Our guys wanted to climb La Loma de la Cruz at sunrise yesterday, but I reminded them that we are not allowed to wander around without a Cuban escort. The pastor of the Central Church said he would be happy to go with us today. We got up a little earlier than usual, despite getting to bed at midnight, as the meetings went late last night. The sun was just coming up as we started up the stairs. Andrés said he wished he lived here, because he would like to run up those stairs every day. Walking up them was enough for me.
We brought interactive gospel materials that we planned to give out at VBS, but we realized the John 3:16 puzzle cards were too difficult for little kids and the little booklets that had pictures that seemed to move required explanation, so we didn´t put them in the gift bags as we had planned. Yesterday as we walked home from the conference office, I started approaching people on the street to show them the John 3:16 puzzle. Everyone I talked to was fascinated by it and excited to learn the trick. Now I take them every time we go out--including this morning--and find they are awesome icebreakers. I am sorry it took so long for me to start using them! I know these will be shared and re-shared.
Tonight was the first meeting in the sports arena with the combined churches and the last Sus Manos presentation. I couldn´t think of any way to describe the topic, heaven, so we did something more poetic. Each person had a word that described something about heaven, once the words were folded to show only the page-size initial, the kids moved around to spell the word “Indescribable,” in Spanish. However, that required many more people than just our team, so we recruited 7 or 8 Cuban young people.
As we were practicing behind the stage, someone escorted a visitor who wanted to see us: Yordan Manduley! He really came! I told him I was touched by his gesture. We chatted awhile and he showed me pictures of his wife and two kids. He told me that he had listened to the audio Bible we gave him and that his neighbor who “practices the same religion” (my guess is she is a Christian) told him that the Bible we gave him was a good one. He said he taught his son the John 3:16 puzzle. He seems like a sweet and unassuming man—a few people came over to shake his hand and a couple got pictures with him. I wished he could have seen one of our funny skits, but he was gracious about our presentation, even though audio difficulties made some of the lines hard to hear. He had told us he had another appointment, so he just watched from the sidelines (we thought he might want to stay incognito) and he left after our part. How I would like to invite him to bring his family to visit Oregon!
I didn´t hear an official count, but there were hundreds of people at the arena tonight, despite the rain, which keeps people at home.