October 6, 1999

Texas WMU volunteers
make historic Cuba trip

___By Orville Scott
___Texas Baptist Communications
___Baptists in Cuba are living in poverty but are spiritually rich, two Texas Woman's Missionary Union leaders said after participating in the annual Woman's Missionary Union/Brotherhood Retreat in Eastern Cuba.
___Texas WMU President Jeane Law of First Baptist Church of Lubbock and retired former missionary to Cuba Betty Law of Gambrell Street Baptist Church in Fort Worth, participated in the retreat through the partnership between the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Eastern Baptist Convention of Cuba.
___The Texas Baptists, who share the same last name but are not related, took 40 pounds of medicine provided by members of churches in Tarrant and Lubbock Baptist associations and by Woman's Missionary Union of Texas. Medicines are in extremely short supply in Cuba.
___"Cuban Baptists are enduring great economic difficulties, but the work is growing tremendously, with increasing baptisms and numbers of new churches," said Betty Law, who was a missionary in Cuba in 1953-60 with her late husband, Tom.
___"The spirit of the people is contagious, and God is using their spirit in the midst of difficult circumstances," said Law. "They had saved their rations for our coming, and wherever we went they greeted us with smiles and a gracious embrace. We heard no complaints about their living conditions."
___At the retreat, when Jeane Law introduced participants to the concept of prayer walking, a woman suggested, "Let's do it right now."
___Cuban Baptists had land on which to build a home for the aging but had not secured permission from local authorities. So participants in the conference took a break and walked around the property, praying.
___When the Texans discussed the value of teaching missions and becoming involved in God's whole world, one of the Cuban Baptist women stood and said, "We've been so caught up in what's happening in Cuba that we haven't lifted our eyes to the world, but it's time we did."
___The Texas leaders said one of their memorable moments was participating in services in Calvary Baptist Church of Havana, which meets in a building purchased by the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board in 1890. National WMU helped pay off the mortgage on the building, which became the center of Baptist missions work in Cuba.
___"We are grateful for the contribution of our WMU leaders in our limited partnership with Baptists of Eastern Cuba," said Don Sewell, director of Texas Partnerships. "God is going to use this doorway, opened by prayer, to reach many people for Jesus."


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