Tackling the whole nation for life
John: What would you do if you lived in the country with the highest rates of abortion in all the world? Our friend, Pastor Sandy Cancino, lives in Havana, Cuba, and Cuba is number one in the world in terms of the rate of abortion. It’s a terrible statistical reality in Cuba. Just about everybody has abortions without much thought or thinking.
Pastor Sandy and those of us who work at PassionLife have been partnering for a number of years together to come up with a nationwide strategy. Recently we sent our other co-worker, Anderson Ocampo, who lives in Medellin, Colombia to fly into Cuba and work with Sandy. Sandy has created a map of the island that identifies the 15 provinces of the island and has begun to pray and work toward finding a person in each one of those provinces that will become a key leader. Sort of like when the Apostle Paul went through Asia and appointed elders for each of the churches that he began to work with long term.
They are now completing a trip where they were teaching the four questions to pastors, medical doctors, as well as high school and college students the PassionLife apologetics and demonstrating the power of the gospel of life and identifying these key leaders across the land. I really wanted you to hear from Anderson directly as he’s just returned now from this exciting two weeks of training in Cuba.
Anderson: Good morning, everyone and God bless you. I am very thankful for being back home and enjoying training, family and resting for this week. As you know, I am not going to be here today because I’m on a trip, a personal trip I had already scheduled. So I’m going to give you a brief report on my latest trip to Cuba which was for two weeks.
First we were able to teach in six different cities. We had to take a plane, sometimes we drove in a car, and one time I had to take a boat. I kicked off in Chiboné and Santiago where I had the opportunity to teach the whole course on intervention for the first time.
And as you guys already know, I have been working on John’s book. I have created an extract and I was able to make a course on the eight lessons on intervention putting some of my flavor in many, many examples. This was very well received. I got feedback from some doctors as well. We had about 40 or 45 people, most of them were medical doctors, nurses, and some of the volunteers from Bos De Vida and other help centers in the area. Some came to me saying, “Now I have more tools to know how to speak to a woman instead of just saying this is a sin or appalling.” A doctor named Mahela said, “I love that because it shows me ways to help the woman be reconciled with her own values.”
I moved to Puerto Padre and I had the chance to deliver two talks on Stand for Life to 40 youth leaders. These were youth leaders from different parts of the country. They have these meetings once a year. And I was invited by the Jornelis who is in charge of these leaders. I delivered two different conferences on Stand for Life, and how to show the worldview of life, both biblically and logically and the importance of teaching the youth about how to defend life.
Some of the leaders came and said that this is very new for them and hopefully they will replicate the teaching. We moved with Sandy to Manzanillo. Now Manzanillo is in Granma which is very close to Bayamo and is very hot. There we taught the four questions without electricity and running water. There we taught the four questions with Sandy and Javier.
What I tried to do was make a plan and divide up the four questions between me, Sandy and Javier. We three taught the four questions, and we included Daliante, who is the leader in
Bayamo, and she was in charge of question number three and part of question four showing how they are doing the work of helping mothers in Bayamo.
At the beginning, Sandy and Javier were a little reluctant to receive the plan that I came up with because my objective is to, in a way, replicate myself and show how we have been teaching it in Medellín because we have been doing this in Medellín since 2021. We have different teachers and pastors that we divide up the lessons among so instead of one person teaching one whole question, we divide it up.
At the end we made it. We made it twice and it went really well. Afterwards they said it is more comfortable, it is easier because you don’t have to worry about teaching the whole question which sometimes is too much or a lot of content like in question number two.
This kind of helps you release the responsibility and at the same time shows the audience the dynamic and how they can do it as well in a way that it can be reproduced fast and rapid instead of giving tons of information. We were sticking to the essentials.
I think that they got a flavor they liked and as they got more used to it they mastered certain interactactions, I would say, with certain passages of Scripture in order to understand what are the essentials of each question. This makes sure they try to make the right connections as the flow moves in the four questions.That was part of my job. To replicate and to encourage them to do it this way instead of giving tons of information that is non-essential or that is complementary. Stick to the four questions material and stick to the main Bible verses so that people can see that they can do it.
Now we move to Bajamo. In Bajamo, we train the four questions again. After Bajamo, we moved to Baracoa. Baracoa is in Guantanamo. It’s a beautiful place. They say that 70% are evangelical Christians and we taught the four questions again with Sandy. At this point, we were already kind of exhausted because we didn’t have electricity or water in Manzanillo. I think I already mentioned that, but we had to sleep with all the windows and doors open because the weather was absolutely crazy. But we made it, we taught the four questions and I have to say that all these training sessions were taught to medical doctors.
I was very impressed by that. We got many stories and testimonies from medical doctors. We got them on video. They are in Spanish, of course, but some of these doctors were former abortionists. Some of the nurses would come to me and say with tears, “You don’t know what I have seen down in these clinics. You don’t know the other experience in the rooms and the blood and you don’t know the abortionist doctors that work there that are addicts to abortions.” The idea was to teach the four questions to identify a leader and empower that leader or equip them to continue replicating the four questions and kind of creating a branch of the church or finding their own way to help the ladies in the pregnancy crisis.
In Las Tunas, we again taught the four questions. It was by night and in a very beautiful church. The total number of people we trained was about 330 people. Again, most of them were medical doctors. We got some youth leaders and pastors, of course, but most of the attendees were medical doctors.
This is it. I hope this is helpful. I came back home with a big burden for Cuba. I think everything seems to be worse every time I come back. Economics are crazy. The scarcity of food and basic basics is unthinkable. The only people I see smile and laughing and seem to have hope are the Christians. The rest, I don’t see, I just see long faces. The spirit of desolation in this country is amazing. The amount and the level of bloodshed is unthinkable. The stories
they tell, the methods that they use and do, including the stats for abortions is amazing. Almost every person has had an abortion or is related to someone who had an abortion in their lives. So I’m very thankful to God for this opportunity for using me, and allowing me to work with these people in Cuba. Thank you guys for your prayers. Your prayers were heard, and I felt them. I needed them for energy, for strength, spiritual strength and physical strength and help with the whole spirit to teach in a passionate way. So thank you so much, and see you soon.
John: As someone who’s been long committed to training up another generation of leaders, I’m not only excited about what’s happening in Cuba, I’m excited that people like Sandy and Anderson are coming forward to lead that effort. I didn’t go to Cuba, they went to Cuba. And they are leading the effort to train up other leaders. They are being seen as the leaders in Cuba for the work that PassionLife is doing. I would encourage you to pray for these guys: Pastor Sandy, who lives in Cuba, and Pastor Anderson, who lives in Columbia. They are going to be working together for a long time seeing if God will create a movement of life, spreading the gospel of life across that island and taking it from number one in terms of abortion rates to number two to number three and on down that list by the power of God and the perseverance of the faithful. We believe that we can do it. So get involved. Watch our updates on Cuba and pray for Sandy and Anderson. Thank you.