News & Updates Category
From October 19 to November 2, 2015, we had the pleasure of hosting Victor Manuel from the Baptist Convention of Eastern Cuba in Canada. He spoke at various Churches and meetings throughout Ontario and he shared his incredible story and how God is changing hearts in Cuba. Victor is a leader in the Baptist Convention of Eastern Cuba where he is a pastor, missionary, lecturer and camp director at Camp Palmarón. Victor has an incredible story that he has shared with us, he loves to talk about the revival happening in Cuba. He says, “This is the harvest time in Cuba. This is an opportunity. Tomorrow may be different! Come Join Us!”
To connect with Victor while he is in Canada email our communications coordinator by clicking here
From Victor Manuel:
I was born on January 5th, 1974 into a humble family, my grandparents were faithful Christians and they sowed the Gospel’s seed into my heart. My father was an alcoholic and a communist.
After my parent’s divorce, being very young, I started living with my grandparents who took the opportunity to continue to share the Word of God with me. During my time with my grandparents, we were visited by some pastors who also talked to me about the Lord. However, it was very hard to talk about salvation during that time because there was so much persecution of Christians and the profound rejection of the Word of God from most of the people in Cuba.
Some time later my mother married a man who was also a communist and I moved far away from my grandparents and far from the Lord as well. I grew up and followed my own way.
Later on, while I was still very young, my mother accepted Jesus and she began to pray for me, but by this time I had fallen into alcoholism and started smoking. I worked as a bartender in a discotheque, the vices and sins were rampant around me and I continue to follow my own path instead of the Lord’s calling in my life.
One day my mother, who knew how much I liked the English language, invited me to a service where an American evangelist would be that night. I accepted the invitation to go but was unable get inside, so I stayed outside looking through one of the Temple’s windows. That man of God said a phrase that acted as a trigger for me. He said: ”Those who are born once, die twice, those who are born twice, die just once”.
That phrase impacted my life and I reflected on it for several weeks after hearing the message. After a month working at a beach and waiting for a ride to go home, I saw an accident where some people lost their lives. I heard God’s voice clearly saying to me: “You could be one of them”. That night I decided to go to the Church and three days later I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. God took my sins away and He made me a new person in Christ. I was baptized on September 24, 1995. From this time on I felt a strong desire to serve the Lord. A year later I would give up my work as a bartender because that place was not compatible with my new life in Christ. I looked for a job in other places but could only find similar work that was not good for me, so I started occupying my time by working at the Church in the Youth Department, in evangelism and with cell groups. A year later my pastor, Eliel Matos, proposed to me that I work with the Church and take charge of a mission (a Church plant). Even though there was not enough money to pay me, I accepted it, and so I worked for the first two months without a salary. But God, who is ever faithful, started prospering the work and that allowed me to open three more missions and to continue working for three more years.
Following that, my pastor talked to me about the call to the Pastoral Ministry. I thought that it never would be possible, I couldn’t imagine that God would actually call me; but each day the desire got stronger to serve the Lord. Sometimes I wanted an amazing experience like Isaiah’s; but God showed me, He would improve and perfect different areas of my life.
The Lord put in my life my special and loved wife, Elaine Matos, and we got married on September 19, 1997. We now have two children: Keren Ivelise and Victor Samuel, two gifts from God.
In September of 1998, I started studying for pastoral ministry at the Baptist Theological Seminary of Eastern Cuba and I graduated in February of 2002 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology. During the time I was studying in the Seminary, I worked at the Second Baptist Church of Camagüey and at the Second Baptist Church of Caney in Santiago de Cuba.
On August 28, 2001 I accepted a call to ministry at the First Baptist Church in Baire where I’ve been working for the last 14 years. I continuously thank the Lord that the work has grown much since then.
The Lord has allowed me to continue studying, obtaining a Master’s degree in Old Testament and, if it is God’s Will, I aspire to start a Doctoral degree.
Through these years God permitted us to organize the Second Baptist Church in Baire and to open other missions and He answered our prayers for the construction of our Temple which we hope to finish very soon. The Lord has given me, besides, other responsibilities: since 2003 I have been the Director in Charge of the Camp Palmarón, a retreat and conference centre from the BCEC. In 2004 I was invited by the Faculty of the Seminary to be one of the teachers there, teaching an important subject: the Prophetic Books. From 2007 to 2015 I was a member of the board of directors of the Baptist Convention of Eastern Cuba, serving in different areas as an assistant secretary and director of the Publications Department. Since 2008 I’ve been working representing our Convention in Partners International Canada; as well as the challenge to reach our own community, the town of Baire, with the message of Christ.