Women Without Borders in Cuba
A journey to minister to pastors’ wives and women leaders
ReachGlobal is present in more than 10 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The churches in these countries, however, often have very small or even non-existent ministries for women. Those that do have outreach programs to women often need resources and help in order to minister more effectively.
Motivated by this need, a group of us in ReachGlobal called upon our sisters in Venezuela, where vibrant and well-developed ministries to women exist. These women love the Lord, are well-equipped in the Word and have a heart for serving others. They are acutely aware of the lack of women’s ministries in neighboring countries and want to be used by God to stimulate and develop ministries for their sisters nearby.
As our ideas began to form, in 2009, ReachGlobal joined forces with the Venezuelan Women’s Ministry team. We named ourselves Women without Borders (Ministerio Mujeres Sin Fronteras). Our ministry focuses on developing women leaders in Latin American and Caribbean countries and helping them strengthen their own ministries. We’ve worked in five countries and are currently making trips to Peru and Cuba.
Called to Cuba
Through various connections, Women without Borders developed a relationship with the New Pines denomination (Los Pinos Nuevos) in Cuba, which just celebrated its 90th anniversary. We knew they had a long history of women’s ministry, but they needed resources to more effectively reach and develop their women.
As we shared our vision, the Cuban leaders invited us to partner with their national women leaders to help strengthen and equip women for ministry. This year marked our sixth trip to Cuba. Although we go to serve Cuban women, we have all been mutually blessed over the years by this partnership. They enrich our lives through their examples of perseverance in faith and single-mindedness in their service and devotion to the Lord.
Each year, as we plan for the trip, we dialogue with the Cuban women’s leadership team to learn what they most need for their ministry. Based on these conversations, we spend significant time praying and planning, and we choose women on our team that are well suited for the topics that we will address.
Confronted by a spiritual battle
This year, however, as we prepared for this special time in Cuba, there were many obstacles and difficulties that we faced.
The Cuban women’s leadership team found out a month before our visit that the original location that they had planned for hosting the training was not going to be available for us after all. They had to start from scratch to find a new place that would accommodate us. Then, the father of one of the Venezuelan members of our team passed away three weeks before our trip, making it difficult emotionally as she processed her grief and also more complicated for her as she got ready for the trip.
We realized that we were engaged in a spiritual battle. The enemy was working hard to discourage us and to derail our efforts to minister to our sisters in Cuba.
Because of these challenges, we became convinced that God must have something remarkable planned for our sisters to receive because we faced so much opposition. This gave us renewed focus to remain united and keep our eyes on Him and what He had called us to do. As a result, we saw God show up in abundant and exciting ways—more than we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21)!
A time of refreshment
We arrived in Havana and traveled about four hours to the central area of the country, Santa Clara, where the Cuban women’s leadership had secured a camp for us to use during our four days with the women. We had two days with just pastors’ wives, one day with women working with women in their local churches, and one day with the seven-member women’s leadership team for the New Pines denomination. During each of these days, we had times of worship, teaching, fellowship and personal reflection.
Approximately 45 pastors’ wives attended the two-day retreat, and 25 women leaders joined the pastors’ wives for a day-long workshop. Thanks to a generous offering from the Pursuit Women’s Bible study at EvFree Fullerton in Fullerton, California, we were able to provide a Bible study book for all of the women who attended these workshops.
Six pastors’ wives from the southern part of the island made significant sacrifices to pay for and make the long bus ride to be able to join us for these days of equipping and personal refreshment. They rejoiced repeatedly at God’s provision to be at this event and let us know that there are many women leaders who could benefit from this time but who could not attend because of the distance and expense. These women humbly and joyfully requested that we visit their region and give their sisters the opportunity to be equipped and experience the personal refreshment and healing as they had.
After the workshop on Intimacy with God, a pastor’s wife shared that she realized that she had just been going through the motions of serving, and her intimacy with the Lord had suffered because of it. This time had been used to remind her who she serves and stimulate her to keep her relationship with Lord a priority as she returns to her church.
As a team, we experienced an increased sense of unity and healthy collaboration. There was an openness to the Spirit guiding us in personal transformation through the workshops. Many women shared that God brought healing to their lives, and they left with a new sense of freedom to return to their places of service, encouraged to live lives of integrity before the Lord.
Join us in continued prayer that the lessons learned and resources received would continue to bless the women leaders in Cuba, so that they might multiply their faith among women in their communities. Pray that our Venezuelan team members would be strengthened to share their lives and the gospel in the midst of the widespread humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, and pray that the needed funds for next year’s Women without Borders trips.
We praise God for the generosity of those who have supported us with their faithful prayers and with financial gifts. You have truly sustained us, and we are grateful for your partnership with us as we continue to equip women for ministry throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
In order for Women without Borders to continue equipping and encouraging women’s ministries and women leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean, we need to raise a minimum of $4,000 to cover the cost of travel expenses for our trips in 2019. Please prayerfully consider supporting Women without Borders. You can email me at Rebecca.Rodriguez@efca.org or give online.
Learn more about ReachGlobal in Latin America and the Caribbean through the team’s website.