Reach Out in Cuba for 20 Years
This year marks the 20th (!) year Reach Out Youth Solutions has been involved in evangelism, discipleship, and leadership development in Cuba. Two weeks ago, several of us had the opportunity to be in Cuba and meet with our Country Leader, Elio Martiz, and most of our Regional Leaders.
The plan for this trip was to meet with these men and women to hear ministry updates and encourage them in the ongoing work in Cuba. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect since this was my first trip to Cuba (I had heard about the food and gas shortages and was well aware of the political issues that Cuba deals with), but the love, encouragement, and joy that these leaders showed me was overwhelming! It was evident to me from the moment we first met that the love of God oozed out of them and attached itself to anyone they encountered.
These leaders love and lead with passion and perseverance under incredibly difficult conditions, but their love for God, for their country, and for each other never diminishes! The stories I heard of life change taking place in the midst of hardship will stay with me for a very long time. 

One of the verses that we spent time discussing was Hebrews 12:1-2a which says,
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight,
and sin which clings so closely,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…
The writer of Hebrews had just finished looking in Chapter 11 at all the faithful men and women who persevered with passion in the face of both victory and loss. He used those stories to implore us to run our race by keeping our focus on Jesus. For so many people that I’ve counseled over the years, this one principle is what tripped them up the most, they quit before they finished their race.

What is happening in Cuba, the work that God is doing there, I believe is a direct result of the fact that people for the last 20 years have been loving and leading by teaching people there to center their lives on Jesus using Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry. I think of people that I met there who were thinking of leaving but recommitted their lives to stay and serve in Cuba. I also think of the people that I met who work each week encouraging church leaders in Cuba to consider staying in the country to serve those that remain. It is that perseverance to continue working and a passion for the next generation that keeps Reach Out there, supporting the work of Elio and his team. It is that passion and perseverance that keeps our many donors and friends giving and praying toward the work there.
A grocery store we entered only had cabbages for sale,
yet there was still a line out the door
Reach Out Regional Leaders of Cuba!
Before Covid, we had 4….today, there are 12!
Randy Riggins + Noel Martiz

Noel is Elio and Leydis’ youngest son. He attends seminary, translated for us last weekend, helps lead the youth ministry at Almandares Church, and is part of the younger generation of Gen Z Christ followers in Cuba who believes that God has called him to serve the local church there. (He also preached at a local church in Cuba the Sunday we were in town…way to go Noel!)

Two Regional Leaders making
a difference:
Ovi lives just outside of Holguin in East Cuba. He is leading prayer meetings for pastors (all over East Cuba), praying for their country, and encouraging pastors to remain steadfast in their calling to Cuba.

Yamida lives in Camaway. She is a doctor. She leads a network of 16 Eagle Leaders and is personally mentoring two leaders.

Yamida + Ovi with Randy
Randy Riggins + Ed Upton with
Juan Carlos + Eylen Ferrer

It was such a joy to spend time last month with this sweet couple. Juan Carlos and Eylen Ferrer are two of our newest leaders in Cuba. 

Juan Carlos is a dentist and also serves as a Reach Out Regional Leader. 

Eylen is a doctor and also an Eagle Leader who is currently mentoring three churches’ youth ministries, as well as helping lead the youth ministry in their home church.

The now 12 Regional Leaders of Cuba
I encourage you to visit with us one day…
but if for some reason you can’t, you can still be involved in
the work in Cuba through your financial generosity to Reach Out.

I pray that you will consider a gift today to help support
Elio and his team.

I pray that you will commit to praying for these faithful men
and women as they work, as they lead, as they share Christ, and as they disciple the next generation of Cubans for Gospel ministry.
You can also partner with us in prayer with our March Praise+Prayer
list below as we continue into 2023 with God's vision in the 30+ countries we serve.
For the King and His Kingdom,
Dr. Edward Upton,
Director of Development
Reach Out Youth Solutions