Apr14WedApril 14, 2021 By the TWR Canada Team
Since 2009, TWR Canada has produced radio programs in Cuba for Cubans, to speak encouragement into their hearts despite difficult circumstances.
In December, the team was working hard to edit and record 12 new programs of Our Home, all focused on the theme of worship. They also recorded 20 new programs of Messages of Faith and Hope, our five-minute daily devotional program. Their plan was to continue recording, but on December 12, it was announced that due to rising COVID-19 cases, the city of Havana would return to a strict quarantine. Since then, Alberto and his team have not been able to leave their homes. All churches are closed, and the postal service has been halted again. It is not possible to continue recording, as no one can get to the office. Alberto continues to write new scripts from home and is looking forward to when they can be recorded and aired.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has taken a turn for the worst in Cuba. Cuba now has the highest average of new patients daily since the onset of the pandemic. In the city of Havana, there is an average of 400 – 500 people getting sick each day, and there are thousands of people admitted to the hospitals. In mid-November, Cuba had 8,000 patients after nine months of the pandemic, but in the last five months, the number has increased to over 85,000 cases. There are sick people in every province of the country.
Prior to the pandemic, the team received one or two phone calls from listeners each day. In recent months, the team has received an average of ten to 25 daily phone calls from listeners, asking for prayer and literature. Sadly, nothing can be sent until the postal service is opened again. “It is a very frustrating situation for us,” said Alberto. “Yet we are strengthened when we are able to pray for people and encourage them in their faith.” The team also continues to receive phone calls from some inmates in the province of Camaguey and Santiago de Cuba, who hear RTM programs on portable radios inside the prisons.
In October, the Facebook page "Messages of Faith and Hope" was created. It now has 1,400 followers. There, Alberto posts the radio programs and a weekly written message. Here is a response to one of Alberto’s posts: “This post is very special, pastor. Much needed during these times. Thank you, Pastor Alberto, for encouraging us to testify about Christ.”
In January, Alberto was invited to post a weekly message via a WhatsApp account that reaches about 1,000 evangelical pastors in Cuba. “All of these new possibilities help us feel useful and reach more people at this time when we can barely move from home because of measures to control the pandemic,” Alberto explained.
On January 1, a new monetary system was introduced. This has made the economic situation in the country very difficult. Rates for services, such as phones and electricity have gone up a lot, as has the cost of gasoline and diesel. Prices for food and other items have risen by almost 400%. There are many shortages of food and medicine. “However, our trust is in the Lord and we look to the future with faith and trust!” responded Alberto.
Please pray for the country of Cuba as they fight COVID-19. Pray that they will be able to lower the number of infections, vaccinate more people and begin to ease restrictions once again. Pray for Alberto as he responds to calls and interacts with people on social media.