Christ amid the Witches and Ghosts of Cuba
The top witchdoctor in a village in Cuba was an alcoholic whose specialty was said to be animating bits of dead people into living beings.
Using bones, hair and other bits of the deceased, Jorge* claimed to devise messengers who appeared somewhat ghostly to those able to see them. They did not look like the people who had died but bore their essence, according to Jorge, bringing messages to the living – go out with a certain guy, stay away from a certain girl’s boyfriend, eat at a certain restaurant to stay healthy.
A native missionary on the communist-governed island heard about Jorge’s sorcery and made his way through jungle paths to meet him. Having grown up surrounded by Santeria, a blend of west African, animistic ritual and Roman Catholic labels, the native missionary was curious to know how Jorge’s beliefs, spells and ritual sacrifices compared.
After an hour listening to Jorge speak in his home of storm-battered wood about spirit messengers and chicken sacrifices, the native missionary, Diego*, asked if he knew the reason for Christ sacrificing Himself on the cross. Jorge said he was tired and asked him to leave.
The next time the native missionary saw him, the shaman’s speech was slurred from alcohol. Diego spoke to him about Christ anyway.
Diego began visiting the village regularly. The next time he saw Jorge, the shaman’s speech was slurred from alcohol. Diego spoke to him anyway about Christ pouring out His soul for the forgiveness of sins, if only so Jorge’s wife and children would overhear, but it was his wife who told him he should just leave.
On several other occasions Diego testified to the power of the one God to heal and save through faith in Christ. He found many angles for approaching Jorge, and Jorge responded in just as many ways – drunken murmurs one day, derisive laughter another, scoffing in disdain another.
“One day when Jorge had deep family problems and his health was in decay, our missionary visited him at his home and once again shared about the only living God,” the director of the ministry said. “Jorge surrendered his life to Jesus, and the same day he threw away and burned all his witchcraft utensils.”
Diego began to teach him the Bible daily, and God restored his health, he said.
“The Lord delivered him from bondage,” the director said. “When somebody asks him how he is doing, Jorge says, ‘I’m in a battle here, but I am not going back.’”
The entire village is shocked by the change in him and has not stopped talking about his testimony, the director said, because “they used to call him the greatest sorcerer, and now he has been rescued and transferred from darkness to the admirable light of Christ.”
The gospel is spreading in Cuba through the faith and grit of such native missionaries. Please consider a gift today to help bring light to deep darkness.
*Name changed for security reasons