Return to Placetas
What I felt in my heart in returning to Gethsemane First Baptist Church, Placetas, Cuba, after fifty years is really indescribable. Upon arrival, the young pastor and his wife, Digmar and Linet Lugo, welcomed me with open hearts and arms. Immediately, I felt at home.
During the Sunday morning message, the unction of the Holy Spirit rested upon my interpreter, Adam Nathanson and me at a level well described by a comment from a gentleman eleven days older than I made to Adam: “You were able to transmit Dr. Henry’s heart full of emotion into words that arrived into our hearts. Thank you so much for coming.”
After finishing my message to a packed house, a lady stood and asked to speak. She said she was one of the seventy saved in 1960 and was soon baptized into the fellowship of the church. Then another lady stood to say that she, too, came to the Lord in the services. Another lady said that the 1960 meetings changed the lives of her family. Not only did she accept Christ as Savior, her three sisters and brother did as well. She became a lay leader in a house church that was organized into the second Baptist church in the area. As others shared that they, too, trusted Christ in 1960, my heart overflowed with joy and thanksgiving. Several said that their brother or sister who were in the seventy who were saved have now finished their course on earth and are now residing in Heaven. Praise the Lord.
I have often said that if we are faithful to the Lord, on that great reunion day we will be surprised at the lives we have touched. To have an opportunity to see the fruit of the January 13-20, 1960, crusade in these lives was truly remarkable—by far the most amazing thing that I have ever witnessed—all because of Calvary!
I found the church at Placestas alive and well. On Saturday night, I spoke at the weekly youth meeting to a large number. So many are involved in Sunday school on Sunday morning that the church has to provide two Sunday schools—one before and one after the morning worship service. Around 250 attend the Sunday services. The church is in good hands with Pastor Digmar, along with a strong youth pastor.
The government approved a preschool for ages one through five. Forty-two are enrolled. When the state officials in Santa Clara learned of this approval, they passed a law saying that no other evangelical church could do this because of the clear religious instruction being given. The church has Awanas teaching their children and youth.
The beautiful building is as it was fifty years ago. So is the pastor’s home. I slept in the same room that I did fifty years ago. The only difference was the absence of a mosquito net—no longer needed. In 1960, I* was awed by the beautiful floor tile in every room. I recognized the tile immediately.
My Book of Memories has many memorable ministry events from around the world. None will ever surpass the 2010 fiftieth year Homecoming at the Gethsemane First Baptist Church, Placetas, Santa Clara Province, 225 miles east of Havana. I am greatly humbled, but greatly encouraged as well.