Cubans changed, but the lives of the youth of Lone Oak also were greatly impacted by the trip.

“Of the 10 who went, many of them were a part of our WMU mission’s education programs for years. It sparked their love for missions,” Wallace said.

“One of the youth felt the Lord had called him into missions, so this just solidified his call,” Wallace noted. “One of our college students feels the Lord has called her into the Journeyman program with the IMB.”

These were just two of the stories he shared.

“The big takeaway for our students was the boldness that the Cuban children and adults had for sharing the gospel with those around them,” he continued.

“We hope to take some of the things we learned and bring it back to the United States, to share the gospel just as boldly and as simply as they did in Cuba,” he said. (WR)