Stories from the Mission Field

May 2023

From cheeky thief to cheerful evangelist

In Cuba we support house churches, Bible clubs and sports programs. They all share the Good News and invite people to believe in Jesus Christ. In economically challenging times, neighbors receive practical support and emotional support. Guillermo found faith through a sports program.

Quarrels, theft and necromancy

There were frequent arguments at Guillermo's home. He kept yelling at his mentally ill mother. If he needed money or something to wear, he would steal it somewhere. As a teenager, he seemed to get his act together: he achieved his best performances as an athlete and enjoyed finally being a winner. He asked the spirits of the Yoruba religion for support on his life's journey. With ceremonies and sacrifices he tried to appease the gods. But the young man hoped in vain for even more success. When Guillermo is seriously injured while running, his career as a competitive athlete is over. Seeing it as a punishment from the gods, he still graduates with a degree in physical education and becomes a soccer coach.

A youth week becomes a turning point

Through sport, he met young people from the Santo Suarez community. The IBSS sports program combines volleyball, baseball and other sports with worship and an invitation to faith. Guillermo enjoys the community and eventually trains a boys' group. She invites him to a youth week in summer 2022. 100 young women and men are there. Most are not Christians. Guillermo found faith there and was baptized in December.

The cheerful sports evangelist

The 26-year-old gets involved in evangelistic sports work with great enthusiasm: he recognizes himself in the girls and boys that Guillermo meets today. And he tells them how he found new life in Christ.

“With Jesus in my life I am a new person. The Holy Spirit guides my life with happiness, joy and holiness. God's purpose for me was not to be an athlete, but to be a coach, training young people and preaching his gospel."